Emily resident Kent Rees said at the Breezy Point forum that firearms, knives, baseball bats and other weapons of violence must be addressed, as well as the way mentally ill people are handled and treated.
He told the story of his recovering granddaughter, who was stabbed three times by a mentally ill person while pumping gas at a gas station in another city.
“We have a violence problem,” he said. “You get a different perspective to it when it occurs directly to you.”
Integration aid to schools, which is tied to racial disparities and broadened to include the achievement gap, was addressed. Radinovich said integration aid was being considered but there hasn’t been concrete action. The education omnibus bill will reflect ideas, he said.
Also regarding education, Linda Kittler of Aitkin County asked about discussion about early childhood preschools.
Ruud said there is a disconnect in early childhood education and at the high school/post-secondary level. She said the Pequot Lakes School District recognized this early and now houses pre-kindergarten classes at the elementary school and offers all-day, everyday kindergarten.
“Our children are a lot different at 16 than we were at 16. We’re a lot different society now,” Ruud said, advocating a look at pre-kindergarten to age 20 education.
Frank Tenczar of Breezy Point said he wants to see the state balance its two-year budget and have a year without a budget battle.
“I’m a fan of progressive taxes and I want us to be responsible,” he said. “Go to work and don’t be like our federal government, and get the job done once and for all.”