Letters to the Editor

Principal's treatment raises questions about fairness

I have been following the articles concerning the young principal who is highly regarded by her teachers and the parents of her students.

Before retiring, I worked as a specialist in the Forest Grove School District for 27 years under four of the five superintendents preceding Ms. Curtis.

In all those years, I never once witnessed anything as petty, vicious and vindictive as the action taken by the current superintendent.

Particularly since, in Mr. Willard's words, 'this is not one [of the things] that you're required to report' to [state regulators]. (A number of male teachers received DUIIs during my tenure and none were reported.)

I suspect - from what teachers were quoted as saying - the fact their principal supported her teachers last fall 'when they balked at a plan to initiate a new [expensive and controversial] reading curriculum in grades K-4' and the principal's honest admission of her offenses to her supervisor served as the impetus for Ms. Curtis's action.

Apparently it is unacceptable to disagree with her. If you do, she will stoop to any means she can find to ruin one's good name and career no matter how talented and highly regarded you are.

Jessie D. Moran

Forest Grove

Cutting contraception funding hurts the poor

Last month the overwhelmingly white, male, right-wing Republican U.S. House of Representatives voted to completely de-fund Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood is an organization dating back to 1916, when Margaret Sanger opened a clinic to provide birth control options in Brooklyn. This model of care spread and grew into what is now Planned Parenthood.

Nationwide, Planned Parenthood has 84 independent local affiliates and operates more than 800 health centers, serving millions of patients each year. Where do these representatives suggest these patients go for services?

Aside from the fact that most who voted in favor of destroying this institution have never set foot in a Planned Parenthood clinic or would ever personally have a need to access the types of services they offer, this move is a direct attack on basic health services for low income women.

This strategy is clearly aimed to further restrict access to abortion services (regardless of one's opinion on abortion, it is still legal in this country and has been since 1973).

The backers of this policy have no idea of the numerous health care services provided by Planned Parenthood: birth control, treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, education and screening for breast and cervical cancer.

For many low-income women, the clinic may be the only health care provider they have access to all year.

As for saving money by closing Planned Parenthood, nothing could be further from the truth.

By now we should all recognize that preventive health care is far more cost-effective than waiting until a condition has gotten out of hand.

This concept applies to the whole abortion issue as well - if free or low-cost birth control options are not available to the uninsured, the abortion rate will certainly rise, along with the cost of services for children born into poverty. Once again, the rich and powerful are choosing to 'balance the budget' on the backs of the indigent.

Paulina Kriebel

Forest Grove

Forget visas, just give Canadians 'the Sheboygan test'

Sen. Joe Lieberman recently suggested that perhaps Canadians should be required to obtain a visa to visit the United States.

How far we have come in 10 years. Canada and the USA were great friends, sharing the longest unprotected border in the world.

All that was needed to cross the border was a driver's license or similar low level ID. President Bush decided we needed to tighten the border post-9/11 and required a passport in order to cross the border.

Now there is talk of visas, more border guards, more surveillance. Do we feel safer, or are we losing more freedom? As we close off borders, can they ever be reopened? What class of person is closed to travel because they cannot afford a passport?

Is the line from the poem by Robert Frost's 'Mending Wall' accurate - 'Good fences make good neighbors' - or is he correct later, 'Before I built a wall I'd ask to know what I was walling in or walling out.'

Laws like walls have a permanence and rarely go away even when they lose their reason for being, such as Hadrian's Wall or the Great Wall of China. However, they stand in mute testimony to a loss of trust in our neighbors.

Perhaps all we need is a good 'Shiboleth.' At the border going to Canada one might be asked, 'Friend or Foe, can you say Saskatchewan or who won the 1962 Stanley Cup, or say Mississauga or who was John Diefenbaker?'

When you come to the U.S. border you might be asked to pronounce Sheboygan or Massachusetts or Poughkeepsie, who won the 1962 World Series or say Punxsutawney Phil.

So, Sen. Lieberman, how would these visas make anyone safer? What would be the cost of this piece of paper? How many tourists would just stay home? Once again, we have a law that swats the innocent while doing nothing to stop the criminal who seeks to do harm. So I ask, what are we willing to give up to be safe and is it worth becoming more insular or leaving the world stage?

Wayne Brooks

Forest Grove

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