This week we have a guest post from Indiana’s Joe Mackey, a candidate for US Congress in the 4th District. Joe asks some hard questions and offers some ideas that can actually work–a refreshing change from what oozes out of Washington, DC these days.
Take it away Joe:
“For Immediate Release – Joe Mackey on Health, Safety, and Welfare of Students in our schools.
This week a lawfully acquired weapon was used by a native born American citizen to kill 17 people in a Florida state high school. The harsh reality is guns are not going away. Even liberal supreme courts have upheld the Second amendment rights of gun ownership. I do not write today offering prayers and sympathy regarding recent events in Florida. I am writing because it is time we took up a mission of change. If, as our Republican friends insist, the root cause of mass shootings is mental instability, then we need to start addressing mental healthcare. We have a problem here in the United States and here in Indiana, and it is getting worse, not better. Reflect on these facts for a moment:
- Indiana leads the nation in teen suicide
- Following suicide Indiana students are more likely to die of drug overdose than gun violence
- Indiana ranks 42nd in school counselors / student population ratios, with only 1 counselor for every 641 pupils. The new budget before Congress reduces money for school safety, mental health, and counselling by 68%.
Florida is the 8th school shooting in the United States *this year* It was perpetrated by an American Citizen -Nikolas Cruz. Some facts about the 19 year old Cruz:
- Adopted (us born)
- Lost father 10 years ago
- Lost mother in November of 1017.
- Limited access to mental health care
- No restrictions on access to assault rifles and was able to lawfully procure and AR-15 Assault rifle and ammunition, yet not old enough to legally consume alcohol.
- The FBI had been told about him before he ever bought a gun, but they made no substantive efforts to check him out due to insufficient resources.
Sadly, teenagers suffering deep emotional trauma such as the death of a parent, sibling or cherished loved one may not show signs of emotional trauma for up to six months following the loss. Nikolas Cruz was right on track for his emotional meltdown but we failed to protect him and thousands of other kids whose lives have been lost to despair just as miserably as we did those who died at his deranged hands!
The question then is how do we address all these issues facing our school age children?
- We need to reverse the course of this US Congress and increase the presence of mental healthcare in our schools. The standard around the world is no more than 100 students to a counselor.
- We need to make the training and resources available to achieve this.
- We need more teachers to lower teacher/student ratios.
- We need specific training, so teachers and staff might readily identify “at risk” students.
- We demand a comprehensive mental healthcare program be instituted in our schools nationwide designed to provide “at risk” students with proper intervention before disaster strikes.
I say to our national and state leaders: Stop calling for prayer. James 2:17 states clearly “Prayer without Deed is dead”. Your job is not pray! Your job is to govern! Prayer without action will not protect our children. If you will not govern you will be fired! We the voters demand action items be developed, action plan be created and instituted.
- Allow and provide funding for CDC research into U.S. Gun violence
- Provide funding for elevated school security systems,
- Staff federal and local law enforcement agencies at levels where they can address the climbing drug addiction issues. Far too many Indiana counties can’t even afford a D.A.R.E. program
- Put back in place the O’Bama era restrictions just recently rescinded by 45. Restrictions that would have prevented young Nikolas Cruz access to his weapons.
The American people will not allow Congress to treat us like Oliver Twist with porridge bowl in hand asking “Please sir may our children not be murdered, addicted, abandoned in our schools”. We must accept a mission by answering the call to action. These actions are to immediately
- Stop Diverting money from public schools.
- We need to SUBSIDIZE school counselors.
- We must train Administrators, Teachers and staff to recognize “at risk” children and to direct them to appropriate counseling
- We absolutely must empower Federal and local law enforcement agencies at levels that allow reports of suspicious people to be walked down properly, and triggered people to be found and helped.
- We absolutely must fund Federal and local law enforcement agencies at levels that allow for timely intervention of and drug interdiction in our nations communities
- We must provide comprehensive mental healthcare programs for our children.
It is time for a series of programs that deliver monumental arrays of training, care, security and assistance to those in need in the schools of America. We have spent 20 year blindly ignoring rural schools, de-funding programs, and shamelessly discounting the signs of problems in our education system. We need to Plan and we must Act. If your US Representative tells you this is not the time to talk about the violence issues our children face today: You must Fire Them. Should our nations leaders refuse to have this conversation or find themselves in a quandary over how to proceedi, they simply must be replaced. If our nation’s leaders keep having the same repetitive conversations and nothing gets better we need to change the leaders having these conversations!
America must do better! Indiana must do better! We all must do better!
Indiana 4th Congressional district candidate.”