Letters Extra: No appetite for school-safety cuts

Demonstrators chant and hold signs outside Gov. Corbett's Center City office, where they were protesting school-district cuts. Four protesters are staging a hunger strike over staff layoffs. STEPHANIE AARONSON / Staff Photographer

 I am a mother, grandmother, and aunt, and I work as a lead food-service worker in the kitchen at Olney Elementary. But this past week, I didn't eat a bite of food or take a sip of juice.

On Monday, I joined Fast for Safe Schools, which for nearly two weeks has brought attention to the dangers of budget cuts facing our children. We brought our protest right to the steps of Gov. Corbett's Philadelphia office.

More than 1,200 student-safety staff have been laid off, and unless the state acts on funding, they won't return to schools in the fall. These student-safety staff, also known as noontime aides, help create a community in our schools, a family. They build relationships with students, help defuse conflicts, and make sure kids aren't bullied. I am worried about what will happen in September without them.

Gov. Corbett and other elected leaders in Harrisburg need to remember that, above politics, the safety and education of our children must come first.

Juanita Jones, Fast for Safe Schools, Philadelphia