My daughter recently attended a high school football game and witnessed two girls fighting until the police intervened.
Other students, including one girl’s boyfriend, did not like the police’s rough handling of the girls and confronted officers. The situation ended with police pepper-spraying the crowd of people, many of whom were not involved in the altercation, and the boy getting arrested.
I’m thankful that my daughter was not involved or injured, but I am desperate for solutions. I don’t want my daughter to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, nor do I want to see our youth be criminalized.
On behalf of many parents, I am calling on the city to find solutions.
Violence is not a solution. And closing schools is not a solution. What will we do? Should we hire more counselors? How are we going to handle disciplinary actions going forward? More suspensions? New Britain already has higher than average discipline rates in comparison with other districts in the state.
Perhaps a new approach or an approach that exists elsewhere can work here.
Perhaps teachers and guidance counselors could work together to create safe spaces for students to handle their emotions. At that same time, students can learn about conflict resolution and be provided with a nurturing environment to learn and complete their work.
I am pleading with city and community leaders to address the many problems in our schools with a balanced approach, and provide student safety within them, as well as school -related events.
Ramon Garcia lives in New Britain.