Maplewood students were well-behaved; now about the New York adult
Recently a letter to the editor offered a mischaracterization of Maplewood students and chaperones on a field trip to the Baltimore/Gettysburg area. A gentleman from New York felt that students were causing a disturbance upon arrival at their hotel around 11 p.m. on Friday March 22.
The Maplewood students entered into the lobby after getting their luggage off the bus. Many of them waited as chaperones took them eight at a time on the elevators to their rooms. With 100 students on three different floors, I can tell you this took approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Only the natural noise of students finding their rooms could be heard on any one of these floors. Once students were in their rooms, they were not permitted to leave. A security official brought by our group checked all rooms bringing any needs ( i.e. key pass problems, forgot necessities, etc. etc.) to the attention to chaperones.
On Sunday morning this completely unapproachably irate man berated the young girl at the desk, suggesting that he was kept awake all night Friday by our students. This obviously exaggerated statement was intended to assure him two free nights stay. In fact, after contacting the hotel, I found that he was the only complaint they had, unlike the several complaints he claimed had occurred. Furthermore, he refused to have his room changed for Saturday evening when our group would still be at this hotel. If these students were so noisy, then why would he not take the hotel manager's advice? Once he received his recompense Sunday morning, he continued his tirade by circling the parking lot until he could find someone new to threaten.
As a public school educator over the past 10 years, I have found that some in our society are irrationally fearful of groups of young people. Since I have been at Maplewood Local Schools, I have found a spirit of cooperation and dignity that resonates within the community as well as within the student population. Our students have led fundraisers for various public charities, and they even take it upon themselves to assist in tragedies befalling their fellow classmates. Respect is not only a way of behaving for young people, but it's a manner of conduct that should be modeled by our elders too!
Separation is only answer to violence in Mideast
Yasser Arafat has been saying that the Palestinians are the victims of terrorism and that, "The real terrorism is [Israel's] occupation." The world is beginning to accept this skewed view of terror and believes the Palestinian actions are only in response to violence against them.
Occupation is the violent act that the Israelis are supposed to be committing. This is not the occupation of troops they refer to but the presence of settlers among his people. So, here is how the world is told to think. When a bomb goes off in an Israeli settlement, they deserve it. When the Israeli army goes into a Palestinian neighborhood to tear down a sniper's protective cover, that's terrorism. It's time we, as the world society, stood up and said, & quot;No More! & quot; Terrorism is the deliberate targeting of civilians for the purpose of achieving a political goal. Occupation is just the act of living somewhere. Regardless of how bad a neighbor one is, the fact that someone lives in a place does not make that person a terrorist. On the other hand, the actions of the Israeli military, in the destruction of homes and infrastructure, are also not terrorism. What they do is to curtail the threat of terrorists who use those homes for cover. The women and children that are killed are the result of their brothers using them as human shields and allowing those deaths to be used as additional political symbols.
Just over 10 years ago I had the chance to have a first-hand experience on just how some have been programmed to think. At the end of "Desert Storm," in 1991, I was sitting watching CNN at the USO facility at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. A young, cleancut Kuwaiti soldier was sitting next to me. He had been a student at UCLA when his country's neighbor, Iraq, invaded his homeland. He joined the Kuwaiti Army to resist the invaders. However, responding to whatever the story was on CNN, he then gave me his opinion of Israel.
Gesturing with his hand, like a cobra striking, he said Israel was "biting" at all the land around them. They would not be satisfied until they had it all. Israel just kept taking land. For several minutes he let me and the room know just how he felt. I kept my mouth shut asking only where he had been when his country was invaded.
A healthy and probably wealthy, well educated young man had accepted that one small country could be more of a threat to its neighbors than that country could be threatened. The irony of his opinion surely could not penetrate his nearly 20 years of hate education. By that time, his small country had just been threatened then attacked by a country that personally considered him to be their enemy for no other reasons than his perceived wealth and the political policies of his country.
It was too bad he could not empathize with the people of Israel since Kuwait had just experienced what Israel had been trying to avoid for more than 40 years. Plus, sitting there among his county's allies, mostly Americans, he could not see how the U.S. support of Israel was necessary just after that same support had liberated his people.
