Let children play, it's good for them
Children deserve the right to play. I believe few people would disagree with this statement, yet in the push for a more rigorous academic atmosphere, many schools have eliminated recess from their daily schedule.
Most of us had recess when we were young. We probably remember good times and bad. That is part of growing up, but now those rites of passage we remember have been passed by and many children no longer have unstructured play during school.
As I debate my neighborhood school on this issue, I have been given a laundry list of reasons as to why recess cannot be scheduled. Some of these reasons include, "We don't have enough time;" "It is too hard to get the children settled down after recess;" "Children get too many referrals and may get hurt playing and that takes away from academic time."
Here is my response: Children falling down or getting in trouble at recess is part of the landscape of teaching, just as it is part of the landscape of parenting. While there are some schools with extreme disciplinary situations, there are many programs schools can employ to help them organize recess and keep it fun for everyone. One such group is Peaceful Playgrounds, a consulting firm that helps keep recess fun and safe.
As a former teacher, I am well-aware of the pressures being put on teachers and students to perform, but recess and the right to play and leisure is spelled out by the United Nations and is well researched by the American Academy of Pediatrics and many other child advocates. This isn't optional. Recess and free play are just as important as math and reading or art and music.
We have to stop allowing play to be viewed as something that can be trimmed from the lives our children. It is essential, a basic human right.
When are we going to put the brakes on and realize that our children are not robots and their lives are not experiments? These are people who are being pushed and driven to achieve at a pace and to standards far beyond their years and with little or no time to relax in a six-hour day. This is not what is best for our children, and we need to make it clear to our School Board and our schools that continuing to allow this overly zealous daily schedule is not in the best interest of our children.
Our children need some peace in their day, some free time, some time to just be kids. That is their right.
Meg Rosker, Redington Shores
Money is behind red light cameras
On the surface, red light cameras at certain intersections sound like a good idea. The premise by municipalities is to promote safety, and let's be truthful, to raise money.
If safety is the true concern, then it should be required by state law that all intersections where red light cameras are to be installed must have a digital count-down display and a mandatory eight- to 10-second yellow light following the countdown to zero. This would prevent rear-end accidents, which have already been shown to increase when such cameras are installed.
If the true concern is safety, then it's a no-brainer. The cost for such displays can easily be paid for by the additional revenue derived from the tickets issued.
Also, a greater effort needs to be made to synch lights to promote fewer stops when continuously traveling on the same road. This would reduce accidents while also promoting fuel and emissions conservation. Let's see what the politicians' real intent is.
Bob Skidmore, South Pasadena
Cyclists must not ignore road rules
I've read the letters from cyclists and their arguments for ignoring the rules of the road. Here are some suggestions:
1. You are not riding in the Tour de France.
2. This isn't Idaho.
3. If you really want to share the road, then let's register bikes and collect the taxes to go toward maintaining the roads you seek to "share." Otherwise, it's not sharing; it's cyclists getting a free ride.
There is a recurrent theme to the letters that says toe clips are the reason they must "ignore" stop signs, red lights, pedestrians, etc. Cities should restrict the use of toe clips unless the riders are on a closed course free of motorists and pedestrians.
Debra Ford, Tierra Verde