Letters to The Editor – February 28th, 2018

Published 6:35 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Thanks for Trash pickup

Editor, Smithfield Times
Yesterday (Feb. 21) I was driving down Nike Park Road and saw a sign that said volunteers were picking up the trash along that road. I don’t know who these people were, but they did a fantastic job and they should be thanked for their efforts! The road was looking terrible because of all the litter that had accumulated, but it looks great now because of their hard work!
Paul DeFluri

School security

Editor, Smithfield Times
The Columbine High School massacre occurred on April 20, 1999. Since Columbine there have been too many deadly school shootings followed by a non-stop call for stricter gun laws. There’s always plenty of finger pointing and blame to go around, but Republicans and Democrats are equally to blame as both parties have at one point controlled both houses of Congress along with the presidency since Columbine and did nothing to pass stricter gun laws.
I’m pro 2nd Amendment, but stricter laws are needed when it comes to automatic weapons with high capacity magazines up to and including banning such weapons.
Stricter laws are only part of the solution. It’s time to address and stop the problem where it keeps happening. Almost nineteen years since Columbine, there have been multiple deadly school shootings yet next to nothing has been done to improve school security. It’s time to improve school security by employing measures like fulltime security officers and limiting school access for non-staff through metal detectors, for examples. Preventing another deadly school shooting more than outweighs any inconvenience and cost.
Joe Naneville

Barricades, armed teachers

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Editor, Smithfield Times
The sole responsibility for school security and safety is local, with our School Board, period.
Let’s face it, societal ills being what they are, action to provide a school’s layered aggressive defense is necessary to deter the deranged individual bent on mayhem/murder and mitigate opportunity for any casualties. A layered aggressive defense is similar concept to a static military position. At schools:
1) School Resource Officer (armed) on-site;
2) Locked entry door with school employee controlling access, allowing only those persons with proper ID authorized entry, utilizing closed circuit TV.
3) “Volunteer” school employees with concealed carry in school at multiple locations;
4) Each classroom has an internal deadbolt lock to secure door;
5) Classroom barrier plan utilizing desks, cabinets and/or book cases to block door from being breached;
6) Offensive action by teacher/students, wherein, if intruder gains entry, every item that can be thrown at intruder, and a “rush” by all to overwhelm intruder minimizes casualties. A fire extinguisher in the classroom, in the hands of the teacher, can be discharged into the intruder’s face.
Anything is better than cringing or hiding like sheep or bunnies in a burrow awaiting the “grim reaper’s” arrival. Lastly, place sign at the primary entrance “School Guarded by Armed Personnel,” and make this common knowledge in the community.
Regrettably, Sheriff Marshall in his reorganization of the Sheriff’s office in 2012, saw him keep SRO’s only in high and middle schools. This left the majority of our school’s students vulnerable.
In 2011, our School Board took its own additional security measure by having all school’s entry doors locked from external entry and placed under control of a school employee utilizing CCTV, who allowed only persons showing proper ID or known to them, entry into the school.
The time is overdue for satisfactory measures to ensure the security and safety of student and staffing our county schools.
Herb De Groft

Do the trail ‘right’

Editor, Smithfield Times
When Windsor Castle Park was being planned, there was controversy regarding every aspect of the park including how the property would be procured, how much money the town would have to contribute, who would oversee construction, how much it would cost to mow the grass, whether there would be adequate security, and what activities would satisfy the mandate that the park be fore passive recreation. Despite the controversies, the park has been a runaway success with traffic on the trails all day long regardless of the weather, and the park now serves as a venue for everything from high school cross-country meets to weddings to music festivals.
Now the town is agonizing over its portion of the park-to-park bike trail. When this facility gets built, it also will be a runaway success. That the trail will have nice parks at either end plus will provide ready access to shops and restaurants in Smithfield guarantees that it will be a popular attraction. The nearest comparable biking opportunities are in Williamsburg and at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. The town just needs to make sure the trail is done right. That means having a path that is wide enough to accommodate two-way bike and pedestrian traffic and that is segregated from motor vehicle traffic by more than just a painted line in the road.
Thank you for considering my views,
Greg Vassilakos