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© St. Petersburg Times, published March 21, 2001
Editor: Re: Schools to stop driver training, March 14 Hernando Times:
I am very concerned with the Hernando County School Board's probable decision to do away with driver's education, an elective offered at the high school level.
I am a parent who is very active with my children and I have provided many opportunities for my 16-year-old son to drive and learn. What the school does for our children is best prepare them for the Florida laws and enhance what I have to offer.
Many families are not able to do this for their children, because of finances or other reasons. Do you want to put the students of Hernando County at a disadvantage? You, and others, as well as my family, will be on the roads of Hernando County with students who, if board members vote to ban this program, possibly will have not been prepared for this privilege.
It also should be noted that there is a waiting list to get into this class. The board should do away with the electives that are least requested by the students.
I applaud board member John Druzbick for his insight and consideration of the students. Chairman Jim Malcom compared driver's training to underwater basket weaving. I can assure you that in driver's training at Central High School, there is a chapter covered each day (block scheduling), with tests each week.
I hope board member Robert Wiggins wouldn't need the loss of a life for proof of the need, and the rest of the School Board would reconsider how important this program is to our community.
If you feel compelled to do as I did, call your School Board members and let them know how you feel about this decision.
-- Gary Mechler, Spring Hill
Editor: Re: Parents keep kids home to avoid FCAT, March 15 Hernando Times:
Why are the Fosters and Anna Calleri helping their children break the rules? By keeping their children home to avoid the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) sends a message to them and other children "if you don't like a rule (or law), you don't have to obey it."
If these people are protecting their kids against "the big, bogeyman FCAT" how are they going to learn to deal with all the problems in the real world? Will these kids (later in life) be "protected" against driver's license tests, college entrance tests, etc., because they don't like to take tests?
Encouraging disregard for the school rules could very well be the first step toward breaking other rules in life. Everyone who watches these tragic killings by teenagers asks, how did these kids go wrong? A first step toward breaking the law later in life usually starts with breaking the rules, at home and in school, when we're young.
Schools have all sorts of rules that students must follow. If parents/grandparents get their kids off the hook on one rule, they set the stage for breaking other rules. When parents fight (or ignore) school uniform requirements, they send the same "I don't have to follow that rule" message.
Parents should encourage their kids to follow school rules and explain to them why they are necessary. Disobedience at any time in one's life should not be tolerated, let alone encouraged.
Maybe we need an 11th commandment "Thou shall follow all school rules."
-- Art McIntyre, Spring Hill
Editor: Re: Thurman needs support, March 16 letter to the editor:
Mr. Starr sure is putting a spin on things. Congresswoman Karen Thurman does not want to cut taxes so there will be more money in Washington to spend. Mr. Starr stated that the first victims of the tax cut would be Social Security, Medicare, help for the elderly, etc. It's just like a true liberal to scare the elderly.
Thurman said last week that President Bush is putting the cart before the horse. All I can say is President Bush has already got the horse harness and if Mrs. Thurman and her liberal friends aren't aboard the cart when he gets the horse hooked up, they will be left behind.
It will take more than a vote of confidence. By the way, how can you cut taxes for someone who does not pay taxes? Mr. Starr, if you and I were sitting at a table with Uncle Sam and he took $10 from you and $1 from me and then he handed me the $10 and you the $1. How would you feel? That is basically what the liberals want to do.
-- Kenneth Toeppe, Spring Hill
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