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Candidate Statements

Wishing Everyone a Happy and Safe 4th of July Weekend

July 2, 2015

I would like to wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July weekend. Following is a speech I gave when I was first elected to the Westfield Town Council: It is a real honor and privilege for me to ...

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Today's Events

Police Blotter

In Westfield, Car Damaged, Bikes Reported Stolen

July 1, 2015

July 1, 2015 1:31 a.m. Officers McCarthy and Martinez arrested Zenasia Bowers, age 20, of Elizabeth subsequent to a motor vehicle stop in the area of Mountain Avenue and Kimball Avenue on an ...

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Columns

In the Schools

Westfield High School Community Service Club Helps Those in Need

Capping off their year round efforts to serve those in need, the Westfield High School Community Service Club’s activities included serving meals to individuals in need in Lower Manhattan ...

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Lindabury Legal Corner

Lindabury Expands Corporate Group with Addition of Chemical Industry General Counsel

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper is pleased to announce the addition of the firm’s newest partner Michelle M. Monte. To read more, click here.

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Lost in Suburbia®

Getting Under My Skin

“What do you think this is?” my husband asked me, pointing to his elbow. “That is your elbow,” I stated matter-of-factly. “No, these red spots,” he ...

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JCC NEWS

Camp Yachad is in Full Swing

Summer 2015 is here, and Camp Yachad is in full swing. We had an exciting first day.  Our brand new zero-entry pool is open and our youngest campers had a great time splashing around in ...

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The Floor Plan

Indoor Comfort, Outdoor Living

It's that time of year. The time when we get to expand our living spaces and spend more time outdoors. When you're looking to decorate an outdoor space, you want to have all the comforts of ...

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ViaNutrition

What is the Difference Between Infrared and Traditional Saunas?

I love, love, love the infrared sauna. It is so peaceful and makes you feel shut off for a half an hour. The benefits of that alone are brilliant. The benefits are far-reaching for your well-being ...

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Experts of H.O.M.E.

Tips for Backyard Entertaining

Summer is in full swing. Is your home ready for entertaining? It’s time to enjoy your home, inside and out. Here are some of our favorite hacks for backyard fun this summer. To chill ...

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Monday with Millicent

The Belmont Tavern & Restaurant

I can’t remember the last time I was at The Belmont Tavern, but it had to be years ago. On a recent Friday evening, we arrived about 7 p.m., to enjoy dinner. Feeling rather smug that we ...

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Personal Fitness: In the Studio

What is Personal Training? First in a 4-Part Series

After the brutal winter we had this year - which was almost immediately followed by mid-summer-esque temperatures - we weren't left with much spring time to gradually shed off our heavy winter ...

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Westfield Area Y

Westfield Area Y's Summer Enrichment Class Makes Camouflage Hats for Wild Animal Day

The Westfield Area Y’s Summer Enrichment Class at the Robert & Virginia Bauer Branch located at 422 East Broad Street in Westfield recently made a special project for Wild Animal Day. The ...

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Point View WealthPoints

Take Advantage of the Greek Tragedy

Concerns of a Greece banking failure and an exit from the European Union have dominated the news headlines once again, and have helped take the global financial markets on a roller coaster ride.

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The Academic Coach

The Summer Plan

The 2014-2015 Academic year is done! Now families can take a deep breath, celebrate successes, and enjoy some free time. But there is one last thing to do and we can help. Chyten Millburn ...

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Why I Opposed the Armed Officer (SRO), Again

By MITCH SLATER

May 21, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Last night at the Board of Education Meeting the plan was to hear a presentation about the effectiveness of the Student Resource Officer (Westfield policeman) for this past school year. One would have thought the actual officer himself would have appeared and spoke, but instead we heard a presentation from our Guidance Director and WHS Vice Principal.

I was very disappointed to not hear directly from the officer, though my views have not changed that what we really needed was a SAC (student assistance counselor) or mental health professional instead of an armed officer. Recently a criminologist at the University of Maryland wrote, "There is no evidence that placing officers in the schools improves safety. And it increases the number of minor behavior problems that are referred to the police—pushing kids into the criminal justice system."

Recently The Star Ledger reported on an incident at another NJ School where a coach at a sporting event grabbed the holster and gun from the school SRO and pointed it another coach in anger. Fortunately nobody was hurt, but these kinds of situations are alarming.

Just last week in another state a High School senior prank was met with an SRO approaching the students with his gun pointing directly at them--not knowing it was a prank. Add to the mix that a 2010 study of NYC Police officers showed that in situations where they are firing directly at a person, only 28.3 percent actually hit their target. Nobody wants to imagine what a stray bullet would do in a school of 2,000 kids and hundreds of staff. I am not staying that would ever happen with our excellent police force, but it's just not worth the risk in my opinion.

Neighboring towns are choosing other methods of security, like a wonderful new technology called the Share 911 program. It is a high tech emergency information system that provides access for employees, teachers, students, parents and most importantly first responders. It is being used all over NJ (nearby Springfield and Berkeley Heights, for example) in schools that have chosen to not have an armed SRO.

I also would like to know what the students' take has been on the SRO—I think a survey would be very helpful here. Please know I have nothing against our current SRO—he is an excellent officer and a dedicated young man.  Obviously as a parent I want all of our schools to be a safe environment. I just do not believe bringing a gun into the school is the smartest way to do it.

These are the views of Mitch Slater, Westfield resident, and do not reflect the views or opinions of the Board of Education.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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