Thursday, May 13, 1999
Who's Minding The Schools? Darned good article and research on pesticides in our local schools. The lack of letters from parents and teachers concerned about the dangers to schoolchildren from pesticides disappointed me.
But not at all surprising was the comment from county environmental health officer Walter Wong: "There have been no complaints of pesticide illness." Wong''s comment is a magnificently irrational denial of his responsibility. We created Wong''s governmental agency to prevent harm to public health, but his dismissal falsely puts the responsibility on the victim. He thinks the schoolchildren and teachers are responsible for understanding and diagnosing what is happening to them. According to Wong, it''s not his governmental responsibility until someone complains.
To make schoolchildren and their parents responsible for their own safety from school pesticides, they would have to be well-informed of pesticide use and symptoms--escpecially symptoms of long-term harm, and they would need an instant, easy way to test for these invisible hazards. But neither exists. There is no easy way for children to test for pesticides, and as your article discovered, even school administrators don''t know what pesticides are applied.
I was saddened to read the article "Anybody Home" (the Weekly, 4/29). Born and raised on the Peninsula, I had the good fortune to grow up in a wonderful house. Now the dream of a house for my own children to grow up in some day is just that, a dream. Sadly my brother and sister-in-law are in the same situation. Their children wish everyday for a house of their own. Chances are this most likely will not happen.
It is so disheartening that good, hardworking, LOCAL families cannot find affordable housing while the elite from elsewhere are buying up all our precious places to live and raising the remaining real estate prices in the process. I don''t want to move out of this beautiful area but if that is what it takes to have a decent place to live...I know we would not be alone. Eventually the young families will move from the Peninsula, leaving it a ghost town of time-shares, vacation rentals and empty mansions blocking the view.
The following excerpted letters were submitted by students at Everett Alvarez High School in Salinas regarding "Why Do Kids Kill?" (5/6)
Many people kill because nobody listens to them. I think that the parents or adults don''t always listen to kids. They sometimes just ignore the kids, and for not talking to their kids, sometimes bad things happen.
The cause to this might be the need for attention. Kids who are doing this want to be noticed and they think killing is the solution to their problem.
I think that teens kill because other people make fun of them. Some kids just kill because they''re crazy and listen to someone who tells them what to do. Some may be depressed and nothing in their life is going good for them. They may also have an idol that is bad and look up to and want to be like them.
In my opinion, it''s the adults who are to blame, who teach their kids how to shoot a rifle or a gun. It is also pop culture''s fault because we see and hear about death and massacres that happen. The only way to prevent the massacres is to act as soon as possible. The problem is that we don''t believe the threat until it is too late.
LUIS ALBERTO MEDINA
I think that kids kill because they might feel isolated or depressed. Also when they were small they probably were never taught how to solve their problems without violence.
Kids kill because of racism, discrimination and the violence that they see in the world around them. Kids kill because they are lonely and left out. I think that kids that kill are easily manipulated by people and by things they see.
Los jovenes que balazearon en la escuela no tenian muchos amigos por ser de otra clase de pandilla. Tambin pienso que nadie se queria juntar con esas dos personas. Yo pienso que ellos hicieron esa locura por vengarse de los que les hacian burla.
JOSE LUIS ALEMAN
Yo pienso que los jovenes matan porque cuando se meten a una pandilla tienen que hacer algo para poder entrar con ellos. Tambien cuando en sus casas tiene problemas con sus padres y los jovenes se van de la casa.
Yo pienso que los adolecentes matan porque se sienten solos y no tienen el apoyo de sus padres. Tambien cuando se pelean, se enojan, y se quieren vengar y por eso matan.