Tears For Sandy Hook Elementary

BY MIKE RYAN

This morning, along with hundreds of students and parents, I ran a 2-mile run and then a 1-mile run at Sawgrass Elementary.   Named the “Panther Prowl”, the run was the bright idea of our School Resource Officer, Officer Ben as the students know him.

The run started in the car loop, a place where parents have traditionally shed many tears over the years  – tears of seeing their precious children leaving their protective grasp and growing up.

This morning, there were a different set of tears shed at Sandy Hook Elementary, the scene of the latest school shooting and national tragedy.

Information is sketchy and the full scope of this tragedy is not yet known.  However, every parent today is seamlessly bound with Sandy Hook’s parents – our hearts ache and tears flow.

Previously, I have written about the importance of saving our school resource officers.

In Broward County, many of our Elementary Schools have no or part time school resource officers.

  1. Full-time SRO’s in all schools, including elementary: Coconut Creek, Cooper City, Margate, Miramar (also has two in each High School), Parkland, Pembroke Pines, Sunrise.
  2. Part-time SROs in elementary schools: Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Plantation, Pompano Beach (one covering three schools), Tamarac, Weston (one covering three schools), Wilton Manor (SRO has road patrol duties).
  3. No SROs in elementary schools: Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale (none in Elementary or Middle School), Hollywood, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park.

Since 2006, countywide there are 10 less schools, but 33 less SROs.  The reduction has been almost exclusively in elementary schools!

It is still too early to tell if there was a School Resource Officer at Sandy Hook Elementary or what difference, if any, having one there would have made.   What difference would it have made if a police car was parked out front?  Maybe none.   I am sure Sandy Hook’s parents thought their community was safe.

Soon, the discussion will move to a national political stage on the usual push and pull topics.

Today, however, I feel safer knowing we have full-time SROs in all schools in our City, including ALL eight of our elementary schools.  I wish that was true in all elementary schools in Broward County.

For now, we hang our heads in collective grief.

 (Mike Ryan is the mayor of Sunrise. As former Chair of the Broward County Council of PTAs’ SRO Committee, former two-term president of an elementary school PTA, and father of 2 children in public schools,  Ryan has been an advocate for the SRO program. This year, he is Chair of the Public Safety Committee of the Broward League of Cities and co-Chair of the Broward League of Cities Joint School Resource Officer Taskforce.) 

60 thoughts on “Tears For Sandy Hook Elementary”

  1. @Real cop

    Our children our sacred?

    Not according to the Catholics…

    The Report determined that, during the period from 1950 to 2002, a total of 10,667 individuals had made allegations of child sexual abuse. Of these, the dioceses had been able to substantiate 6,700 accusations against 4,392 priests in the USA, about 4% of all 109,694 priests who served during the time covered by the study.[2] The number of alleged abuses increased in the 1960s, peaked in the 1970s, declined in the 1980s, and by the 1990s had returned to the levels of the 1950s.[3]

    The surveys filtered information provided from diocesan files on each priest accused of sexual abuse and on each of the priest’s victims to the research team so that they did not have access to the names of the accused priests or the dioceses where they worked. The dioceses were encouraged to issue reports of their own based on the surveys that they had completed. Of the 4,392 priests who were accused, police were contacted regarding 1,021 individuals and of these, 384 were charged resulting in 252 convictions and 100 prison sentences; 3,300 were not investigated because the allegations were made after the accused priest had died.

    Thus, 6% of all priests against whom allegations were made were convicted and about 2% received prison sentences during the period ending in 2002.[4][2] According to the John Jay report, one-third of the accusations were made in the years 2002 and 2003. Another third of the allegations were reported between 1993 and 2001.[3]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Jay_Report

  2. Correct. Then came the board member’s letter to the editor as if to remove any remaining doubt. Case closed.

  3. To a real cop: Your heartfelt and deeply emotional message is so important.

    There were so many who do not believe SROs in elementary schools could ever match the “productivity” of officers on the “streets”. Arrest statistics will never compare. Measuring pursuits could not be matched against the role of a SRO. Everything that seems to define being an officer is said to be different than the role of an SRO in an Elementary School.

    But, the children understand. The parents looking in rear-view mirror, seeing their child’s school fade away, understand. The teachers facing the least protected schools understand. You understand.

    Security is but one role. In the long term, that role is not the dominant purpose of the Full-time SRO program, especially in Elementary School. Being the ear into which a whisper of danger, or pain, or approaching darkness can be heard is not a statistic — the value or importance of that whisper can never be judged by numbers or statistics. That which is prevented or never occurs is not a statistic, it is a reality perhaps never fully understood or seen. Being the person to whom someone can turn on the streets or schools years later justify the link built in the most formative years.

