Letters to the Editor

School shooting: Society lets sick behavior fester

“17 killed in Florida high school shooting,” (TNT, 2/15).

We need to face reality. The issue is mental illness and access to firearms by people who should not have it.

Calling this shooting “evil” is simplistic and naive. Mass killers do not suddenly burst out as psychotics at age 18. Their trail begins much earlier.

I taught in Puyallup schools for many years and one incident illustrates my point. Covering a 4th grade class for another teacher, a young man walked around the room telling several girls, “I’m going to rape you.”

I spoke to him about how to talk to others and wrote an incident report concluding that a counselor should speak to him.

That day, the vice principal told me it’s not my job to conduct psychological assessments and I shouldn’t stain a student’s record with my opinion.

Teachers are required to report abuse and neglect; this matter was judged to not be such.

The point is, all of us need to focus critical thinking on aberrant conduct by young children and not assume their behavior is innocent mischief or silliness.

We will only get improvement if we demand it. Ignoring the issue is not working.