Oct. 20 Letters from our readers


Take a stand against bullies and never give up

Hi, I'm Andie Proskus, and I am both physically and learning disabled. I've been in special education classes most of my life, where I was made fun of some, but the bullying started once my physical disability caused me to have a harder time with my mobility.

My sophomore year at Beaverton High School, I had to have spinal surgery to straighten my back - I have myopathy, a muscle weakening disorder that caused it, so I couldn't hold my back up. When I came back to school, I had to use a walker and wear a brace to keep my spine from moving and hold my chin in place. This is when the bullying and harassment started.

Other students and teachers would put me down, telling me I shouldn't ask for help carrying my belongings to classes, I shouldn't wear the shoes that were the ones I could get on post surgery, and that I should walk faster to class (I could not because after the surgery my feet started to draw inwards making it hard to walk). It took talking to the principal multiple times to get the harassment to slow down.

After the school harassment settled down, I dealt with harassment on Facebook. I had made a Facebook page so others with disabilities had a place to talk to others going through the same thing and keep my friends posted about what was going on with me.

Many people have never even heard of myopathy. I hadn't before I was affected by it. I think this is one of the reasons people who didn't know me started saying I was lying about my disability. People started putting hateful comments on my page and made hate pages against me. There were even threats against me and my family. All the harassment at school and on the Internet made me feel very alone. It made me see how some kids could commit suicide.

There were a couple things that helped - my friends and my choir. Both of these were a safe haven. I graduated last June from Beaverton and am now in a community transition program a couple times a week. I volunteer in the choir room at Beaverton, helping out and singing with everyone in three choirs.

If you are being bullied or harassed, I hope you will take a stand - tell people until someone listens and takes action. Also, hold the people and things you care about most close to you. Never give up! And never let them take your smile.

I try and always smile no matter what is going on, it makes me feel better and gives inspiration to those who see me and see that I'm still smiling through everything.


Garden Home

There's never a wrong time to invest in our schools

Ballots arriving soon provide an opportunity for the citizens of Beaverton to fund the future.

A vote for the Beaverton School District's Local Option Levy 34-193 secures more teachers, more school days and more educated children.

Sure the nation and the state are struggling economically, and yes budgets need to be respected, but there is never a wrong time to invest in our schools.

Levy 34-193 will raise $14 million solely for the Beaverton School District. Not a dime will go to Salem or Washington.

Class sizes are growing, fewer teachers are returning and test scores are at risk. Has there ever been a more critical time to fund education?

Please save 180 teachers' jobs, please preserve three weeks of classes and please support our schools. Join me, and vote 'yes' on the Beaverton School District's Local Option Levy 34-193.



Witt will negotiate results in Congress

Come Nov. 8, Democrats of the 1st Congressional District have a decision to make. From the contenders to send to Congress, we could choose a lawyer to replace an ineffective lawyer. Presently, over half of the Senate and more than one-third of the House have law degrees. What do we have: a dysfunctional Congress, acting more like litigators than legislators.

Brad Witt has proven that he's an able negotiator - he represents working men and women as an union negotiator. As a legislator, Witt has proven he can negotiate for results in our Legislature.

I've testified on veterans' issues at Oregon's legislative hearings where Witt served as co-chairman. Witt has consistently supported veterans' issues, such as hiring preference for Oregon public service positions and for waiver of tuition at Oregon universities and colleges for families of service members killed or 100 percent disabled in the line of duty.



Don't punish kids for state's failure

We are voting 'yes' for Beaverton School District's Local Option Levy 34-193.

As parents of two students in the Beaverton School District, we've seen first-hand teachers who are challenged by larger-than-ever class sizes. We've taken time off from work for furlough days that cut into valuable instructional time. And we're constantly holding fundraisers to provide services that previous generations received for free.

The district faces cuts of $24 million to $37 million next year, so the levy does not fix the problem, but it does reduce the impact of those cuts. Without it, the district will have little choice but to increase class sizes, lay off teachers, cut school days and end many extracurricular activities like art, music and PE - seriously impacting the quality of our children's education and lives.

Don't punish children because Salem can't create a stable funding solution for our schools. Join us in voting 'yes' for Beaverton schools this November.


Garden Home

Support school levy to keep funding here

Every year, we as Beaverton property owners faithfully pay part of our real estate taxes for K-12 education. But instead of those funds staying in the local community, they go to Salem to be distributed across the state. Only some of that money comes back to Beaverton, even though local schools have experienced greater - in many cases, significantly greater - population growth than other districts.

This funding shortfall has only worsened with the economic downturn. By necessity, class sizes in Beaverton have swelled, academic programs have been cut and quality staff members have been lost.

Thankfully, we have a way to take some control of what has been uncontrollable. With the Beaverton School District's five-year local option levy, all the money raised would stay in Beaverton.

Yes, it would cost us more, but we would get back precious stability. Our kids need it, and our whole community would benefit when schools can once again focus on what they do best instead of constantly fearing the budget ax.

Remember that old movie where people get so mad at the situation they open their windows and shout? That would be one response to current school funding. Here's a better idea: vote 'yes' for Local Option Levy Measure 34-193.