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Letter: It’s disheartening to read many children live in fear

It’s disheartening to read many children live in fear

After reading Sean Kirst’s moving column on “The Waterfront Wave” in the June 27 News, I sadly realized how little progress our city has made in making it safe for our urban youth.

I retired almost 15 years ago as a Buffalo teacher. I recall my first day as an inner-city teacher in 1970. It was the shock of my life, even though I grew up on the East Side. Such poverty, violence and disrespect for personal property was limited to a few mean streets. I watched this territory expand each year, even reaching beyond my once safe street, Koons Avenue.

One of my students told me of her regular practice of rolling out of bed each night to the floor upon hearing gunfire on Goodyear. This was in 1990! Riding through my old neighborhood, I see vacant lots where my friends once lived. It looks like a Third World bombed-out city.

There are many reasons for this spreading cancer: gangs, drugs, guns, lack of family unity. No one has found an effective way to stop it. There is no chemo for poverty. So the mean streets continue to spread east. Suburban schools are seeing the same problems that once only the schools of Buffalo coped with.

Teachers continue to care, children continue to be victims. There are no medical miracles or superheroes to save children from the havoc their elders are causing. Schools are the only havens for these kids. Their summers are dangerous. Neighborhoods are scary as the villains continue to rob children of the innocence of care-free summer vacations.

Where are the invisible adults who have brought these kids into this dangerous world? As I bear witness, they were once the kids who felt the same fears. Stop hiding from the present. Your past should remind you that if nothing is done to stop cancer, it will destroy everything healthy.

Patricia Butler


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