Letter To The Editor: Open letter to Mansfield ISD School Board and MISD Community

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This past year has been a wild year. This past week has been even crazier. We have a school board whose majority has been endorsed by Patriot Action Mobile and campaigned on integrity, keeping kids safe, highlighted failures from the shooting at Timberview last year and other culture war red meat.

One of those endorsed members was arrested for domestic violence, one had to pay a fine for ethics violations, and another has some very serious ethical and perhaps legal allegations brought against her this past week, many of these incidents made local and national media… so much for integrity.

There have been several schools within the district, not just in Arlington like some like to believe, where recess and outdoor activity has been stopped temporarily due to threats in the community and violence at schools.

From what I am aware of, we are rapidly approaching 10 gun in school or on school property incidents for the school year. This week there was a pellet gun found at one school, and a loaded gun was found at the same school where two people were shot in a classroom literally last school year. Had a parent not called this in, two more people could have been shot this year too.

While that sounds startling, I’m not concerned about what has been found, I’m more concerned about what hasn’t been found. How many more guns and weapons are being brought into schools and on school property that haven’t been discovered? The solution was to add more police officers and wands at schools. How did that work out this week? So much for protecting our kids…

A majority of public comments and focus at these school board meetings continues to be about 2 books of which there are 3 total copies of those two books combined in the entire district. 99.9% of the students in the district either don’t have access to those books or will never read those books. Never have I heard of someone losing a life over a book, which is what can happen when guns and weapons enter our schools.

In this era of instant gratification from social media, I know it’s easier to gravitate towards culture wars that create a lot of social media traffic. It’s hard dealing with real issues and finding solutions like how to best keep guns and weapons out of school when it continues to happen.

My daughter is 11 and in 6th grade. To use the restroom you have to do it in the middle of class. She told me when she goes, her anxiety is through the roof because she is the only person in the hallway and if a shooter comes in or the school is on lockdown she is on her own. The classrooms would be locked and she has thought about strategies about how to escape and get away.

You want to improve our district rating, let’s start there. You can’t learn and focus when you are worried about what your escape plan is at school. Notice she never said she was worried about any books.

School board is an important elected position. There should be diversity of thought as well as physical and economic diversity that mirrors our majority minority district. In my opinion, some board members, including the current school board president, appear to want to provide great leadership to move the district forward. Others, including the other three candidates that were endorsed by Patriot Action Mobile, appear to be more concerned for staged photo ops around the district, increasing their social capital amongst political circles, and seem to disregard comments from constituents that they perceive won’t vote for them.

Keep this in mind when early voting for the open school board positions starts in less than two weeks. My vote is for Dr. Benita Reed.

Grant Crosslin