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There is a Calvert County middle school student in the hospital as I write this, recovering from an attempt to take her own life. In a would-be-suicide note, she wrote that constant bullying at school had pushed her over the edge.

I adamantly disagree with The Calvert Recorder’s assertion (“There is more to do than just address bullying,” Nov. 14 editorial) that bullying received too much attention in the campaign for Calvert County Board of Education. In fact, the subject still has not been discussed enough, as the only way the problem can get better is if the community acknowledges what is happening and works together to address it.

As the Recorder noted in its endorsement of my candidacy for the 1st District seat on the board, I am well prepared and eager to take on all the issues, not just bullying. But it is crucial that the new board, which is slated to be sworn in Jan. 10, moves with purpose to expand efforts to stop bullying in our schools. We need to ensure schools have the resources, guidance and authority to protect students.

Your editorial flies in the face of the Calvert County voters who, in my opinion, issued a mandate on Election Day that they want student safety to be just as much a priority as test scores.

I want to be clear that experts say bullying does not cause suicide, but it certainly can be a contributing factor.

I hope the Recorder will embrace the change citizens want and help to inform the community on what is needed of them to ensure students a safe and healthy learning environment.

I don’t think I could ever again look at myself in the mirror if we fail to do enough and a child dies. I will work as hard as I can to ensure that does not happen.

Joe Chenelly, Lusby

The writer is a member-elect of the Calvert County Board of Education.