News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 2, 2013

READERS' FORUM: Nov. 3, 2013

The Tribune-Star

---- — Another look at school security

It’s at once pathetic and amazing what passes for increased security in the Vigo County School Corp. As a parent, I can’t help my daughter carry cupcakes to her kindergarten class. The kindly school receptionist informs me that this is against the school security doctrine.

My daughter, I’m to understand, is much safer if she either precariously handles the cupcakes herself or has the teacher leave the classroom to come get them. Apparently, many a violent lunatic will stop at the office to check in with cupcakes before he goes on a rampage. I can only guess what would have happened if I’d disobeyed her instructions (or failed to stop at the office at all) and sprinted down the hall, icing displaced with every step.

Still, the security policy has certainly evolved from last year, when preschool parents weren’t allowed in the lobby at another Vigo County location. After the Sandy Hook shooting, preschool parents were told that their children were safer if they waited outside for the teacher to retrieve them. Imagine my surprise the day my father took my daughter to preschool and was able to walk right into the sacrosanct lobby. It can be left to conjecture how he was able to do this without being accosted, but I suspect it had something to do with his business suit. (People who harm children don’t wear business suits.)

Does anyone feel that their child is safer with these well-meaning but impotent measures toward security? Does no one else fear that this policy has marginalized parents more than it has increased safety?

I’m in agreement that parents should be required to present ID, undergo background checks and the like. But aren’t we kidding ourselves to think this is keeping our children safer? More importantly, isn’t this breaking down the relationship that parents have with teachers and the school administration? Unless I am able to commit to being a classroom aide, I will never get a casual glance into my daughter’s classroom. (Such as the one a 30-second cupcake drop-off would provide.) I will never see how her teacher treats students and manages her classroom except on the approved (and well-rehearsed) open house days and parent-teacher conferences.

The awful reality is that there are people in the world who do debauched, reproachable things to children. Even the best preventive measures will never rid the world of this fact. New security measures should be implemented only when they provide a meaningful benefit and when they are weighed carefully against the community fragmentation that has come as collateral.

— Cassidy McFarling

Terre Haute

Great support for League march

On Aug. 26, 2013, in celebration of the 93rd anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, the League of Women Voters of Vigo County co-sponsored the Women’s Equality Day March. We would like to thank all the citizens who participated in the march.

The League would like to thank the members of the steering committee; Bionca Gambill, Ellen Reeves, Crystal Reynolds, Marsha Miller, Kim Norris, Kasey Blundell, Becky Buse and Stacey Rozmin. These ladies worked tirelessly in the planning of the march.

Indiana State University President Dan Bradley and Cheri Bradley welcomed all the marchers to the ISU campus. We thank them for hosting the event. We are also grateful to the co-sponsorship of the following ISU departments; Center for Community Engagement, Cunningham Memorial Library, Office of Diversity, The Department of Women’s Studies and The College of Nursing, Health and Human Services.

We would also like to thank the following co-sponsors: AAUW of the Wabash Valley, Boo’s Crossroads Cafe, Chinese School of the Wabash Valley, DeBaun Funeral Home, Embroidery Express, Erin’s Pit Stop, Frey Law Firm, Furniture Gallery, IBEW Local 725, Ivy Tech Community College, Jeff Lorick, Jeff’s Family Hair Care, Margaret Banker Fund-Wabash Valley Central Labor Council, Nellie Simbol, Girls Scouts of Central Indiana, John Kesler II Attorney-at-Law, Lucia Bridals, Ritter’s Custard, River Wools, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Vigo County School Corporation, Walmart South, and the Taxpayer’s Association of Vigo County.

Opening words and inspirational speeches were given by the following individuals; Mayor Duke Bennett, Ann Chirhart, Valerie Hart-Craig, Leah Allman, Cheri Bradley and Anne Elise Parks.

The League was delighted to have this year the Terre Haute Children’s Choir and the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana. The Children’s Choir sang beautifully for everyone before the march. The Girl Scouts, with flags held high, led the marchers from Eighth and Chestnut to the Condit House, the residence of President and Mrs. Bradley.

At the end of the event yellow roses were given to individuals for their many years of continuous voting. Roses were also given to first-time voters. We would like to thank Bob Brown, manager of Kroger North, for the donation of the beautiful yellow roses and for Kroger’s co-sponsorship.

It is our hope that the Women’s Equality Day March will inspire more people to take advantage of their right to vote. By doing so it will show that the Suffragettes’ hardships, sacrifice and endless work were not in vain. Please vote in every election. Your vote can make a difference.

— Carolyn Callecod, president

Women Voters of Vigo County

Terre Haute School activities creating a buzz

The 2013-2014 school year is a bee hive of excitement at Honey Creek Middle School.

