News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Agrees Democrats should remain positive

To The Daily: Shakespeare could not have said it better than did Chuck Puckett in his letter in The Daily on Nov. 21 (“Dems should seek neither revenge nor presidency”).

Jane Wilcoxson


School buses safer without seat belts

To The Daily: I wanted to send some information about why school buses don’t require seat belts and why seat belts may be more of a hazard than a lifesaver:

The bus system is tested with using stringent Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

The bus seats are spaced close together. The backs of the seats are high and heavily padded, which, during a crash, cushions students who are sitting appropriately (two per bus seat and facing forward). This system of occupant protection is known as compartmentalization. Compartmentalization works well in the most common crashes, which are frontal and rear-end crashes. In essence, the students are closely packed like eggs in a carton.

Studies have shown that students on school buses may sustain more injuries, especially head and neck injuries, with seat belts.

Seat belts have shown improvement only in rollover crashes.

School buses are the safest form of ground transportation thanks to bus manufacturers, safety engineers (both government and industry) and highly trained school transportation professionals, especially school bus drivers.

Both the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will work toward ways of making transportation of our students even safer in the future.

Mike James
Alabama Statewide Child Passenger Safety coordinator
Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs


English is first tongue of some immigrants

To The Daily: I am writing in response to the Nov. 15 article about Decatur’s Hispanic influx. My name is Paulina Castaneda, Christina Becerra’s mom.

I would like to mention that not all Mexicans who arrived here in Decatur had disabilities with their English. Your writer who interviewed my daughter at Austin High School’s ROTC failed to mention that Christina is a soldier in the Army Reserve. Christina knew how to speak English before she came to Decatur from Chicago. She was just shy. She was the one helping out her fellow students who did not speak English.

Christina’s first language was German because she was born in Nuremberg, West Germany, where her father, my ex-husband, served a three-year tour before returning to the States in 1991. English was the spoken language in our home and still is today.

I am not ashamed of not teaching my children the given language of our nationality, though there were several Hispanics who dared to make me feel that way. I am proud to be born in this country, but I cannot forget where my parents came from and why they came here.

Like the immigrants who still come to this country to this day, it is no different from the immigrants from the past, like my parents, who made their lives here, and then became citizens.


Paulina Castaneda


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