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LETTER: Reject Lyons and his Priorities on Nov. 6

Reader says Lyons bill would be damaging to students.

Dear Editor,

As a school committee member and a parent, I am deeply concerned by a piece of legislation supported by State Representative Jim Lyons.  Lyons' legislation, House Bill 1060, would raise obstacles to any student seeking counseling in our schools by requiring them to first obtain a permission slip from a parent. 

North Andover schools have, sadly, born witness to student suicides.  In our efforts to understand and hopefully prevent these tragedies, one thing is clear – the window of prevention can be brief.  Can you imagine a desperate youngster seeking help, only to be sent away with a form to sign?

Difficult days at school run the gamut of a lost homework assignment to the debilitating hammer of persistent bullying.  Our gay students are 90% more likely to be the victims of bullying, and they are also two to three times more likely to take their own lives.  It is a painful reality that not every gay student comes from an open and understanding household.  If those same students struggling with their sexual identity can't hope to find support at school, then where should they turn?

North Andover parents, teachers and students have worked hard to create a respectful, safe and caring environment in our schools.  Our guidance offices often serve as temporary safe havens – time spent with a caring adult that results in a student back in class and back on track.  I simply cannot understand inserting a piece of bureaucracy, bureaucracy that comes with a price tag incidentally, in the way of our student’s wellbeing.

I urge voters to send a message to Jim Lyons on November 6th and reject his misguided priorities.

Chris Allen

North Andover

 

Marc DiFruscia October 26, 2012 at 04:55 PM
The schools should not be doing a parents job. I support Jim Lyons.
Jerry Selissen October 26, 2012 at 11:03 PM
As School Committee member and a parent wouldn't you want to be aware if your child was being bullied or seriously considering suicide? Isn't that every parents responsibility to be involved in their children's life? I think it is time that the School Systems butt out and let parents do or NOT do their job.
Sally Ford October 27, 2012 at 12:43 AM
I like the idea that kids do not have to notify their parents, but their primary care physician should be in the loop, as a safety net.

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