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 Letters Published in May 27, 2009 Issue

 

 

 

 May 27, 2009 - Letter submitted by Diana Bossingham, President, ISSCH Alumni Association

 Dear Editor,

I feel there is a need to let our fellow Hoosiers know about the despicable acts that occurred this past Saturday during the graduation ceremony of Morton Memorial High School located on the grounds of the Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s Home … and the loving acts of a community who has supported the Home for decades.

When I arrived on the campus shortly before 9 a.m. on Saturday, I encountered State Police officers posted on each side of the doors of the chapel. I was taken aback, but after a moment accepted their presence and actually felt sorry for them. There were more inside. I can confirm four officers, although I have heard there were seven on the grounds. This was a day of celebration! We had 18 young people who were receiving their diplomas; this was their time to shine. Anyone in attendance will tell you that audiences at our graduation ceremonies are far more respectful of all who are being recognized than even those who attend ceremonies of people who are receiving their masters or doctorate degrees.

Those who are determined to close our Home obviously have no idea what kind of people the Home has produced or the caliber of the people who support it. They had the state police on standby when they made the closure announcement on January 7. They were not needed. When we staged our first rally at the capitol on January 26 the state police were in abundance. Again, no need! While we undoubtedly have a strong passion with regard to our Home and the way this whole mess has been handled, we were taught respect for our Home, our country and each other. Those values have held us in good stead. This display of force was an insult to all in attendance, but especially to the 18 who worked through some very difficult circumstances to earn their diplomas.

Across the road another unbelievable event was happening. A herd of 30 cattle were being loaded into trailers and transported to the Knightstown Sale Barns for auction. Three of the graduates had been involved in the farm/4-H program. They knew this was going on while they were receiving their diplomas. One of the donors to the program attempted to reach several people at the state level with the hope of being able to stop the sale. They were too late. Four of the cattle going to auction were being worked with in preparation for the Rush County 4-H fair by children in the lower grade levels. When the Rush County community learned of the fate of these cattle they banded together raising enough money to purchase back the four. A barn, hay and feed to care for them have also been provided.

Is there no code of honor among our elected officials and their appointees? Do they honestly believe that they can disassemble our Home to such a degree that when we win our fight to keep the Home open there will be nothing left to work with? Did they believe we would buy their bill of goods this past Tuesday with regard to the Indiana Youth ChalleNGe program? Yes, this program serves at risk youth and has a military connection through the Indiana National Guard. And it is an honorable program from what information we have been able to gather. We have no desire to “fight” Major General Umbarger and his program. It may even be possible for both groups to utilize the Home.

We will continue our honorable fight for all the right reasons: 96 of them as of last count, with at least an additional 138 waiting for an opportunity to experience a community where love, loyalty and hope abound.

 

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 May 27, 2009 - Letter submitted by Carolyn Schroeder

 Dear Editor,

I am writing about the closing of the Knightstown Soldiers' and Sailors' Home. This is and has been a wonderful place for the children who have attended there over the past 100-plus years. They have the closest thing there is to have a Home away from their home. They are there because of abusive homes, foster care homes and things in their life they couldn't handle.

When enrolled in the Home it turned their lives around, and they have been very loving, well-mannered children. I've visited the Home many times over the last year and a half.

The staff members are wonderful, loving caring people who have nurtured these children over the years and they have become well-adjusted adults going on to living a very wonderful life. I know because my father was raised there, and with the help of the staff and Bruce Trump I've been able to see pictures and articles of the time he lived there. He didn't have any place to go except the Home. And he was brought up in a loving atmosphere. After graduation, he served in the military for four years and fought for our country, which why this Home was started in the first place - for veterans and their families.

The children felt safe, secure, loved and were well taken care of. It was a chance for a new beginning that they wouldn't have had otherwise. Let some of the alumni tell their stories about what the Home did for them. There are so many people and organizations that have helped out money wise, encouraging the children and helping them in many ways. The alumni and the American Legion are still fighting the decision made by Governor Daniels, as they should. Why didn't Governor Daniels go to the Home and face the children and tell them they were losing their Home, their safe secure place that helped them overcome the problems in their lives? Now they have to go out in the world and start over? Why did he send the Indiana State Police and local sheriff’s departments there on graduation day? Why did they move the cows to a sale barn - cows that the children took to the fair - while the graduation was going on?

