DUNKIRK: Silence reveals lack of caring

One week ago, this corner asked for some leadership with regard to the tensions and grieving that were affecting the city of Dunkirk after a 15-year-old girl died from a stabbing altercation. To our disappointment, we did not see any action taken by the mayor, Common Council or the city schools.

We did, however, see some individuals in the community come forward in the hopes of making a difference. Featured in today’s edition is Jeanette Delgado. She is keeping watch on Washington Park after school lets out in the afternoon to diffuse any potential conflict that could be starting or continuing between children and teenagers.

“Every day I vow, until the end of the school year and probably into next school year, to be a presence of the community in Washington Park between 2:30 and 4 p.m. so that outbreaks of fights or violence between children break out, there will be one responsible adult in the area at the time in order to regulate the situation,” Delgado said in an article written by the OBSERVER’s Jo Ward.

Also of note is Valarie Csont, president of the Dunkirk Teachers Association, who publicly said what the district’s administration would not. This death is impacting the school and there are concerns over safety.

“We’re supposed to provide a safe and caring environment for our students. We tell them it’s safe, we tell them we care, but our actions speak louder than words,” she said. “Right now, I know our students don’t feel safe, our teachers don’t feel safe. I have many statements from buildings, not all, but some, that tell me that they don’t feel safe. If my teachers are not feeling safe in the building, what are my students feeling?”

Sadly, her comments to the Board of Education were met with silence. That seems to be the trend for the city leaders here regarding the unfortunate incident on May 15. Don’t talk about it. Don’t acknowledge it. Don’t do anything about it.

There’s only one conclusion that can be made by the lack of discussion and communication by the city and its school administration regarding what has happened in recent weeks: Dunkirk’s main players are in denial.