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 Letters Published in February 14, 2007 Issue



 Feb. 14, 2007 - Letter submitted by Carolyn, Jim and Jeff Lewis and families, Knightstown

We, the family of Reverend Gene Lewis, wish to thank each and every person for their calls, food, acts of kindness and prayers during Gene’s illness and passing.

Thank you from the depths of our hearts.



 Feb. 14, 2007 - Letter submitted by David and Susan Perry, Knightstown

This letter is very hard for us to pen and does not begin to express our heartfelt gratitude to those touched by the loss of our daughter.

On November 30 we lost our daughter, Angel Marie. On December 1, the overwhelming kindness and outpouring of support began.

To the entire community of Knightstown and Henry County, your generosity during the holiday season made our loss much more manageable.

To all who donated to the Angel Perry Memorial fund, please accept our gratitude and know we took Angel home to Utah to be with family.

To the ladies of the New Castle Relief Society and the New Castle ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, your prayers and supports were of great comfort.

To the South Henry school system, teachers and students, thank you, thank you. It was a rough time for Devin and Jennifer, and it was made easier by the kindness everyone showed them. Jeff and friends from NAPA, who wanted no recognition – thank you.

Cheer Guild, Indiana Box Company, Citizens State Bank – again, thank you.

Last, but not certainly least, to our friends and adopted family at Pool Cover Specialists, Above & Beyond, thank you just isn’t enough. We would have been lost without your guidance and friendship. God bless you all.

May God  touch the hearts of all those who were touched by our Angel.



 Feb. 14, 2007 - Letter submitted by Dorothy C. Hatton, Knightstown

My letter concerns the letter from Mike Imel in the February 7 Banner. First, he said it right! I agree with his commonsense comments.

This was juvenile thing that juveniles did in their free time. Well thought out? Perhaps no, but that’s what 15-year-olds do! (Sure beats robbing, mugging, vandalism, drugs and alcohol – some of the alternatives to what boys can do in their free time.)

If Mr. Clevenger was ever truly in danger from this escapade, something surely would have happened long before now. That’s common sense – which seemingly has taken leave of persons who should know better.

I raised a family that included three boys, taught high schoolers for 30 years, and my late husband was a successful principal and superintendent for more than 20 years. Fortunately, he had common sense – get all the facts straight, then act if action is merited – and he was a leader.

If any of these boys are being hassled by school personnel, the superintendent should do his job and see that it is stopped now. Because someone may be looking foolish is no reason to pull rank. Grow up! (Of course, this type of behavior could bring other civil rights into the mix.)

At this point, a “We overreacted,” “We were wrong,” or “We’re sorry would be appropriate from school officials. It may not change the legal outcome now, but it would suggest a possible return to something called common sense. We do have good kids here in Knightstown.



 Feb. 14, 2007 - Letter submitted by Rex Bell, chairman, Libertarian Party of Wayne County, Hagerstown

Many years ago, when I was attending Millville Grade School in rural Henry County, physical education classes hadn't even been imagined. What we did have was morning and afternoon recess. After the teachers finished their smoke break in the Teachers Lounge/Furnace Room, they would join the students on the playground and organize a softball game.

The team captains were nearly always the same, a couple of athletically gifted and overly developed sixth graders, and they nearly always made the same choices when filling their team's roster. And, when the teams' starting lineups and the suitable subs were chosen, the same few students were usually standing along the baselines, ashamedly looking at the ground and kicking in the dirt, and feigning disinterest.

Invariably, two of the sideline standers were myself and my old pal, Stinky Wilmont. Now, admittedly, I wasn't the most prolific player in Millville. Even with a couple layers of cardboard in the heels of my Red Ball Jets, I was barely four feet tall, and not much of a threat at the plate or on the bases. But I was hard to pitch to, and unless the umpire was a buddy of the pitcher, I could almost always make it to first base on a walk.

Stinky was a lot bigger, and he could hit, throw and catch with the best of them, but he was incorrigible to say the least, and sadly lacking in social skills, even by Millville Grade School standards. Still, we thought that given the chance, we had something to contribute to the game. But neither team seemed to have a place for us.

I've had the same feeling of being left out for the last couple of weeks. You see, I'm one of those people who believe government should be small and fiscally conservative. Kind of like the Republican Party used to believe. But in the last two weeks I listened to Governor Daniel's State of the State Address, where he called for more government intervention in education, and more government intervention in healthcare. He also called for more taxes at the local level, but didn't offer a single cut at the state level. Outside of a couple of privatization issues, he sure sounded a lot like a Democrat.

