© St. Petersburg Times, published March 11, 2001
Editor: Re: Deputy faces one-day suspension after telling racial joke, March 7 Hernando Times:
I commend Sheriff Richard Nugent for the actions he took concerning Deputy Karl Damm Sr. Sheriff Nugent took two actions: One, he suspended the deputy for one day. Two, he directed the deputy to take one day of diversity training.
The suspension is a disciplinary action, and the training is given to improve conduct and behavior. I can assure you that every hour Deputy Damm spends in the training session will seem like a week. That is how a person acts who has been employed for 15 years with a commendable record and allows his conduct and behavior to diminish his commendable record.
Disciplining an employee is a painful exercise for a supervisor, and I feel that Sheriff Nugent handled this case very well.
-- Nick Morana, Spring Hill
Editor: I would like to thank all the people in the community who supported me in my recent petition to the Hernando County School Board regarding the book Freaky Friday and setting higher standards in our schools. I would especially like to thank School Board member Sandra Nicholson for her support and continued efforts in setting higher standards in our schools.
It is unfortunate that the supporters of the opposing petition were misled by their leader, who claimed that I was basing my claim on my spiritual beliefs and only that reason. This is not true. While it is true I am a Christian and was offended by some of the text, there were many other reasons why I disapproved of this book.
It was very disheartening that while other board members agreed this book was not worthy of reading and would not like for their own children to read it, they voted to retain it for fear of censorship. Board member Robert Wiggins not only will not allow his children to read this book, he will not allow his children to attend the public school system because our standards are too low. Yet he did nothing to improve the standards for children who do attend the public school system. This truly was a disappointment to the people who supported my petition.
What I do not understand is this concern of censorship. I did not ask for this book to be removed from the public library, nor did I ask for this book to be burned.
To ask that our school system set higher standards is not censorship, for it already adheres to setting standards for our children in many ways. This teaches students morals, values and respect for themselves and each other. There are many wonderful programs currently being used in our school system that already do this.
My thoughts are that nothing in our school system should conflict with this goal; the book Freaky Friday does just that.
My supporters were asked if they read the book, to which some said no. This is true. However, I did provide a list of the negative excerpts from this book, which everyone did read.
This question should be directed to our opponents: How many of you read the book? Or did you just assume the book was like the movie? That is what I assumed when my daughter brought it home to read; she is the one who brought these things to my attention after reading half of the book.
The fact is, according to Superintendent John Sanders, the last time this book was checked out was in 1986. That would mean not one student currently in the elementary school level, besides my daughter, has checked out this book. Again I ask, how many of you read this book?
-- Joan Anderson, Spring Hill