Listen, Speak, Communicate Openly To Protect Students Facing Rising Tide Of Violence Around Some LB Schools

by Tonia Reyes Uranga *
Ms. Reyes Uranga was the 7th dist. Councilwoman 2002-2010. She is the spouse of current 7th dist. Councilman Roberto Uranga is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(June 5, 2019) -- On June 1st, I awoke to the news of yet another shooting in the Poly High School area and according to the press, the individuals involved were young adults and teenagers. This is very disturbing in the sense that when someone’s child is the target of violence, we, as a community, need to feel a sense of urgency not only to determine what steps we need to take to ensure that a safe and caring environment exists in our city but more importantly, to ensure the safety of student in and around our schools.

We are a village. When any young man or woman is hurt, black or brown, it is my child who is hurt. When a neighborhood feels the urgency to close its doors in fear of violence, it is my neighborhood that is also affected. And when a parent cries for help, we all should respond. This should be everyone’s concern and each of us should determine what we need to do to stop the violence.

I hear the courageous voices of parents and leaders asking for help and for the community to acknowledge the problems children face in and out of school. At a recent Long Beach City Council meeting, I heard Reverend Leon Wood asking City leaders for assistance in addressing the violence, and I heard young people from Khemer Girls in Action expressing their desire to conduct group meetings on the school campus to addresses the issue. I also heard representatives from Black Lives Matter speaking to the community to help find solutions to what they see happening on the streets.

Unfortunately, in some areas of this city, there is only silence. We have great leadership in both our schools and city who can serve us well in expediting a resolution to the violence, but it will take courage and a sense of urgency to make things happen.

In that sense of urgency, I am, therefore, asking for a coalition of community members, parents, school and public safety personnel to meet and to stand together against what appears to be a rising tide of violence around some of our schools. I ask that we reassess the number of our school safety officers and asses our safe streets operations to determine if our students are being provided with the protection they deserve and more importantly, with the assurance to parents that our schools are safe.

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In the process of resolving any problem, it starts with recognizing that a problem exists and that by proactively communicating openly with parents of all backgrounds, about the precautions our students can take to stay safe on or off campus. We can initiate actions to avoid potentially explosive powder kegs by open communication and transparency by school administrators and safety officers. Most importantly, we need to listen to the parents and to their student children when they ask for help, and we need to act on their concerns.

I am ready to listen, and I am ready to stand with our parents and children to take real steps to keep students safe. Not to act in a time of need is to keep the status quo. Long Beach is a city we can be proud of, but we need to work at it to keep it that way.

If you are interested in coming together, you can reach Tonia at

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