QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Opinion on School Safety and Mental Health Issues Sought of Congressional Candidates

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In an effort to help voters decide which candidate to select in the Nov. 6 election, WestfordCAT News is asking a question each week of those candidates who will represent Westford. The response below comes from Lori Trahan of Westford, the Democratic nominee for the Third District Congressional seat spanning approximately 776 square miles across 37 cities and towns in Middlesex, Essex, and Worcester counties. The current population of the Third District is approximately 735,500 people.

Trahan is competing with Republican Rick Green of Pepperell and Independent Mike Mullen of Maynard. Neither Green nor Mullen responded to a request for comment from WestfordCAT.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Communities across the country are struggling for answers on how to make schools safer and how to protect the mental health of students. Finding the funds to back these efforts is a challenge. In Westford, the Town and School Safety Task Force proposed on Oct. 9 an expenditure of $200K toward consultation on what could be done to improve safety inside school buildings — that dollar amount does not include the cost of any construction work to be done. Do you have thoughts on how communities like Westford could fund these efforts? Should federal dollars be applied? If so, how could that happen and how quickly could it happen?

Lori Trahan. COURTESY PHOTO

Lori Trahan. COURTESY PHOTO

LORI TRAHAN – Westford Democrat

Safety for all of our students must always be put first in our schools. As the mother of a current Westford public school student, concerns for the safety of my daughter and of all students in the Third District are something I understand very personally. If I have the pleasure of serving as your next Congresswoman, I look forward to working with state and local governments to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect our students. 

There are many ways Congress can support school safety. First and foremost, we can pass commonsense gun reforms, like closing gun show loopholes and implementing mandatory background checks at every point of sale, that can help protect our children from every parent’s worst nightmare. We can invest in proposals like Congresswoman Clark’s, that support Head Start funding for stress and trauma identification in young children, so we can intervene early to give students the resources they need to live healthy, productive lives. Traditionally, local and state governments have had to carry the burden of school infrastructure, so Congress must also consider proposals to allocate funding to update aging schools that are no longer able to adequately protect our children.