Catholic school rejects gays' child | May 13
School's ugly act against a child
A famous biblical quotation reads, "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God" (Luke 18:16). Little children, that is, who are not besmirched by association with loving lesbian mothers?
How dismaying to read that a Roman Catholic school in Massachusetts has refused to enroll an 8-year-old son of a gay couple. One is appalled at the ugly mean-mindedness of any institution that projects its disapproval of parents onto an innocent child.
Come to think of it, children play a very minor part in the church's affairs. The flaming publicity surrounding the abuse of little boys and girls by priests has, for the Vatican, always centered on the harm done to the church — to the church's image, we should say. All the pious words of Pope Benedict XVI concerning "sins" and "justice" point to the church as victim.
Has the great founder of the church changed his mind about representatives of "the kingdom of God"?
Abigail Ann Martin, Brandon
Hardly the Christian way
The Bible states that "the son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity." Although I do not feel that gay parents are living in sin, I respect the right of others to have differing opinions.
I am amazed, however, to read that a Roman Catholic school has denied admission of a child on the basis of his having lesbian parents. What "sin" has this child done? What harm could he do to other children?
Religions of all faiths teach belief in and love of God, morality and ethics. I find no Christianity or humanity in the action of this Roman Catholic school.
Renee G. Salzer, Seminole
Teachers despair at pay cut plan | May 14
Everyone has to make
a sacrifice in tight times
As a former Pinellas County teacher, I have strong feelings about whether IB teachers should be paid more than other teachers. My feeling is this: Every teaching job comes with its challenges. For some, it is essays to grade at home at night; for others, it is long afterschool activities; and for others, it is severe behavioral problems throughout the day.
I fell into the third category as a teacher at an alternative school for students reassigned for drug, alcohol and/or criminal infractions. Needless to say, they were not stellar students to begin with, and they didn't want to be at my school. Every day was literally a threat to my safety and was the greatest challenge imaginable to my teaching skills. I did not receive extra pay.
Drama, choral and band teachers put in hundreds of extra hours preparing for performances. Yearbook and newspaper sponsors stay for hours after school to meet deadline. All teachers have taken on an extra class at no extra pay. The list goes on.
In short, Julie Janssen's decision is both logical and equitable. Everyone in the district is being asked to make sacrifices in these difficult times. No teacher should be exempt.
Autumn Slaughter, Tampa
Penny wise, pound foolish
Our Pinellas County School District is rightly proud of its high school magnet programs, and it is the teachers in these programs who have given students access to tremendous knowledge, skills and confidence to succeed.
It is neither wise nor just to these teachers to cut their academic coaching salaries. It would be "penny wise and pound foolish."
These programs have brought strong support for our Pinellas schools and should be sustained.
Martha Rudy Wallace, Pinellas County School Board, 1972-80, St. Petersburg
Don't break what works
We are the parents of a freshman at Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School. Does the Pinellas County School Board really wish to disable all four of the high school magnet programs? We understand that our district is in financial distress, but the announcement that the district will no longer fund supplements for magnet high schools is a flawed and reckless decision. Over time, this decision will erode the very programs that put Pinellas County schools on the map. Why break what is working?
The rigorous standards set and maintained by the magnet teachers, with their endless hours of academic coaching, mentoring, rehearsals and performances is what has made this outstanding record possible. These teachers work twice or more the hours of the average high school teacher. If the magnet programs are expected to continue to produce outstanding results, as they have for years, the teachers deserve the supplement.
At the very least, the board could reduce the supplement instead of cutting it completely.
Michelle Varley-Crosby and Gary Crosby, St. Petersburg
For life prisoners, hope | May 18
Flawed judicial thinking
Justice Clarence Thomas, in writing for the dissenters in the case disallowing life without parole for some young offenders, said the prevalence of such laws showed a widespread consensus in favor of that punishment.
If one didn't know any better, one would have to wonder if Thomas actually has a law degree. A "consensus in favor" of something does not make it right or fair. Using Thomas' logic, it must have been okay when the consensus in the 1950s in the South forced African-Americans to ride in the back of buses. Most people with any knowledge of law would not make such a ridiculous and illogical argument.
George Petrick, Riverview
Supreme Court nominee
Being single is a plus
Much has been made of the fact the Elena Kagan is unmarried and seemingly without a significant other. While she would not be the only single justice on the high court, it has become a galvanizing issue and will clearly factor into her confirmation.
But really does her marital status matter? The answer is yes, but for a different reason than most would think. Kagan made a conscious choice that career was her sole priority. As a result, we can expect that she will devote a disproportionate amount of time and work to cases before her, if confirmed, far more than those justices saddled with the demands of spouses and children. So don't penalize Kagan for remaining single.
Charles R. Gallagher III, St. Petersburg