    But, Sandy Hook proves to many having a SRO can and will make a difference in Broward County. Sadly, elementary schools are the first to lose a SRO.

    Your support for Full-time SROs means more than my words as an elected official and a father, or the postings of the uninspired. Your understanding of why we must ensure a SRO in EVERY school for Broward County I hope motivates action.

    Thank you for not remaining silent.

  4. If they new what was printed in the article below, asking for guidence from ChildNet was Castillo and the Boards way of not getting thier hands dirty and having an excuse to keep him.

    As Angelo says in this article, “he was never convicted” ok true. Sadly many child abusers dont get convicted. In my opinion, knowing what Broward House knew and decided to only act only upon conviction is sad. Many times because something is legally right does not make it morally right.

    Nine years later, McGuigan’s name surfaced again when 7-year-old Gabriel Myers committed suicide shortly after leaving McGuigan’s foster home. A now-adult man from Massachusetts called Margate police, who were investigating Gabriel’s death, and claimed that McGuigan had molested him years earlier. The Massachusetts man had been a victim of McGuigan’s father, John J. “Sean” McGuigan, who was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for raping and molesting children. Sean McGuigan, now free, remains a registered sex offender.

    In February 2011, a Broward County judge ordered that no foster children be placed in McGuigan’s home after an 8-year-old boy told his caseworkers that McGuigan had molested him. By that time, DCF had already removed three foster children from McGuigan’s home, and McGuigan then relinquished his foster care license.

    Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/09/3090152_p2/ceo-accused-of-child-sex-abuse.html#storylink=cpy

  5. Mayor Ryan,

    As always, thank you for your leadership & call for sensible action. There’s nothing more honorable then protecting our most important (and at risk) treasure in our schools.

  6. Prayers for the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary. Mayor Ryan, great article and thanks for your support of SRO programs everywhere.

    Here is where I believe the real problem is with our society. The following numbers were researched quickly by myself. The first article shows that in 2012 we fund approximatley $10,600 per student in the United States.

    The second article shows that in 2007, 5 years ago, we funded approximately $30,600 per inmate in the United States. I’m sure we are funding a lot more per inmate today.

    Why are we spending considerably more money rehabilitating inmates rather then spending this money on our children? A $30,000 budget per student in the United States would be a great place to start. This would not only enhance the quality of education our children receive but also help fund SRO’s in all schools throughout the country. Give inmates $10,000 per year budget instead, if that. Is it possible that if we spend this money on our children it would keep a lot of them out of the system?

    Reference:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/22/public-school-spending-sh_n_1619569.html

    In all, public school districts spent an average of $10,615 per student during the 2010 fiscal year, up 1.1 percent from 2009.

    D.C. public schools spent the most per pupil of any state in 2010, $18,667. The District of Columbia was followed by New York ($18,618), New Jersey ($16,841), Alaska ($15,783), Vermont ($15,274) and Wyoming ($15,169). This group is largely consistent with a July 2011 analysis by 24/7 Wall Street that ranked states by how much they spend on education.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_States

    U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Not adjusted for inflation. To view the inflation-adjusted data:[91]
    In 2007, around $74 billion was spent on corrections.[91] The total number of inmates in 2007 in federal, state, and local lockups was 2,419,241.[18] That comes to around $30,600 per inmate.

  7. Always right on target Mayor Ryan! This tragedy brings numerous issues to the forefront. We, as citizens of this country, cannot and I, as a parent, will NOT let this go. We must stay vigilant in our fight for SRO’s in ALL schools in this country. We must stay vigilant in our fight to re-instate the ban on assault weapons. We must stay vigilant in addressing the issue of mental illness in this country. Too many lives have been lost to deranged people armed with assault weapons. It must stop now!

  8. Mayor Ryan, although our children attend a private school, we would like to thank you for keeping all the children in Sunrise safe by providing SRO’s in all of our schools. It’s very important to all parents including us that our children are in a safe environment while attending school. Thank you on behalf of our family, we are very proud to be Sunrise residents.

  9. Caution: Atheists are urged to pass over this post.

    Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
    when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
    Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
    they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
    They were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.
    They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
    “Where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
    “This is heaven.” declared a small boy. “we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”
    When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
    but Jesus, their Savior, the children gathered near.
    He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same,
    then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
    And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
    those children all flew into the arms of their King!
    And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
    one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
    And as if He could read all the questions she had,
    He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
    Then He looked down on earth, the world far below,
    He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe.
    Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
    “Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
    “May this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
    “I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
    Then He and the children stood up without a sound.
    “Come now my children, let me show you around.”
    Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
    All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
    And i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
    “In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

    Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA

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