GPA 1.22 … Honk if I need an education | Feb. 18
Parent merits praise for strong message
I am astounded that the Department of Children and Families found it necessary to investigate James Mond and his family because his mother made him wear a sign for a few hours trying to make him realize the importance of an education.
The comments from the "experts" are pretty comical as well. Arlinda Amos says, "This falls within the category of emotional abuse. It's shame, embarrassment and humiliation and a lifelong memory for him." Really? With no education, should he turn to crime and end up in prison, exactly what kind of memories will that make for him? Dr. Peter Gorski says, "It's unfortunate strategy, and of course it's ineffective." Sad that it took media coverage for his school to get the student enrolled in after-school tutoring, but that sounds like some "effectiveness" did indeed come out of this.
Living in a neighborhood full of thugs and drug dealers, all of whom I am sure are school dropouts, I only wish their parents had cared enough to do something.
Kandi Byrd, Tampa
Humiliation isn't required
Since when can a parent humiliate and demean her minor child on our city streets without consequences? A mother of six says that, although her son has never been tested for learning disabilities, he must be punished for failing to pass the FCAT by wearing a sign around his neck and standing in traffic for up to four hours.
In Colonial America there was a device to punish and humiliate people in the town square called the pillory. Schoolchildren were also punished if they could not keep up with classmates by wearing a dunce cap in the corner of the room.
Thankfully, the pillory is no longer an option, or in the near future we might see children with their head and hands inserted through a board with a sign that says, "I failed my FCAT" or "I forgot my homework."
Forcing this young man to participate in his own public humiliation does not belong in a society that prides itself on the humane and compassionate treatment of our children.
Mimi Bryan, Tampa
GPA 1.22 … Honk if I need an education Feb. 18
A different approach
If we can't yell, spank or discipline our children so they can be good contributors in society, how are we supposed to raise them? I applaud this mother who took a different approach in trying to reach her child.
Many children today are rude, disrespectful and irresponsible. The few parents in society who are trying to raise good kids are always told not to spank, yell or discipline because "your child will outgrow it."
Most parents are trying to do the best they can to get through to their children. In a modern age, we have to try different parenting methods in hopes of getting through to the child.
Rachel Reed, Tampa
A mother who cares
God bless the mother who let her son have a little embarrassment. We wouldn't need all these behavioral experts if we had more mothers who cared that much.
Patricia Mudrey, Clearwater
Founders' ideas distorted
Thomas Paine wrote Agrarian Justice. Samuel Adams denounced superfluous wealth. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were among those who returned from Europe disgusted by the elite's accumulation of wealth at the expense of the commons.
Ben Franklin wrote that extraordinary wealth is the creature of public convention and a direct result of public law; and the public, by law, has the right to dispose of it. These men were not the antitax, antigovernment creatures some would have us believe.
When the neocons of our generation invoke the Constitution and the founders to support conservative views, they could not be further off-base. In fact, the neocons would be considered Tories in the late 1770s, not patriots.
This is not to say there should be no debate on taxation, but the debate should be about equitable and shared sacrifice. The elite among us should stop hiding behind the "job creator" label; particularly when the jobs they are creating are in China and Indonesia. Since the 1980s the middle class, the true driver of the economy, has borne an inequitable share of the burden.
Our generation, through misguided economic policy, has taken a 30-year vacation from our responsibilities as Americans — the responsibility of shared sacrifice that the founders of our country intended. It is past time that we view ourselves as a society again instead of the "get what's mine" culture we are all complicit in creating.
James Green, Lithia
People have spoken
Wisconsin was a state President Barack Obama carried easily in 2008, and yet the Wisconsin voters rebelled against the Democratic Congress in the 2010 midterm elections, electing both a state Legislature controlled by Republicans and a Republican governor, Scott Walker.
Walker ran on a platform that included curtailing union collective bargaining rights and letting government-employed union members vote every year on the issue of continued union membership. These issues were part of his campaign, and the voters of Wisconsin agreed with him and elected him governor. So in effect, the protests are really against democracy and majority rule.
So now we have a Republican Legislature and a Republican governor elected fairly by Wisconsin voters trying to pass legislation vehemently opposed by the other side, which is powerless to stop it. Kind of reminds you of the health care law, doesn't it?
Jeff Reckson, St. Petersburg
Wisconsin's governor and Legislature are highlighting a dangerous trend which, unfortunately, is also taking place at the national level, as Republicans use the Trojan horse of budget problems to push their own political and lifestyle agendas.
The rights of employees to bargain, the right of women to own their own bodies, the rights of pregnant women and poor children to have nutritious meals and medical care, and the rights of the unemployed and weakest among us to even a subsistence level are under attack.
The voters who elected these folks — including those who are currently represented by the Republican majority in the nation and this state — need to speak out: This is not what we sent you to Washington or Tallahassee to do. Fiscal prudence is one thing; undoing our society is another.
Stephen Phillipe, St. Petersburg
Supporters of high-speed rail should read about Boston's "Big Dig." It was projected to cost $5 billion and take about five years to complete. It has taken 20 years-plus and the reported cost is now $22 billion. I'm sure many fat cats laughed all the way to the bank.
Given Florida's track record — for example the $80 million Tampa courthouse that now needs $30 million in renovations — it is clear that no one is watching the store.
Don Chevit, Largo
A self-made man, a landmark store | Feb. 18
In 1972 I moved to Florida, newly married to a husband who insisted all major purchases would be his decision.
His first purchase was a refrigerator. He went to "Jersey" Jim's. When I arrived home to our avocado green and orange kitchen, I was surprised to find a used pink fridge. I begged to have it switched for a white one. I called Jim and he calmed me down, agreeing to trade it in.
The second refrigerator arrived, a newer side-by-side style, but it was so small it couldn't handle a week's worth of frozen food. My next call to Jim was handled with "Jersey" wit, and he said: "As long as you keep trading up, I'll keep taking them back!"
We made our last swap and I loved my new refrigerator. We were customers for over a decade before moving. And the refrigerator lasted longer than the marriage.
Dolly Tickell, Gulfport