By JESSICA DEPAULA In recent weeks public safety has been a huge issue in not just Malden, Massachusetts, but in the nation at large. In the past year, there have been several mass shootings in America,the most recent being the horrendous massacre that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012, which resulted in the deaths of 20 first graders and six staff members. We have all been touched by this tragedy, as well as the others, in one way or another, and Maldonians have begun to question: what is our city doing to protect us, especially our children, from this type of senseless violence? In a statement issued the day following the Newtown tragedy, Malden High School principal Dana Brown assured parents, teachers, and students that the school “works hard to ensure a culture and climate that is safe, both emotionally and physically.” MHS is currently in the process of installing several security devices, including swipe-key identification cards for teachers, cameras at both the Main Street and Holden Street entrances, and a buzz-in system that will require visitors (including Bunker Hill Community College students in the satellite program) to be buzzed in following the first period bell. But what about the five K-8 schools located in Malden? There have been two incidents involving knives at the Linden and Salemwood schools since December, as reported in Malden Patch; a tip from a fellow student led to the discovery and consequent confiscation of the knife at the Linden. “That’s what we encourage students to do,” superintendent David DeRuosi said following the incident. “If you see or hear something, tell somebody.” According to the aforementioned article, the student at the Salemwood was arrested on Jan. 18, 2013, and Lueitenant Dectec Marc Gatcomb stated that “no students [were] in danger by any means.” The K-8 schools have responded to events such as these by talking with younger students about the dangers of all weapons, and implementing stricter rules regarding safety, such as banning the use of large bags during the school day. Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone, in September, said that he understood rising concern over rising crime in Malden, as reported in a article. “Any time...shootings occur anywhere, it causes people to be concerned.” He theorized that the “uptick in the usage of marijuana by young people” and “people [involved in gangs] either seeking refuge here [in Malden] or Malden being a place where they stay when they are not committing their gang activities,” were the potential culprits to blame for concerns over the safety of Malden residents. Mayor Gary Christenson, in a meeting held on Jan. 28, 2013, discussed the issue of public safety. This was the latest in a series of meetings held throughout the Malden area, geared towards helping the city government to gain a better understanding of where Malden residents’ concerns lie in the topic of general safety. Some ideas brought up at the meeting mirrored the words of Leone, and made clear the notion that Malden’s government is working diligently to keep citizens safe, physically and emotionally.

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