My letter is about the county school district business manager and allegations of embezzlement. My opinion is disbelief. My concern is for the families involved not by choice. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of them.
As an older citizen, it seems unreal that we have so much abuse of trust and authority from the White House down to local schools and community. I am reminded of Boy and Girl Scout creeds, some of which follow:
I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, respect others and authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place for all.
E.M. “Ed” Herring
Reorganization urged over charter schools’ proposal
The charter schools debate has proven once again how strong the current educational system is. While I have ambivalent feelings about the value of charter schools in a rural state like Mississippi with its racial history, there is no doubt that the system has issues that need to be addressed. My suggestion is that we use our energy fighting a battle that promises more lasting benefits to the entire educational system – reorganization of our school districts.
In 2010, then-Gov. Haley Barbour convened a Commission on Mississippi Educational Structure. I was pleased that Aubrey Patterson, a respected businessman, agreed to chair the commission. The commission’s report was released in September 2010. The four recommendations were clear and addressed generally accepted concerns. No action has been taken on the report. This article is my suggestion about how to take action on the report using existing educational resources.
I recommend that Regional Education Centers be organized around the existing Community College System. The centers would provide:
• Procurement of certain items for all school districts in the region and consolidation of support services and back-office operations.
• Supervision of school districts placed in conservatorship.
• Management of districts that are dissolved based on a formula.
• In-service training support for the Mississippi Department of Education.
• Centers for special needs students whose numbers limit the ability of districts to provide services.
• A clearer path for the successful transition of students from school to higher education and/or work.
These recommendations are not detailed. Careful study is needed and a variety of turf battles will inevitably need to be fought. Current costs related to projected costs will be difficult to calculate. It is not, however, difficult to envision the possibilities that such a system would provide. Our existing practices are simply producing unacceptable results for our children and for the tax payers of the state. We are supporting a bureaucracy that has become increasingly top heavy and self-serving and is incapable of reforming itself. Our children deserve better.
I would hope that we have the courage to build on the Commission’s report and make it more than a political exercise.
Extraordinary courtesy helped traveling family
On Sunday, April 1, my family and I were headed to Louisiana. We were taking our son, who has multiple sclerosis and is wheelchair bound, on a fishing trip. We were about 15 miles south of Tupelo when our van broke down. Here we were stranded on the side of the road without much hope of getting any help, because of it being Sunday. I called 811 and the operator gave me a number. As a result of calling the number, Justin Johnson, who is the owner of Auto Radiator and Towing Service in Tupelo, came to our rescue. He not only towed the van in, but worked nonstop for nine hours to repair the van and get us back on the road. My family would like the people of Tupelo and surrounding areas to know that you have a jewel in your presence. Justin went beyond the call of duty to help us out.
We will always be grateful to Justin and his family for their kindness and assistance. As the saying goes, “Every cloud has a silver lining,” and Justin certainly was ours.
Steve and Judy Roberts and family
Taunting animals must be discouraged
As if it’s not unjust enough to cram wild animals into zoo cages and force them to live their entire lives at the whims and wills of their keepers, the latest trend is for parents to dangle their toddlers in front of tigers and bears and videotape the distraught animal “attacking” the child through the glass. What kind of parent teaches his or her children that taunting, teasing and tormenting animals is funny?
Most people are coming to agree that sentencing animals to life behind bars is ethically indefensible. Zoos are adding trains, picnic areas, sky-rides and water attractions to entice visitors to come through the gates. Parents who are working to raise kids who are respectful and kind are rightfully saying “no” to zoo outings. As my 10-year-old niece aptly put it, “I don’t like being sent to my room, so I don’t think animals like being in one place all day long either.”
Taunting caged animals may be one of the ugliest kinds of bullying. Parents and grandparents should expect and demand zero tolerance for bullying within the family – not be the ones instigating it.