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Letters to the editor

Benefiting the many over the few

Sen. David Long visited one the Fort Wayne Area Council’s PTA meetings last fall and spoke about the voucher program. He backed up his belief in the program by telling us about a woman who desperately wanted to send her boy to a better school that was not infested with gang violence and corruption. She wanted the best for her son and all of the opportunities of a great education that every child deserves. He believed that giving that mother a voucher to attend a private school saved that boy and put him on the path to success.

Now as a mother myself, I am not denying the overwhelming desire to want the best for our children. But as a concerned citizen of the community, I ask you this: What about all of the other students at that school? What about their opportunities to get a great education?

Instead of trying to place children randomly into private school at the taxpayers’ expense, why not start at the core of the problem and help support our public schools – the schools that have been there since the beginning offering education, nutrition and support to every child no matter their gender, race, spoken language or family income level?


Better ways to reduce gun deaths

This is in response to the letter “NRA running the nation” (March 28): Sen. Harry Reid didn’t drop the assault weapon ban because of manufacturers’ profit. He dropped it because it infringes on Second Amendment rights. The surge in firearms sales is due to the current administration’s determination to curtail those rights.

For the sake of comparison, according to the FBI, in 2011 nearly five times more people were killed with knives than rifles. Assault rifles are fully automatic, and only licensed people may own them.

Perhaps enforcing current laws, fixing our failed health care system and promoting gun safety would be a start in reducing firearm deaths, rather than infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens.


Same standard for voucher schools

The recent Indiana Supreme Court ruling approving the school voucher program is puzzling.

I have no problem with allowing students to attend schools provided by other organizations, religious or otherwise. But I do wonder that schools can qualify as part of the “uniform system of common schools” even while requiring courses and activities that would not be acceptable at public schools. My son’s experience at a local parochial school long before vouchers included required chapel attendance, religion classes, and science classes emphasizing creationism and the evils of evolution. Have these somehow been inserted into state standards for education?

With authority to accept public funds comes responsibility to teach to public standards, and our state government must hold them accountable. Any organization accepting vouchers must be required to accept the same mandate faced by public schools to perform in accordance with state standards, excluding (no opt in/out) all voucher students from religious activities and courses, and only requiring courses that are consistent with modern scientific thought. This compliance with state and national constitutions would qualify the schools for my tax dollars.


Canned hunting a harmful practice

The Indiana General Assembly is considering legislation that would allow businesses to continue to provide high-paying customers the ability to shoot white-tailed deer within fenced enclosures.

These are not “hunting” facilities, and they pose a serious threat to the health of Indiana’s wild deer population and to Indiana’s real deer-hunting economy. That is why the legislation and the facilities are opposed by genuine deer-hunting associations and conservation organizations alike.

Typically, a customer (they say “hunter”) selects an animal from a website with unique antlers they want on their wall. The animal is then shipped from whatever state it is located in and released within a fenced-in enclosure to be shot by the customer at his convenience. This is their definition of “hunting.”

These facilities are suspected in the spread of chronic wasting disease and are often so poorly regulated that their inbred and domesticated deer often escape to pollute the genetics of wild deer populations.

These practices are unethical and dangerous to Indiana’s wildlife and hunting economy. Please tell your state representatives to oppose this legislation and shut these facilities down.

JIM SWEENEY Schererville