Then I listened to another Republican, President George Bush, give his State of the Union Address. And I heard another Republican call for more government intervention in education, and more government intervention in healthcare. It was the same Republican that called for increased spending no less than eight times during his speech, spending that will add a couple of trillion dollars to our national debt before he leaves office. It seems that now the Democrats are the ones calling for a balanced budget, but their solution rests on increasing taxes, not in the more libertarian solution of cutting spending.

To listen to people talk, there are a lot of taxpayers around that are feeling as neglected as Stinky and me. Maybe it's time for all of the smaller government advocates out there to get off of the sidelines, join a team that really represents their beliefs, (like the Libertarian Party, perhaps), and get in the game.



 Feb. 14, 2007 - Letter submitted by J. Miller, Knightstown

For a town this small, it's never short on controversy. Reading every article and watching the news about the "Teddy Bear Masacre" video made by four students at the high school and the letters to the editor is proof of that.

For the life of me, I cannot see why a comical attempt at a spoof of another movie, which was neither plausible in context nor meant to be seriously frightening, is being linked to the Columbine massacre. Nor do I understand the false hero status given to some not involved in the making of the movie. Teddy Ruxpin and any puppet out there, watch out! You are way too sensitive and must be censored from those who are way too easily scared over nothing.

When we sing of the land of the free and home of the brave, who is it that we singing about? I would tend to think it's about all Americans and how we all feel about this country. If we are against a tyrannical government like Iraq that is being ruined by a ruthless dictator and we become the liberators, spreading democracy and freedom, well, I can tell you we didn't tell our soldiers to go over there and just do it for those 18 years old and over.

Freedoms, everyone of them, we share, cherish, and enjoy. ... We are free! But are we really free? If the Constitution only applies to legally American born citizens who are 18 and over, then why should students under 18 learn, respect, and appreciate a constitution that does not apply to them due to a small-minded mindset in our hometown?

If there was any offense whatsoever, did the punishment fit the offense? No. Suspension of one week, even if that, would have been more fitting than expulsion. I keep thinking back to the writer who compared this moment to Columbine and elevating those who took action to a false hero status. If i wasn't so embarrassed as a member of this community, I would be laughing. I think Mr. Imel said it best in his response, and I, sir, agree with you. As to the writer of such a ridiculous comparison, well it's understandable.

How many people in this town, who were against the new high school being built, compared it to a prison? Well, then, if you treat students like prisoners, then I would say to the writer, you are absolutely right. Yet, somehow there is a better use for that small-minded- throw-the- book-at-them stance. The Marion County Jail system needs you, now! They need those kinds of voices to really throw the book at those who deserve it.

A prosecuting attorney didn't agree, the ACLU didn't agree, and a federal district court judge didn’t agree either. What great detective work led to this oppositional thinking that so clearly goes against all logic?



 Feb. 14, 2007 - Letter submitted by Gary Snider, suburban Mt. Comfort

I would like to compliment Mr. Beatty and Mr. Knott for voting against Dr. McGuire’s proposal that school board members relieve themselves from hearing appeals relating to expulsions for students. I have concerns about taking the board out of the process.

The most obvious requirement of the Due Process Clause is that states afford certain procedures before depriving individuals of certain interests (life, liberty, or property). The Supreme Court adopted a more literal interpretation and requires individuals to show the interests in question are either their life, liberty, or their property – if the interest doesn’t fall into one of those three, no matter how important it is, it doesn’t qualify for constitutional protection. For example, the Court has ruled that the government may severely damage an individual’s reputation by putting his name on a list of “unknown shoplifters” without affording process.

The Due Process Clause states that (No States shall) deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. The Due Process Clause serves two basic purposes. One is to produce, through the use of fair procedures, more accurate results, to prevent the wrongful deprivation of interests. The other is to make people feel that the government has treated them fairly by listening to their side of the story. Fairness can have many components: notice, an opportunity to be heard as a meaningful time in a meaningful way, a decision supported by substantial evidence. The important the individual right in question, the more process must be afforded.

School districts from across the state are changing their policies on how boards handle the appeals process from individuals who have been expelled. An Indiana Court of Appeals ruling in July determined that school boards can’t pick and choose which appeals to hear. This is a practice that many boards followed for years. A lawsuit against the Logansport school district in which a student was denied a hearing before the board prompted the new interpretation of the law. The court determined that school boards only can decide to hear all appeals or no appeals, but cannot pick and choose. Some boards have decided to not hear any future appeals, but have decided to allow a board member appointed to sit in on appeals with a district manager. If state officials decide to take up the issue, there’s a strong possibility the General Assembly may change the law.

In my 30-plus years in education, I have seen a few cases where due to the appeals process, a school board has not upheld the expulsion of a student by school administration. It’s rare, but can and has happened. It’s my position that a school board should be involved in due process if the expelled student and his/her family wish to appeal to the board. I commend Mr. Beatty and Mr. Knott for their courage in supporting the appeals process to the school board.


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