Northwest NEWS

June 18, 2001


Community needs to teach and model nonviolence and compassion

I have been reading about drugs and violence in our schools in the Woodinville Weekly for some time. It was a front page article on March 12 and has continued both in articles and letters to the editor.
   I've lived here 25 years and my son was born here. As a parent I am committed to raising a kind, nonviolent young man. This is an ongoing focus of my parenting efforts at home. Through the years in public school my son has been subjected to physical and verbal violence and abuse. He has on occasion lashed out at others himself.
   I have talked with and met with teachers and principals and counselors at the elementary, junior high and high school levels regarding this issue for the past 14 years.The only Northshore School District employee who truly listened and took helpful action was Mr. Robinson, who was a vice-principal at Leota Junior High at the time.
   I am a therapist, and work with families, children and adolescents. Some of my adolescent clients come through the court system. I see the horrible effects of violence in our young people, our families and our community. I have spoken with school counselors and administrators and offered to establish an after school group for students in order to help deal with these issues. The offer was pro bono. The response was nil.
   Perhaps it's school politics, or the threat of thinking outside the box, or the fear of actually taking action. I don't know. What I do know is violence in our schools happens because our kids are hurting and our community and schools tolerate it.
   I again offer to our local elementary, junior high and high schools to start an after school group for the purpose of dealing with violence and drug use. Our community is rich with resources, among which are other practicing therapists and social workers. I challenge you to rise to the problem and also offer your professional services, pro bono, to start after- school groups in the schools to help our children deal effectively with their issues.
   As a community, as parents, and as professionals, we can stop this problem. We can teach and model nonviolence and compassion.
   It needs to happen "in the trenches" with our children in our homes and schools. It is up to each one of us as community members, parents and educators to face this destructive problem and take action.
   Margaret Magwire, Woodinville