Give Kids The Number On Violence

Posted: June 08, 1999

Last year, in light of the rash of school killings across our country, I wrote a letter to President Clinton expressing my concern about these tragic events and offering a proposal to help our children protect themselves and their peers.

I did not get a response from the White House, and now because of what has happened in Littleton, Colo., and again in Conyers, Ga., as a mother and a grandmother, I am compelled to write to you. Please do not take this lightly.

I again propose a nationwide 800 number be established so children can call anonymously 24 hours a day to report rumors of possible violence against school administrators, fellow students and others.

Children talk to children and not necessarily to adults. They usually know what's going on in and out of their particular circle of friends but because of peer pressure or not wanting to be dissed by their friends, they do not share this information with the authorities until it is too late. If they knew they could call toll-free from any location, day or night, to report possible acts of violence without being identified, they would.

The proper authority could be notified and perhaps ward off tragic events like what occurred in Littleton and Conyers. This is not an end-all-be-all proposal but we must start somewhere. Our children are dying too young, too soon.

We have an 800 number that runaways can call from anywhere in the United States.

There is an 800 number for children who have been abducted.

We even have 800 numbers for the Psychic Hotline (which, by the way, could not predict what has been happening to our children over the last few years).

How difficult could it be to establish an 800 number for the safety and well-being of our most precious commodity?

I urge the current administration and incoming administration to look into this matter with all diligence. If an 800 number helped to save just one child, it would make it worth any price. I urge readers to write to their elected officials to see what can be done to make this a reality.

Let's do it for our children.

Let's do it for ourselves.

If nothing comes of this proposal, I will continue to pray for our children as they leave the safety of their homes to go to schools where their future can be determined by the sound of a gunshot echoing through the corridors. Where the sound of laughter is replaced by the cry of agony, pain and grief.

Jacqueline M. Trueblood of Horsham, Montgomery County, is an administrator for Honeywell Inc. in Fort Washington.

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