Letters to the editor

Mar. 26, 2013 @ 07:17 PM

Special education might help with multiple suspensions

A letter to your paper published March 12 written by Donald Lebkes brings to my attention the excessive number of short-term suspensions assigned to Durham Public Schools students in the past few years.

For DPS to plan to diminish the number of suspensions, more details would be helpful. Details such as, what percentage of these suspensions involve repeat offenders; what rule was broken that brought about the suspension; does the recidivist come from a broken home or does the home have a negative environment; does the student have a chronic ailment or disorder?

Students who are not invested in their education see a suspension as a day off. Hence, the modern approach is to make the suspension an in-school suspension. That is, the student arrives and leaves school at the usual time but does not spend the day in his usual class; rather the student spends the day with a tutor, or aid to keep him/her busy thereby depriving the offender of an audience.

Another approach is to inform the family that one of the parents will be required to spend the day with the student in the school but away from the class.

Students who repeatedly require suspension should be considered for special education services. If special education treatment is being avoided to save money, then we are likely to spend more to control and incarcerate an incorrigible adult offender in the future. 


Mark Zimmerman



State shouldn’t desecrate rite of marriage

The Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments on two separate cases involving gay marriage.

On what authority does any state appropriate a “rite” of the church and desecrate it as a “right” of government? This kind of tomfoolery has been going on ever since Henry VIII took authority from the church and adulterated marriage (not to mention murder) for his own purposes.

In a nation that espouses the doctrine “Separation of Church and State,” will members of the U.S. Supreme Court have the gumption to decree that current laws of marriage shall apply only to secular “civil unions” over which the state

  1. has inherent right to rule, and
  2. the responsibility to treat all “civil unioners” with equality?

Without regard to gender, couples wishing to domicile together would apply for a license to do so under present laws applying to marriage and divorce. The sacred “rite of holy matrimony” would remain with the church, where it belongs.


Philip Scott