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Cyberbullying by adults was on display

Cyberbullying on the rise | March 3, story

Cyberbullying by adults was on display

Kudos to the Times for bringing the increasingly prevalent issue of cyberbullying to the forefront in its article Tuesday. The repercussions of electronic insults, degradation of character and other attacks are certainly as dangerous and long-lasting as those made in person. In the photo accompanying the story, however, there were misspelled words pictured on the board above one student's head. Herein lies the "rest of the story."

As the agency responsible for the cyberbullying presentation to Largo Middle School, and as the employer of the therapists/educators described as having written on the board in the photo, we experienced firsthand the angry, relentless and immature attacks our very children receive in schools today as we read entry after entry in the comments at the end of the online version of the story.

How disappointing — but incredibly revealing — to see adults (no doubt several parents), and even one former FSC employee (one of the few with the courage to give his real name), disregard the importance of the entire message in favor of browbeating the counselors accused of the misspellings.

The story never addressed the original context of the writing or the source of the words, and therefore it was not absolutely certain why the words may have been misspelled in the first place. Nevertheless, the attacks dominated the blog responses, and now we have had to counsel the publicly bullied staff members — a position our schools are finding themselves in more and more with students.

But all of that is irrelevant in the ugly face of this "parallel process," a clinical term describing this instance of adults modeling the same behavior for which they punish their own children, or for which they scream for our schools and social service organizations to cure. Shame on any adult cyberbullies who felt it more necessary to insult our educators than to become more aware of how their behavior is corrupting children.

Mary Jo Monahan, president and CEO, Family Service Centers Inc., Clearwater

A pitiful response to water shortage March 2, editorial

Tampa Bay Water comes up short

This editorial strongly criticizing the Southwest Florida Water Management District for its somewhat tepid response to the current water shortage requires a more evenhanded view of the situation.

It is unfortunate that the Times fails to recognize a major factor in this crisis: the mediocre performance of Tampa Bay Water. I have no problem with the Times' request for more conservation efforts. However, we should also look at how we got to this point. The water system in question was set up to handle dry spells through a combination of pumping from the desalination plant, the aquifer and the 15-billion-gallon reservoir. The problem is that the reservoir now only contains 1/30th the amount of that 15 billion gallons of water. The reservoir was not filled because cracks have developed in its upper walls.

Instead of chastising Swiftmud for not doing more to save Tampa Bay Water's bacon, it would be much more relevant to find out who built, inspected and approved the dam. Who was negligent? Were there payoffs? Newspapers used to do what is called "investigative reporting." It would be refreshing to see this practice return.

Dave Groff, Homosassa

A pitiful response to water shortage March 2, editorial

Limit construction

The editorial describes Tampa Bay Water's pitiful response to the water shortage here: wanting restaurants to stop serving water unless customers request it. California has been doing that for 30 years, so Florida could have done that no-brainer years ago.

This county has allowed too much residential construction, and there are now too many people using our dwindling water supply. If Hillsborough County and the state of Florida are really serious about tackling our water shortage, they need to finally make some hard decisions like limiting new construction and requiring builders to use water- efficient faucets in new construction.

George Petrick, Riverview

A pitiful response to water shortage March 2, editorial

Conservation measures

This editorial does not hit the mark to save Florida's precious water resources. Here is what I think will help:

During a severe dry period, raise water rates to reduce consumption. That will get attention.

Control growth, especially during dry periods.

Strengthen our building codes to include "point-of-use" heating elements to be installed in all new construction. My master bath is 60 feet away from the water heater. I timed the flow until the warm water arrived. It took one minute and wasted 11/3 gallons of water. This happens several times a day.

Educate consumers with water-saving ideas. The method of how one showers can save. Being a Navy vet I was instructed on how to shower aboard ship where fresh water was at a premium. You wet down then turn the shower off while you lather up. Then turn the water on and rinse. That would save at least one or more gallons of water. And of course, no singing in the shower; it's wasteful.

Jack Bechtold, New Port Richey

Top officials to feel no pain | March 1

Unhealthy situation

I bet that if elected officials had to pay their own health insurance premiums and face hearing that their drugs were not covered or a lifesaving procedure was not covered or deemed unnecessary, health care reform would pass in short order.

How in God's name can this state — this country — justify the enormous number of uninsured while paying for quality health care for elected officials ?

Perhaps we should all write our elected officials and ask: "How do you sleep at night knowing you and yours enjoy free health insurance paid for by the uninsured?" I bet we won't get an answer!

Blanche Asdof, Spring Hill

2 deputies suspended for false report | Feb. 27, Crime journal

Firing was needed

Two Pinellas County deputies falsified an arrest report. In other words they lied. They should have been fired. How many other times have they lied?

If you or I lie to the police we could get arrested. There shouldn't be any place in law enforcement for dishonest people. I wonder who made the decision to suspend rather than fire?

George Presby, Pinellas Park

Cyberbullying by adults was on display 03/04/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 4, 2009 6:55pm]
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