News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


School officials acted properly on complaint

Clearly stated in the handbook of Morgan County Schools is a procedure for complaining about teachers. Parents and students sign a form signifying they have read and understand it. Parents should make their complaints known to the teacher, principal, superintendent and finally the board of education in that order. They proceed to the next level only if they don't reach a satisfactory resolution at the previous one. This gives all parties a chance to be heard. It gives a parent the opportunity, at three successive levels, to have their child's teachers' decisions and actions overridden and to have disciplinary action taken against a teacher. Those odds are clearly in favor of parents.

In the situation to which Ginger Burke refers, these procedures were ignored. The parents didn't ask the teacher for his version of events before getting an irresponsible television reporter to interview a child and her mother on TV; allowing them to make their accusations in the most irreversible, damaging and unfair way they could. At the time this mother pronounced to the world, "This teacher should never be allowed to work around children again," he had not been given the chance to deny, affirm or explain anything to anyone. To any reasonable person who believes in American ideals of fairness, the treatment this teacher received should seem unreasonable and unacceptable. Such treatment is more what we would expect to hear about in Saddam Hussein's Iraq or Hitler's Germany.

I applaud Superintendent Don Murphy, school board president Tom Earwood and the Morgan County Board of Education for waiting until they had heard the accusers, the accused and the results from the official investigation. When they were in possession of all the facts and viewpoints pertaining to actual events, they were able to make a fair, intelligent response to the situation.

Linda Conwill

Town Creek

Industrial base needed before adding retail

Your editorial, "Time to stop blaming Clinton for all wrongs," amazed me. Who gets the blame? Go figure. Whoever wrote it must have been sleeping the past six years.

I think our city, county and state officials are also sleeping. They didn't want Kia, which would have employed 2,900 people at high paying jobs. They didn't want the ethanol plant. Delphi is going under, Goodyear is selling, Wolverine is selling, and Solutia is about to go under or into bankruptcy. Yet our officials enthusiastically spend millions to get a Target Store, which will probably destroy K-Mart and Colonial Mall. Why would our officials want retail stores instead of factories? Can Decatur residents support a family on minimum wage? And why a store that is being sued for working employees 55 to 70 hours a week at less than state-mandated minimum wage?

The Kia and ethanol plants were a shoo-in, but we get a Target? I don't believe we need more places to spend money until we get factories to pay decent wages and replace the ones going out or going under. Kia just broke ground in Georgia instead of Alabama, and it is a $1.2 billion project. Yes, I said billion. Amoco, 3M and Solutia will soon be gone, but our officials welcome retail stores with open arms while rejecting factories that offer benefits and a future for their employees.

And why did officials spend tax dollars to move an animal shelter a few feet away from where young children play (at Wilson Morgan Park)? Can anyone explain any of this in a way that makes logical sense?

Like I said, I believe there have been some people sleeping over the past six years. Isn't it time we wake them up?

Dennis Raney


Penalty for judge-to-be no punishment at all

I read with disgust the article about the judge in the Oct. 13 paper. What kind of punishment did that lawyer receive for committing a "serious" offense? His license suspended for 45 days.

Tony McLain, the bar's general counsel, stated that suspension is reserved for the most serious offenses. So they do their legal and moral duty and suspend his license but delay the suspension until after the election so he can still be elected.

Then they set the suspension period so it will fit real nicely between Election Day and the day for him to be sworn in. No time lost, no pay lost, and no fines mentioned; he keeps the $1.2 million dollars and they expect him to be called "Your Honor." And they have the gall to call that "just"?

What is Stuart DuBose going to do if a similar case comes before him as a judge, recuse himself because he doesn't know any better? This article further fuels my belief that our government, which is supposed to be "Of the People, by the People, and for the People," has become totally "Of the Lawyers, by the Lawyers, and for the Lawyers."

William S. Cole


Detainee law new low for country's morals

On Oct. 16, America hit its lowest point, morally. Yes, we've done things wrong in the past, but our people have protested, and laws have been passed to safeguard human rights, and to right wrongs of the past.

One Oct. 16, we took the biggest step backwards we've ever taken in our quest for democracy and rights of individuals, in a bill passed by both the House and the Senate, and signed by the president, acknowledged by the American people, that we can use forms of torture, that those who do cannot be indicted for crimes, and that this bill reaches back to before it was legal, so as to decriminalize a crime after it was committed.

And the American people said, basically, nothing.

By the way, the price of gas is down, with elections coming up and all.

Armando de Quesada


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