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Alcohol remains top killer of American youth



Published: Sun, July 7, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Alcohol remains top killer of American youth

EDITOR:

Alcohol-impaired driving is still the primary cause of death for young people in America, killing about eight children and adolescents daily. Sure, about five times that number of those 21 years and older also die this way every day. But it is those young lives lost we grieve the most.

All those seasons missed, all those birthdays and holidays not celebrated. All the moments and years never known, cherished or remembered. Never to see their own children crawl, then walk. And learn to drive.

Never to suffer the anxiety of a mother or father who knows that a third of 12th graders binge drink at least once every two weeks, and half of the 10th graders ride with drivers who have been drinking or using other drugs.

Never to wonder if their child is one of the seven-plus million teens who say they buy their own alcohol in spite of the law. Never to fear the ringing of the phone when their children are not at home.

Weren't these children paying attention? We did warn them about drinking and driving, didn't we? We even told them that if they were drunk they should remember to get someone else to drive.

We were 100 percent behind alcohol and drug education in schools, while we let them be barraged by messages encouraging them to drink.

We took them to the convenience store only to observe the dilemma of the underaged clerk inside when another teen-ager placed a six-pack on the counter.

But if they were determined to break the law anyway, we'd help them to do it or look the other way, so long as "they were not on drugs."

We taught them to read the scoreboards, emblazoned with the name of popular brew, and tuned on the sports news, where they could admire the world's fastest drivers in uniforms and vehicles promoting alcohol brands.

We even got them rock concert tickets to see their favorites, sponsored by producers of some beer or wine cooler.

How could our children have ended up in an alcohol-related highway crash? Didn't they pay attention?

ELOISE TRAINA

Lisbon

X The writer is director of the Family Recovery Center.

Supreme Court erred in its voucher decision

EDITOR:

Public school employees are understandably disappointed by the recent United States Supreme Court ruling that the Cleveland school voucher program is constitutional.

Members of the highest court in the land, presumably intelligent and educated, supposedly nonpolitical, and arguably appointed because of a history of good judgment, made an obviously politically-motivated decision that is in direct conflict with the Constitution.

The decision merits the disdain and outrage of anyone connected to public schools and anyone who pays taxes.

I'm guessing that most of the Supreme Court justices were educated in the public schools themselves. Yet, they like other politicians, continue to neglect the public schools and ignore the extraordinary things that happen in them every single day. The decision is clearly a political decision to support George the Younger's misguided "Leave No Child Behind" educational philosophy.

The abominable interpretation of the First Amendment's "separation of church and state" is only one issue that should concern Ohio's taxpayers. The absolute refusal of the weakest governor in Ohio's history to properly fund public schools is even more abhorrent.

This country, inarguably the greatest industrial nation in the world, is what it is today, in large part because of our forefathers' belief that a free public education should be the mission of a democratic society. Now, many of Ohio's students, whose parents don't want to send their children to religious schools, and the reluctant learners that the parochial schools typically reject, will suffer because the lawmakers don't have the courage or the leadership to properly fund public schools. Clearly, many of those children will be "left behind."

Vouchers are not a solution to the problems of urban education, but rather an impediment to the development and the funding of effective solutions to those problems.

DAN DAY

Warren

X The writer is the president-elect of the North Eastern Ohio Education Association.

The choice for the U.S. is clear: God or communism

EDITOR:

People, wake up. Every time something is banned or restricted, it's turning America into a country that's giving more control and power to our elected officials. By their being forced to make these laws, it's turning our democracy closer to a Communist-type government. Look at how many rights have been taken away already.

People, we are living in nation that was founded and defended to keep America a country that can say with pride, "United States of America, land of the free. & quot;

"Land of the free," those are the words that we pledge. All the words after that are showing that we are the land of freedom of speech, expression, press etc.

I ask, is a moment of silence, people gathering to pray, if there is a God or not, really offensive to our Constitution? Does it really upset the way your families live? Is it really worth choosing to live under Communism just not to live under God?

There are people who believe in a rabbit's foot, four-leaf clovers, lucky shirts, touching a stone etc. They turn to these for the strength to help them survive.

Well, God is just that. God is the name for all those lucky charms people turn to.

The letters in G.O.D form the phrase "Granting Our Democracy & quot;: granting our right to be free, to pray or wish only to survive. God isn't or doesn't have anything to do with religion. God is the strength and charms we believe in to survive and makes us free to do so.

FRANK J. GUERRIERI Jr.

Youngstown




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