Districts told to toe line | Aug. 13
Accountability for thee, not me
Wednesday, for the first time since 2002, none of my three daughters will be attending a public K-12 Florida school, and my heart goes out to the fine teachers, administrators and students who still must kowtow to the whims of our state Board of Education. Schools that don't comply with the "required instruction" may face consequences from Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, whose wife founded a charter school in Pasco County. According to Corcoran, "Accountability works." But it doesn't apply to charter schools.
According to Florida Board of Education Chairman Andy Tuck, "School districts have a responsibility to provide the required instruction as outlined in the law." Yet the law applies neither to charter schools nor private schools where our tax dollars are going through "Opportunity Scholarships." "I intend to exercise all avenues afforded to me through Florida statutes and rules to investigate and act," Corcoran says — except when it comes to any school other than our traditional public schools. The sound of the hypocrisy is deafening. All schools that receive public dollars should be accountable to the same rules.
Gregory Premer, St. Pete Beach
First day of school
A grandmother's prayer
On Monday, my wonderful granddaughter, who is a first-grade teacher, and my precious 8-year-old great-grandson went back to school. All during the day I was thinking of them, and I would say a prayer. It is a very sad time in America. I am not against people having guns. I know it is a right to bear arms, but assault rifles? Why would anyone in America need an assault rifle? Are we at war within our own country? I hope not! At the time the Second Amendment was ratified, Americans needed to hunt for food for survival and to protect themselves from marauders. So many innocent people in America just want to live a peaceful life in this beautiful country. They need protection. Can we finally just ban all assault rifles?
Ruth Pierson, Hudson
Senate bill would require FBI to regulate body armor sales | Aug. 12
And body armor for all ...
I've got it! Here's an idea — no need to deprive anyone of access to the AR-15. Rather, open factories to manufacture body armor in all sizes for the public's use at venues such as schools, churches, concert halls, arenas, etc. The patron would be able to rent the bullet-proof helmet and vests at the entrance and turn the equipment back in upon exiting. This would protect the lucrative gun industry and at the same time create many much-needed manufacturing jobs. The product could even proudly carry the "Made in the USA" label! It would be a win-win.
Jeanne Marchand, St. Petersburg
One nation under fire | Aug. 5
Blame the criminal
When are we going to stop making excuses for people who commit heinous crimes? I'm tired of hearing people say that crimes were "in response to," or "because of." We have free will, and no one can force us to give in to our worst, base desires. We either respond in a civil manner or we lash out in violent ways. Our choice, our decision. It's a cop-out to make a criminal the victim of society.
Marilyn Messina, Tampa