Troubled schools put future in jeopardy
I have been following the articles on problems in our schools, and am very concerned with the trend our students are taking. Reading the stories, I can imagine what the future holds for youths of the next generation, America is losing jobs at a phenomenal rate to other countries, with no new innovation to create more.
Parents should have a right to send their children to school and expect them to learn in a safe environment. Teachers should have a right to teach a class without fear of being attacked by the very students they are trying to help. Students who are there to learn should have the right to attend classes in a safe environment, without the fear of being shot, stabbed or raped. How can this be an atmosphere to inspire our children to reach for better future?
Education is the key to their future as it was to ours, but how can children be educated in an atmosphere of danger or violence?
When are the rights of one more important than the rights of another?
Discipline, courtesy, self-esteem and kindness should be taught at home, by parents, and should start before they are even old enough to attend school. But that idea seems to have fallen by the wayside.
As a parent and now a grandparent, I have strived to help my children to attain a better future.
Parents, look at yourselves and the way your lives have gone. Ask yourselves, is this what I want for my children and grandchildren?
Mary Chandler, St. Petersburg
John Hopkins Middle School
Let the community be part of the solution
Many of our community's children have not had the benefit of a secure household and, in certain cases, strong parenting. It is insanity to expect our teachers to single-handedly suffer and cure the ills of these troubled children.
At the same time, we can be compassionate for those acting out if we better understand the difficult circumstances they and their families experience. This is a community problem. At the same time, it is an incredible opportunity for we, the citizens of St. Petersburg, to work creatively and compassionately together to help these troubled students and their families, and to help relieve the burden that is falling on the teachers and other students at John Hopkins.
In our hearts, I know that regardless of our individual economic resources, educational level, or political beliefs, we all truly want the best for each of our children, and would be willing to work together to help alleviate the suffering that this situation is causing for so many, whether at John Hopkins or other schools in our area. School Board, teachers, parents, please show us how the community can help support you.
Angela Parrish, St. Petersburg
Fixing school requires all to pitch in | March 14, Bill Maxwell column
The answer is at home
I enjoy reading Bill Maxwell's opinions, but I strongly disagree with him about John Hopkins Middle School. I think the majority of the blame should be placed on the individual, the family of the individual, and the culture of the individual. We cannot fix the Hopkins problem or any other problem in our schools unless and until we assign blame and responsibility where it belongs.
If we as a responsible society keep permitting the troubled youths of our schools an easy way out by blaming the school, teachers and administration, we end up like hamsters on a treadmill. Parents must instill values, ethics and morals into their children that most of us already possess. The solution, just like the problem, begins at home.
I do not want additional money and other resources dedicated to this issue until the county, city, School Board and school administration get buy-in from the individuals, parents, and community. If you don't get buy-in we will be wasting our hard-earned money on students with no parameters, no common decency, and no respect for those students who do want to learn.
Education is the way out of a life of poverty and helplessness. If you want to stay poor and helpless, stay out of school and let us focus on those who want to escape. If you want help, say you need help, and you will be helped.
Mario Rodriquez, St. Petersburg
J.Hop's fate up to us | March 18
Listen to the students
Thank you for reprinting the student-written editorial from the J.Hop Times newspaper at John Hopkins Middle School. Students are the best equipped to comment on what's happening on their campuses, and those young journalists deserve credit for tackling the problems plaguing their campus.
Here's hoping administrators, School Board members and others in power will listen to what students have to stay.
Joe Humphrey, president, Florida Scholastic Press Association, Wesley Chapel
J.Hop's fate up to us | March 18
Showing great maturity
By putting the responsibility for turning their school around on themselves, and listing all the magnificent reasons why the awesome task is worth the effort, these young people have shown remarkable intelligence and maturity.
Now, parents, School Board, NAACP, neighbors — it's up to us.
And the Uhurus can help by making positive suggestions and comments. But if they can't do this, put a sock in it! Your negativity isn't helping.
Mrs. Gene Collins, St. Petersburg
At last, closer look at school bus stops March 16 , editorial
Why go outside for help?
The Pinellas school superintendent wants to hire an outside analytical group from the University South Florida to resolve the school busing problem. I would offer another consideration prior to expending extra dollars.
Where is the Pinellas School Board Risk Department, which should include the transportation safety manager? Does the school system even have a risk management policy in operation?
The problem at hand is typical of all government entities when they do not know or want to handle the problem: "Outside consultants."
Those with the responsibility to the board for this problem should have the opportunity to resolve it prior to hiring outside consultants or groups. What assurance do those paying the bill, the taxpayers, have that these personnel and their backgrounds would be any better at resolving this risk problem?
In my view, this move should be reconsidered and canceled for the moment. Consider the bill payers as well as those exposed to the risk.
Donald Kreis, Largo
Texting while driving
It's public endangerment
What is so hard about passing a bill to make texting while driving a ticketable offense? Add talking on a cell phone and dialing a cell phone, looking at your blackberry. Anything but concentrating on driving should be treated as a criminal offense: public endangerment!
Oh! I know why it is so hard to pass a bill: Sprint, Nextel, Verizon, etc., and state officials who are addicted to their cell phones.
Charli Strawser, Tampa
Real patriots believe in the principles of America | March 14, Robyn Blumner column
Giving voice to values
Thank you, Robyn Blumner, so much for this column. I have wanted to express the same principles so often, not so much with regard to Liz Cheney but to her father (and mother, sorry to say).
But you have the audience. Great headline, great opening and closing. You're the best.
Dianne Maughan, Brooksville