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Swamped home buyers were victims of their own greed

What was he thinking? | May 31, Perspective story

Victims of their own greed

When I read this book excerpt last Sunday, I began by just rolling my eyes. The more I read, the more appalled I became so that, by the end of the excerpt, I was physically ill.

These people found themselves in a bad financial situation because of the stupid, reckless and downright blind choices they made. They were not victims of predatory lenders. They were victims of their own desire to have more, more, more than they could afford. They believed because they wanted to believe, even though, as the subheading states, they should have known better.

If this story was designed to elicit pity, it has had the exact opposite effect on me. Shopping at J.Crew and GapKids, refusing to give up the "little" indulgences like Starbucks coffee while, at the same time, trying to "economize" by skipping $7 lunches or 50 cents on a Metro fare?

They are an insult to people who were so careful about budgeting their money, didn't spend more than they could afford, scrimped, cut corners and really economized and then wound up losing their homes anyway when the economy went down the toilet. My family was almost among those who nearly lost it all even with careful planning. I know all too well that the best laid plans often go awry, but this couple didn't plan at all. They spent, and spent, and spent.

I will say this: At least they found a way to generate income. By writing a book about their pathetic selves they can, at least, make some money to feed their family.

Lynda Morena, St. Petersburg

Students heard boy's screams | June 4, story

The adults failed in middle school assault case

This debacle is an example of slamming the door shut after the horse has left the barn. This is the result of a school environment where the philosophy is "They're all good kids" and there are no restraints or boundaries on behavior.

Who, bottom line, is responsible for children? Adults. Parents, lawyers, administration, community and education leaders are responsible for this incident. From what I read in the newspaper, teachers and principals are not supported in enforcing acceptable behavior. Therefore, our schools cannot discourage bullying, disrespect and criminal acts.

In our society, we have "over-empowered" children and given them opportunities to commit cruel behavior in an environment where they believe they can get away with anything.

If the legal system is going to maintain a distinction between children and adults, it ought to be consistent. The legal reaction is an overreaction, no matter how despicable the crime. I cannot see the point in charging these children as adults. As adults in society, we need to restore order to our schools. These children should be punished, but the adults who allowed this to happen bear the greater blame.

Jill Rommel, Oldsmar

Where were the adults at Walker Middle? June 5, editorial

It's the parents' job

In response to this editorial, I ask, "Where were the adults at these kids' homes?"

Every time I see another article talking about how the teachers/faculty of a school failed to be 100 percent omniscient, I want to make sure that we don't lose sight of where kids are really supposed to learn their life values: at home.

The parents of the accused children were in court praising how good a person their child was. The parents of the victim claim that they didn't know anything was wrong with their child. So instead, we focus on the school staff.

You have written about the numerous cuts that schools in Hillsborough County have been going through. So just to clarify, are you suggesting that as the staff shrinks, the teachers need to not only be teachers, but also parents, role models, police officers, security guards, baby sitters, big brothers/big sisters, counselors, friends? That's a little much to fit into a eight-hour work day.

So for the parents out there: Get involved with your kids. Teach them to live the right way. Don't leave it to the schools to do the job that you should've been ready for when you decided to have kids in the first place.

Jeremiah Scherer, Lutz

From attitude to platitudes | June 5, story

Insights censored

Shame on Springstead principal Susan Duval. I went online and read Jem Lugo's speech in its entirety. I found it to be inspiring and profound well beyond her years. Her insight will serve her well throughout life and would have served others graduates well if they had been allowed to hear her words.

I hope parents will go online, read her speech and then read it to their children. Her depth of understanding of the complexities of life is quite amazing for one so young.

Any student who earns an unweighted 3.98 grade-point average and is going to Harvard should be allowed to write and deliver her own speech — free of censorship from a principal.

Cheryl McCormick, Brooksville

From attitude to platitudes | June 5, story

A familiar story

In May 2003, we witnessed the same thing happen to our daughter, Kerri, valedictorian of Durant High School. She read other speeches, took a few speech lessons and wrote a beautiful speech. Imagine our shock when the speech came home and was red-lined with parts taken out by the assistant principal.

The "unacceptable" items, which to this day still stick out in our memory, were the concept that God was not permitted in her speech (she only wished to acknowledge his blessings on the class), and that thanking her parents and family was unacceptable.

In the end, the exemplary student took the high road, delivered a beautiful, professional speech, and her parents sat wishing they had had more time to, as Jem Lugo stated, make our voice heard and "stick it to The Man" (or in this case vice principal).

As a note of inspiration to Miss Lugo: Our valedictorian daughter went on to graduate from the University of Florida summa cum laude with a bachelor's in engineering and French. And she used her voice all the time to express herself when she felt there were issues to discuss!

Shari Marsh, Valrico

From attitude to platitudes | June 5, story

A formal occasion

I am very pleased that the senior chose to respect her audience and read the revised speech. While I applaud her for wanting to "keep it real" for her classmates, she needs to remember that the commencement is a formal occasion and requires a more formal manner of address.

Similarly, "street slang" is inappropriate in most offices, which the students will do well to remember in their efforts to "get money." Using a formal manner of address need not diminish the message's content or reduce creativity, it just doesn't sound as hip to those not used to speaking standard English.

Lisa Wheeler, Tierra Verde

Swamped home buyers were victims of their own greed 06/06/09 [Last modified: Saturday, June 6, 2009 11:58pm]
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