Teachers, staff, student leaders and families are continuing to make our school the best we can for all students. We are implementing guidance lessons that address bullying, developing a peer program between grade level students and will continue to focus on the development of student academic and social emotional growth.

A bullying program that was developed by the State of Indiana is being implemented across the school districts. At Honey Creek, the counselor has been able to speak to every advisory/enrichment class this fall. She has been able to teach about the different types of bullying and how students are a beneficial piece to help stop bullying. With the use of Power Point presentations and videos, reaching the students has been very successful for us this year.

The teachers and staff also are continuing the Second Steps program with our students. This program addresses the social and emotional needs that help students be successful at school and life. These lessons will continue during the school year for our students.

Another very important group of students we want to recognize is our Bee Keepers. These students are current eighth-graders who want to help mentor and be leaders for our school. They are here to help our sixth-grade students be successful and become acclimated to Honey Creek. Each Bee Keeper has been assigned seven to 10 students from the sixth grade this year.

Before school started, the Bee Keepers met with their students and did ice-breaker activities to help take away some of our sixth-graders’ anxieties about being at a new school. They also have yellow shirts that help identify them to our sixth-grade students if they need assistance. The Bee Keepers meet with their sixth-grade groups once a month to find out how they are doing and to build a relationship with them. The Bee Keepers put encouraging notes on the sixth-grade lockers and make contact with them throughout the school day.

The Backpack program is also continuing this school year for students in need. We have a very generous HCMS family that helps raise money for this program. The Student Council and our boys tennis team held fundraisers that will help fund a portion of the program during this school year. As the year progresses, certain groups will help raise funds for programs that help address the needs of our students.      

We want to thank of the School Board, central administration and Covered Bridge for keeping us at the forefront of educational and behavioral development for our students. We are excited to have such a wonderful start to our school year. The support of our fantastic teachers, staff and families at Honey Creek will continue to help us be a great middle school in Vigo County.

— Michael Cox, principal

Honey Creek Middle School

Both parties must share blame

Where does either party get the integrity to make a political issue of a scandal? Before you turn the scandal into a political ad about who’s the better or the more honest, you might want to check your party’s history.

The GOP may claim to be the morals party, but the information said otherwise as the GOP had the most cases of prostitution, hypocrisy, inappropriate conduct with minors, affairs with married women, out-of-wedlock children and sex scandal coverups. The Dems have an abuse-of-power problem with staff and a problem with women telling them “no” that shows with their having more cases of sex with staff members, sexual harassment and assault.

Both parties have had equal cases of sex with a minors and both parties are separated by one in cases of adultery. Remember, both parties are guilty of everything on this list, which is why I question the hypocrisy. I thought it should be a tie with the number of cases much higher.

Political retaliation using the IRS has been done before against candidates or a candidate’s staff member. You have bugging the other party’s headquarters along with improper political donations for secret slush funds or sleepovers in the White House. Both parties’ testimony on the hill has given us the White House office recordings and senior officials who have refused to testify and then retire and fade from public view. Special prosecutors have been fired because of a disagreement in an investigation. Soldiers have been left behind on the battlefield, and U.S. citizens have been left unguarded on foreign soil.

Did the Patriot Act open the door to the NSA spying since the basics of the act allow federal and state law enforcement to check telephone calls and emails along with health and financial records?

With the politicians’ hands reaching farther into are lives, the worst is still to come. How much protection should the government provide? Is infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens acceptable to protect other citizens from themselves?

Granted, sometimes it is more of an inconvenience than a civil rights infringement, but will it stop there? Will the word optional be replaced with mandatory? Is there an attack on the financial freedoms of citizens hidden in the tax code or on Wall Street where gas price is manipulated to boost profits while taking money away from us? How far will all this go?

— Mike Travelstead

Terre Haute

Two rockers stolen from front porch

In June of this year, Theresa, 75, of Terre Haute, was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. She almost died and was on life support for three weeks. Her kidneys shut down and she had to be put on dialysis. After several weeks in rehab she was allowed to return home but now requires 24-hour care and dialysis three days a week.

One of the things Theresa loves to do is sit on her front porch in one of her rocking chairs. It is an  important part of her rehab and physical therapy and one of the few joys she has in life. It gives her a chance to get some fresh air and connect with her friends and neighbors.

On Saturday morning, Oct. 12, this one joy, this opportunity to get much-needed exercise and therapy, this chance to be part of her community, was ripped  from her when her two rocking chairs were stolen from her front porch.

The theft was discovered while taking her to dialysis at 5:30 in the morning. Being a person on a fixed income with limited resources and high medical bills, she cannot just go out and buy another chair.

My hope and prayer is that the person who stole the rocking chairs needs them and enjoys them as much as Theresa did.

— John Fowler

Terre Haute