Letters to the editor for March 8, 2013

Safety in the schools

To the Editor:

I wanted to take a moment to thank Jo Roberts, one of two moms from Coon Rapids Middle School who brought awareness to a serious safety issue which was revealed following the “rumor of a threat” (not a credible threat) that exposed some pretty serious holes in our district’s policies and procedures for how best to communicate with parents in such a situation.

Through the effort of these two mothers, they were able to demand a community meeting, although it took six months to get that. Way too long in my opinion when we’re dealing with student safety.

The meeting was scheduled so this issue could be properly addressed, explained and the district could assess its actions and make necessary changes to improve.

I went as a parent of a student in one of the schools named in that “rumor” and assumed that there were policies and procedures already in place.

While there are several, very generic policies, there seems to be a lack cohesion, as well as consistency, which I found very unsettling.

In this day post-Columbine, and now we have Sandy Hook the need for “universal, districtwide, policies and procedures” is essential.

They no longer have the luxury of just dismissing things as “not a threat” without informing parents, (who should be the ones to make that kind of decision for their children.) Who would have thought someone would go into an elementary school and commit a mass shooting, not many of us, until Sandy Hook.

So aside from learning that threats or rumors of threats are a fairly common occurrence according to the district’s director of communications, there is the added burden of lightning fast rumor dissemination thanks to social media, something the board gave the impression that they are struggling to keep up with.

I can understand that feeling, as a parent, I have felt it often. However, I don’t just say, “Oh well, I’m doing the best I can with what I know.” I educate myself.

I have made a point of learning about all these social media sites, learning text language and even asking other kids about tricks and ways kids get around certain restrictions.

The board offered an eight-step procedure for informing students, staff and parents about threats, or rumors of threats.

As a gentleman pointed out, with rumors and threats flying around at the speed of light this procedure and its eight steps would take a day or better to implement, that is far too long.

We have to be able to disseminate information at faster rate than we are now, taking advantage of the very same technology that those making such threats and rumors are using.

Another serious concern that came out in the course of discussion and one that requires not only public awareness but immediate attention is the fact that the district currently has no method in place to inform non-English speaking households of a safety concern.

Even more concerning was the answer given when asked what they were doing to remedy that? The answer “We’ll we’re talking about that.”

Superintendent Carlson got rather testy when I said I felt that was unacceptable, the fact that we have students and families being left completely in the dark because “we lack the ability to communicate a safety concern to them.”

He said “You know we have over languages 80 spoken here, we can’t learn all those, we’re working on five and even that is a lot.”

Perhaps I should have framed the question, “If we can’t communicate to them, then we also can’t understand what they may be communicating…what if a credible threat originated in a language we don’t understand?”

Is it acceptable for the district to claim after a tragedy “Sorry, we didn’t know it was a threat we didn’t the language?”

They have a duty to protect all the kids in their care, to inform parents in a timely and uniform fashion of anything that could potentially effect their childs safety and claiming “they’re talking about it” isn’t enough.

I do think now that it’s out, and the district did finally admit they would likely do things differently with regard to informing parents, students and staff at other schools depending on proximity than they did in September there is progress.

That it’s a step in the right direction, but only a step…there is a long way to go, both in policy and in public confidence.

Melissa Thompson
Parent/AH School District
Coon Rapids

A boost for pro-life cause

To the Editor:

“Salon” staff writer and militant feminist Mary Elizabeth Williams did the pro-life cause a huge favor — she revealed the ugly truth of the pro-abortion movement in her Jan. 23 article “So what if abortion ends life?”

For those of you who have fallen for the euphemisms of “choice” and “reproductive freedom,” read on.

Ms. Williams acknowledges the schizophrenic views of her friends who, on the one hand, describe an abortion as “scraping out a bunch of cells” and then later joyfully describe another pregnancy as “the baby.”

She tells of women who “have been relieved at their abortions and grieved over their miscarriages.”

Williams chides: “Fetuses aren’t selective like that. They don’t qualify as human life only if they’re intended to be born.”

Yes, she actually admits that fetuses at any stage are human.

But now for her grim reality — “Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal.” Did you hear that, Thomas Jefferson?

Ms. Williams concludes her article by saying, “And I would put the life of a mother over the life of a fetus every single time — even if I still need to acknowledge my conviction that the fetus is indeed a life. A life worth sacrificing.”

January 2013 marked 40 years since Roe versus Wade. The result? Fifty five million babies have been sacrificed on the altar of abortion.

As Dr. D. James Kennedy stated, “If you are pro-choice, get down on your knees and thank God that your mother wasn’t.”

Barb Anderson
Champlin

Breaking the rules

To the Editor:

It seems as though breaking rules and being punished all depends on who you are and who you know.

A while back, a District 15 school board member, elected by the public, was removed from the school board for plagiarism, in spite of the fact that the human resources director said he was removed for lying about the fact of plagiarism.

Now we have another board member who plagiarized an article. The HR director says this was a parable she wrote about and it was not necessary to cite the author.

This board member is still lying about her plagiarism. Ms. Kelly admits she went on the web to find the story. A plagiarism check showed that 67 percent of the article was plagiarized.

She feels this is a vendetta against her because of her attacks on Mr. Rustad.  Her supporters in the attack insisted that, regardless of cost, he must be removed because he plagiarized.

Now it appears that it’s OK to steal someone else’s thoughts and print them under your name if it happened in 2011 instead of 2013.

If Mr. Rustad robbed a bank in 2012 and Ms. Kelly robbed a bank in 2011, does he get arrested and she goes free? According to her backers she does.

The standard was set when Mr. Rustad was removed. It needs to be applied to Ms. Kelly as well.

The HR director and three other board members want to give her a “Get Out of Jail Free” card (from the game Monopoly).

This is not a vendetta. She committed the “crime,” she should do the time.

Maureen Ness
St. Francis

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