Like many districts across the country, the Wissahickon School District sent letters to parents following the deadly Florida school shooting. Yet while the first three paragraphs talked about security measures and counseling services, the fourth paragraph of Wissahickon School Superintendent James Crisfield’s letter took a different direction.
“One last thought lands me in unusual political waters for a school superintendent,” Crisfield wrote. “I believe it is time for all of us, public school leaders included, to have the courage to call for a ban on rapid-fire assault weapons. Enough is enough. We need to stop framing this as a rollback of constitutional rights, and we need to stop framing it as some sort of partisan political issue. Instead, we need to start framing this as protecting kids.”
Crisfield’s message struck a chord with parents not only in the Wissahickon School District but also other districts across the area.
“We all feel very frustrated and vulnerable I think,” Crisfield said. “And every time one of these incidents hits, via Florida or Colorado or Connecticut or Texas you name it, it just reminds us that we want to do more. We feel like we can do more.”
Crisfield says his letter has gotten strong reactions from several parents, most of them positive. He also says school leaders are asked to weigh in on school funding and testing and believes the issue addressed in his letter is related to school safety and is not politically related.
“I don’t have any patience when it comes to partisan politics, especially in the realm of education, and how this can fall prey to Democrat vs. Republican posturing is beyond me,” Crisfield wrote. “We need to act now to protect students now.”