Letters to the Editor

We must do better to keep children safe

As we mourn the victims of the senseless violence in Broward County on Wednesday, Floridians are asking ourselves what we can do to prevent this kind of tragedy from ever happening again.

As a nation, we are facing the reality that no place is sacred or free from violence; not schools or churches, movie theaters, dance clubs or concerts.

It is our job as local leaders to protect residents, and especially our children. Our hands are tied in some critical areas by state laws that prevent us from even having an honest conversation on the subject of gun violence. That doesn’t mean that we’re helpless.

Local officials can and should urge the state to enact common-sense safety measures such as increasing the minimum age for all gun purchases. We can also demand the freedom to listen to our constituents and adopt sensible local gun-control measures.

But even if the state continues to block our calls for greater gun safety, there are a few things we can do in our local community by focusing on school security and community caring.

Police officers are heroic professionals who dedicate their lives to protecting us all. We should make sure they have all the tools they need. We must train children and school personnel on how to respond in an active-shooter emergency. We need to be particularly careful about who goes into our schools. More security measures at schools would help control access and keep armed intruders out, as we do for other areas of high risk such as our airports.

It is also essential that we reach out to and support troubled children before they turn to violence. School counselors, teachers, coaches, parents, faith groups and police officers should be encouraged to affirm and embrace every child, especially those identified by their peers as alienated or depressed. If we create a culture of caring, where every community member feels responsible for the fate of every child, fewer will fall into despair.

Everybody wants to keep our children safe. Together we can, and we must, do better.

Daniella Levine Cava,

Miami Dade commissioner,

District 8

Peggy Bell, mayor,

Cutler Bay

Joe Corradino, mayor,

Pinecrest

Eugene Flinn, mayor,

Palmetto Bay

Philip Stoddard, mayor,

South Miami

Otis Wallace, mayor,

Florida City

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