If Israel's presence is reason enough for attack and the only terrorism is what the Israeli military does in response to those attacks then it's like accepting that police presence on an American street corner is the cause of crime. The only solution then, is to separate these groups and not allow them to ever live together.
This will punish the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians who live each day without conflict or attacking their neighbors.
Technicalities undermine justice in fatal crash
It has been a sad few months for several families and the sadness has just been made worse by the Trumbull County grand jury.
My stepmother-in-law Peggy Snyder was involved in a motor vehicle accident on Jan. 28, which killed her lifelong friend Yvonne Edwards. After church in Masury, as they often did, the two were going shopping in Sharon when a car driven by Catherine Settlemire crossed over the center line and hit them head on.
Ms. Settlemire admitted to drinking and failed the field test given by the State Highway Patrol as well as failed the breathalyzer test given at the Brookfield police.
Ms. Settlemire refused any medical treatment and was walking around the accident scene and she also walked into the police department.
Now, all the aggravated charges against her have been dropped by the grand jury because of technicalities. The results of the breathalyzer test were thrown out on a technicality because the machine was overdue for service -- even though it passed a subsequent test. The field sobriety test was thrown out on another technicality -- her ankle was broken, even though she was walking around at the scene of the accident.
Troublesome? You tell me! Both the prosecutor in Trumbull County court as well as the judge recused themselves because they knew her "casually" and the case was sent to the grand jury.
The grand jurors are the ones who threw out all the "aggravated" charges. The lady has caused more pain in the families of these two wonderful ladies, and the maximum she can get is sixmonths in jail.
What a wonderful state we live in. We can go out and drink to our heart's content, take another person's life and all we have to look forward to is six months.
This is the biggest injustice I have ever seen and it makes me sick to think that this can happen.
CHRISTIE L. GRACHANIN
Tobacco isn't a habit; it's an addiction and a killer
The Vindicator's editorial on the $150 milliion verdict in Oregon against a cigarette company is on the mark in many respects but misses the target in one important area.
It correctly describes the American tort law system as sometimes & quot;out of touch with reality. & quot; It also supports spending the money Ohio has received from the federal tobacco lawsuit to deter smoking by Ohioans, rather than diverting it to other uses. The latter point is underscored by an article farther back in the same issue of The Vindicator, reporting that smoking by Ohio teens is going up, not down.
The editorial's weakness is its assumption that smokers can quit if they want to. There is overwhelming evidence that nicotine causes a true addiction, typically acquired in the teen years before people are mature enough to understand the health risks they will face as smokers.
Tobacco use causes about 400,000 premature deaths in the U. S. each year, or more than 1,000 each day. To put it another way, smoking kills as many Americans every three days as died in the September 11 disaster.
ROBERT D. GILLETTE, MD
Kindergarten readiness varies with each child
All public schools in our area have pre-kindergarten screening, which is used to determine the individual child's readiness for kindergarten; academically, physically and emotionally. This is the only point that the child's unique abilities are considered. Unfortunately, regardless of how ready the child is for kindergarten, as determined by the screening, a cut-off date is imposed that will keep young but capable children out, but allow less-ready, older children in. This totally invalidates the screening process.
Although I understand the need to set guidelines for the admission process, and do not disagree with the idea that children generally achieve certain levels of readiness at certain stages, imposing cut-off dates without any flexibility does a huge disservice to those who are exceptions to the rule.
As an educator and a mother of a child who entered kindergarten before her 5th birthday, I speak with a unique understanding of the challenge faced by our schools and by parents of school-age children. We have made the curriculum far more demanding, and we need to admit children into our schools with that in mind. But we must also allow for differences in children. Not every child will neatly and conveniently be "not ready" if born after the imposed cut-off date. Nor will admitting a ready child, younger than the cut-off age, necessarily result in poor self-esteem or place the child at risk academically or emotionally. A good self-concept and emotional security were not values we waited for the public schools to teach or address; they were instilled at home from the time our child was an infant.
I have two children who entered kindergarten as the youngest, or one of the youngest, in their class, and I am glad that my husband and I considered their readiness as not a function of age but a reflection of their academic ability, social skills, physical ability, and emotional maturity. They have been fortunate to have teachers that recognize the individual talents and strengths of each child in their care, and we are indebted to them.