The recurring failure is that the emotional reaction to the heinous act never truly addresses the root cause of the problem. This cannot be the case again. Now is the time to put aside petty differences, partisan politics, and poll results and take a good long look at our policies and legislation, care and services for those with mental or emotional challenges, and our overall culture which regularly inundates youth and adults alike with violence, a disregard for the sanctity of life, and images and video games which glorify criminal lifestyles and the degradation of women.
The responsibility for safety of our youth, the security of our schools, the very return of civility to our society does not rest at the feet of any one entity, but is instead a shared duty of us all. It must begin with an honest national conversation about our values and our priorities at the very highest levels of our government, in our houses of worship, in town squares and around our dinner tables. As Americans, as public officials, as fathers, our hearts broke on December 14 when those 20 little angels and six educators lost their lives, just as our hearts ache each and every time one of our own students loses their life as the result of a foolish decision or violent act.
Through collaborative partnerships, responsible resource allocation, the availability of mental health and counseling services, and regular emergency response training we must create a safe environment in and around our schools and our students. This is an imperative of the highest order which can no longer be ignored or postponed. There can be no higher priority than the lives of our children.
Alberto Carvalho is superintendent of Miami-Dade County Schools. Carlos Gimenez is mayor of Miami-Dade County.