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Constitution, school policy urge us to pipe up

Letters to the Editor
Published April 7, 2006

Re: Time for a decrescendo in pipes' boosters section, Diane Steinle column, April 6.

I would like to remind you to do your homework before releasing a column. The groups that protested have gone through proper channels over the last two years to no avail. They have been made promises repeatedly by the former and current Dunedin High principals and the band director.

However, the bagpipes continue to dwindle within the band and this will affect the city band and community as a whole. This was a last resort effort to bring the concerns to the public forefront.

Nor did this protest set a poor example for students. I am sure as a journalist you remember the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances." This was a peaceable assembly and at no time were students threatened.

Further, there is Pinellas County School Board Policy Chapter 1.07 (c) "Links with community services. The district will: 1. Afford opportunities for school personnel, students and parents to learn about different cultures, cultural practices and cultural preferences so that understanding and communication can be promoted."

This acknowledgment of cultural tradition has been changing dramatically over recent years and the community is wanting to see cultural tradition continue within Dunedin. I am of Scottish/Irish descent, among other ethnicities, and am active within the cultural community. Our history is part of who we are and who we become. Parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and ancestors have many stories to tell. I would hate to see traditions discontinue because of personal agendas.

As a future parent, I hope to raise my children to take a stand for what they believe. I would also hope to teach my children to do their research.

-- Kimberly Peirson, treasurer, Dunedin chapter, New World Celts

What about the other Dunedin students?

Re: Time for a decrescendo in pipes' boosters section, Diane Steinle column, April 6.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your column was so well put. Hopefully, once all the "Scottish costumes" come off next week, the rest of our Dunedin community will come to their senses and become good role models for all of our kids at Dunedin High School.

-- Theresa McCoige, band parent, Dunedin

Forget sticks, stones; words are hurting

Re: Time for a decrescendo in pipes' boosters section, Diane Steinle column, April 6.

It is amusing and disconcerting to note Ms. Steinle's choice of words describing the controversy between parents of pipers and Dunedin High School band director James Dykes. She refers to nonpiper students "talking back" to the sign carriers at the Tattoo, when a firsthand account by one adult in an earlier paper described students and at least one parent as yelling and using an obscenity, whereas the "protesters" refused to respond in kind and walked away from a possible confrontation.

Then there was the statement that "others in the community threatened to violate (principal Paul) Summa's directive by digging up Scottish costumes and borrowed instruments." The choice of these words denigrates those concerned for the tradition of the community involvement in the Highland Games. Less inflammatory words would have gone far toward easing tensions.

As a resident of this lovely town, I hope the traditional Scottish music will continue to be performed by these dedicated students and supported by the community.

-- Sarah Allen, Dunedin

Thanks for work to help keep the park

Re: When buying beats moving, story, April 4.

We are residents of Indian Rocks Mobile Home Park, which was mentioned in your article. My husband and I would like to give a "high five" to our homeowners association board of directors for the tireless work they have done in the purchase of our park.

From the outset of this endeavor, these folks have pledged that none of us would be left behind in this transition ... and they have lived up to their word. It has been a long struggle, and it's not over yet!

If it had not been for Alec Porter, we would have never been able to accomplish the mission. We are all grateful to God for sending him to us from England.

No matter where the chips fall, these people deserve a huge round of applause: Bill Staaf (president), Ed and Eleanor Mitchell, Jim and Mary Krajna and anyone we forgot.

-- Suzanne and Paul McDowell, Largo

Year-round storm reminder not needed

Re: Palm Harbor sculpture.

We have six months we don't have to think about hurricanes. Why do we need a sculpture to remind us of them the other six months?

I think a local artist should create a sculpture of an avalanche coming down on skiers and put it up in the Colorado artist's hometown. There is so much talent in our area. There must have been one who could have created a more enjoyable one.

-- Thelma Lusk, Palm Harbor

Clearwater youths sure can put on show

There are wonderful, hard-working and talented youths in Clearwater. My friend and I, who are senior citizens, had the pleasure of seeing the play My Favorite Year , put on by the Clearwater High drama department. What a performance! Everything was done so professionally - the cast, props, music, etc. - and everyone connected deserves so much credit, including the teachers and everyone who worked behind the scenes.

This letter is long overdue, as I've enjoyed past plays at Clearwater High. Everyone, put it on your calendar for next spring and you will not be disappointed.

-- Sue Di Martino, Clearwater

[Last modified April 7, 2006, 01:31:16]

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