Network could aid community

"Rick Cook says he attended a Thursday meeting to discuss forming a community network because he worries that Federal Way Public Schools ignores the underlying causes of school violence.Bullies, for example.They tend to focus too much on the big things like shootings, Cook said of the school district. The common things I see in cases like (Springfield, Ore., high school shooter) Kipland Kinkel is they were picked on a lot.That shooting, at Thurston High School in Springfield, left four people dead and 22 people injured. A few rows back, Maria Chung worried about the struggle her 11-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter face between the Korean and American cultures. Recently, for example, a teacher asked her son if his mother spoke English. She fears he'll think himself small.They are blocking inside from outside, Chung said. When outside, they shut out family life. I don't know what they're doing outside.A network like the one the Federal Way Mirror, school district and Federal Way Chamber of Commerce are organizing can help unite the entire community, say organizers Linda Tarr, Mirror editor, and Diane Turner, school district spokeswoman. The idea for the network was sparked by concerns about a fight and shooting that occurred near Federal Way High School on Sept. 25. Several Federal Way students were involved in the fighting.But, Violence among children is not just a school issue, Turner said. It's a community issue.The network would connect people concerned about youth safety and other issues and prevent the duplication of efforts that now occurs, with different groups trying to solve the same problems. It would be modeled after the South King County Community Network, which was formed in 1994.Our goal is to get a network going that gets everyone talking, Tarr said.Thursday's meeting at Barnes & Noble Booksellers was intended to gauge community interest in a city network. The approximately 40 people who attended were asked to sign up if they want to become involved. The network's first meeting will be in February, Tarr said.When they introduced themselves, several people who attended said they've been involved in community groups and liked the idea of combining efforts to make positive changes in the community.Cook said he liked the idea of forming a network that would focus on Federal Way, but cautioned that it's not a cure-all. In Springfield, Ore., where Cook attended school, a community network was in place at the time of the Kip Kipland school shooting. He attributes the fast way that community responded to the shooting to the network, but said the network didn't prevent it.It's by no means, he said, an immunization against tragedy. "

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