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Letters to the Editor


Removal of project gags open discussion

We find it absolutely outrageous that the Mesa Elementary School and the Boulder Valley School Board could claim any reasonable substantiation for pulling Miss Thielen's experiment from the school's science fair ("School Removes Science Experiment," Daily Camera, Feb. 14). This is a science issue, not a race issue.

We feel that a science fair is an appropriate place to study all aspects of the world around us, whether the study is physics or social sciences. By disallowing this girl's study, the school is making a profound statement about the validity of social sciences, and undermining whole fields of study.

Veronica Benavedez, the district's elementary education director, and the school board said that students needed a proper forum to understand the complex issues. What better forum than a science fair, a place that fosters an unbiased examination of the topic?

We agree with Dave Thielen that the school and board are teaching children that race is taboo subject. In addition, denying open discussion encourages racism. This decision treats minorities in a special way, thus a racist way. Ending racism means that no one receives special treatment, good or bad, regardless of skin color.

Allowing racism to be discussed only in a "controlled" manner (determined by whom?) is out-and-out censorship. Clearly, Miss Thielen's First Amendment rights have been violated. She is an American citizen, protected by the same Bill of Rights as all of us, and she should be allowed to speak her truth. We believe the school and the school board owe Miss Thielen an apology and expect that her experiment would be displayed in a way that could foster healthy discussion of racism in a school that is 93 percent white and 0 percent black.

Please convey our apologies to Miss Thielen for the adults who have made this thoughtless decision.




Protesters are just getting revved up

Now that the election is over, Bush has been sworn in and is moving forward with his agenda, maybe you think the furor over the election results was all for naught. The Republicans won and now it's their game.

Well, I don't see it that way. This is the time to put democracy to the test, to put pressure on our elected officials to represent the will of the people, and when that fails, to get out into the streets and raise our voices so loud that they can't be ignored. The challenge will be to convince the corporate media to cover this movement, which began on the very first day of George W. Bush's term of office.

I was in Washington, D.C. for the inauguration, and it was empowering to see the number of people there to protest the event. Although it was barely mentioned in the papers, and only shown on TV briefly, there were at least 20,000 (official estimate, according to theWashington Post) people protesting the inauguration. In areas open to the public, where no invitations or tickets were required for entry, protesters outnumbered supporters by a huge margin — despite the freezing rain and lines over a block long to pass security checkpoints. Subways were packed with protesters making their way to the parade route; many Bush supporters were seen arriving in limos. Bleachers reserved for ticket holders were empty; the one stand of bleachers taken over by protesters was packed with hundreds of people. Bush supporters watching from balconies above the parade route threw food down onto the protesters below. The official parade announcer pulled the plug and left before the parade arrived, after being drowned out by chanting protesters.

So, even if you didn't see it on TV, we were there and we're not going away.




Kids want respect, love, not 'teen center'

In reference to your story, "$100K challenge grant offered to start teen center."

Good intentions aside, I still feel this effort to make some sort of "teen center" is ill advised. I remember when I was a teen in a small town in Missouri in 1963. They tried to start a teen center there in the basement of the Civic Center. Of course it didn't work then and it will have little or no value now.

I would suggest we try this paradigm for a change: teens are people too; many teens are "grown up"; try being a family again and treat your teens as peers; go with them, do with them, have a ball with them; include them. That's what they are looking for, not a place to go and be among their peers.

How many elderly people "love" being around each other? Just watch their faces light up when a Girl Scout troop comes to the nursing home. It's the same with so-called teens. Let's stop trying to segregate them into some sort of different Darwinian species. For heaven's sake, just love them and let them know they come first. This is not rocket science.




Was shooter a "law- abiding" citizen?

I hope Mr. William L. Wright, who wrote the Feb. 6 Open Forum letter about how every citizen has the right of self-defense, read the Daily Camera the same day his endorsement of unlimited gun ownership appeared: "Ex-employee kills 4, himself," page 7A.

I'll bet the guy with the AK-47 was described as a "law abiding citizen who wanted to protect himself," just before he opened fire on his fellow employees.




Our kids searching for real meaning

The Daily Camera's Feb. 6 editorial following the death of Brittany Chambers tells parents: "Don't put it off... Talk to your kids about drugs."

It expressed some of the frustration I feel: On one hand, our national failure to solve the drug problem, on the other hand, "... how many people seem to think its up to cops and schools to stop the drug traffic and to educate kids ...".

Recently I saw the movie "Traffic." It is a graphic, near documentary, comprehensive expose of the drug problem, ranging from the personal to transnational aspects. It was a shocking experience. After that, and a long conversation with a friend, some things became clearer.

While a national program aimed at containing drug traffic is a necessity, and education and rehabilitation have their roles, I no longer expect these efforts alone to succeed: The roots of the drug problem, it seemed to us, are far too deep in our culture.

As a society, we seem now comfortable with some major hypocrisies. Alcohol is a mood-altering, addictive drug. Yet it is not only legal; it is openly promoted and a part of many accepted social rituals. We rail against drug use, but accept alcohol. We talk a lot about better parenting, but promote lifestyles that isolate families and kids. Our cultural values say essentially: You can have it now, and pay for it in some indefinite future; but you can have it now! Last year, for the first time, more than half of our households were forced to have both parents work to pay the bills.

After a day's work, many parents are too exhausted to be there for their kids and to parent. We see our kids' addiction to drugs but deny our own addiction to having more things. Accountability for what we do is by and large no longer a matter of personal pride. Our cultural values no longer sustain our own, nor our kids' natural, healthy yearning and need for meaning.Why are we surprised that our kids turn to drugs?




Displaced geese are being hit by cars

A group of geese recently has taken up residence in the parking lot across from the building where I work on Walnut Street, east of 30th Street. I'm assuming that these geese don't have a more desirable place to go, as hanging out on an asphalt parking lot next to a busy street and drinking water from puddles is likely to be less than optimum goose habitat.

Being the bleeding liberal that I am, I can only guess that we've built more houses, industrial parks, and other crap on more desirable goose resting grounds — which has driven the geese to this parking lot. Adding insult are the motorists who don't slow down for the geese that occasionally get in the road. I wonder, are the errands and destinations of these motorists so pressing that they can't take an extra minute to give a little breathing room to wildlife? Geez Boulder, slow down and give a little respect.



February 16, 2001

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