The children deserve better than this. Why can't they bring the children from Camp Atterbury to the Home, and they will receive a chance for a better life along with the children of the Home? There are 100 children wanting to live there due to various reasons. The federal government is willing to pay more than half if they change over to the National Guard Youth Challenge Academy. So why not have all of the children live there together?

The house and senate both included funding for the Home in their version of the 2009 budget.

Both Republicans and Democrats have supported keeping the Home open.

I think it is very wrong for the state to close the Home, which has done so much for the children that needed a loving, safe and secure place to live. I want to thank everyone who is supporting to keep the Home open.

 

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 May 27, 2009 - Letter submitted by Paul Bradford, Anderson

 Dear Editor,

After almost 85 years, I am writing my first letter to the editor. The purpose of the letter is to offer support for David Bradford, who has recently received a great deal of unwarranted, negative publicity in the media. If the mother of the girl in the controversy is allowed to crucify my son in The Banner, then as David's father I reserve the right to defend him in The Banner.

I was in public education for 45 years, retiring in 1990. I was a varsity basketball coach for 17 years, varsity baseball coach for 34 years, and a member of the Anderson Board of School Trustees for seven years. Esther, my wife of 56 years, and I have 3 wonderful children.

Our daughter Debbie is a high school teacher at Noblesville completing her 32nd year. Our son Doug is vice president and controller of Ball Corporation in Colorado, and our son David has been in education for 22 years as a teacher and coach. In those 22 years he has successfully worked with you people in multiple sports. He is currently in his sixth year as athletic director at Knightstown High School. I mention these facts because our family has invested much of our lives to education and athletics. This has given us a unique insight into education, athletics, coaching and dealing with young people.

Over his 22 years in education, David has had positive evaluations as a teacher and coach in four different school systems: Anderson Community Schools, Hammond Morton, Muncie Central and also at Knightstown. He has character references from teachers, coaches, administrators and from many of former students and athletes he has worked with.

The recent accusation that he struck a player is preposterous! There is nothing to indicate that any contact made in a crowded dugout was nothing more than an unintentional accident, and should have been treated as such. If there was concern on the part of the student or parent, then the first person who should have been notified, should have been the school principal. If that had been followed, perhaps all this unfortunate publicity could have been avoided.

If you have ever coached you know that there are also times when it is necessary to raise your voice. That doesn't mean that the coach is angry at the player. It is sometimes needed to re-focus young athletes who are still trying to understand and learn how to be competitive athletes, which is what the community wants and expects. As I understand, there were five girls in the dug out. All instructed to re-focus and positively support their teammates. No one girl was singled out.

During David Bradford's 22 years in education, he has always shown great concern for his student and his athletes. A great example of this would be the fact that this spring, there were no applicants for the softball head coaching position. Rather than let the program die or flounder, David stepped up to coach so the girls would have the opportunity to continue to play. The responsibilities of an Athletic Director are comprehensive. Scheduling, finding officials, transportation, grounds maintenance; these are just a few of the duties that an A. D. performs. To add a coaching duty as well shows a commitment to the athletes and school that you don't often find.

In David's six years at Knightstown there have been four superintendents, four principals and four assistant principals. David is the only current administrator at the high school level that has remained loyal enough to the corporation to reach tenure.

As a former board member in Anderson I understand the protocol of board members. In the case of personnel, the board is to serve as unbiased individuals, and what takes place in an executive session is privileged information, not to be made public. Information was provided to the media that could only have come from the school board. Is the purpose to destroy a person's career? What about his wife and one year old son?

I believe that David Bradford should be allowed to resume his athletic director duties immediately with no loss of pay penalty. He has suffered enough already in anxiety, his doubts for the future, and concern for his family. He is also concerned for Knightstown High School. After returning to his position he will spend the entire summer securing the future of Knightstown athletics.

To conclude, I would like to give:

Thumbs up: To the KHS teachers, staff, students and fellow educators who support David.

Thumbs up: To Shane for representing Knightstown in soccer, basketball and golf.

Thumbs up: To Mariah for representing Knightstown in cheer leading and softball.

Thumbs up: To community members who have expressed support for David.

Thumbs down: To the individual who called three TV stations to smear my son’s good name.

Thumbs down: To the Banner for only reporting one side of the story.

(Paul Bradford’s accusation that The Banner only reported one side of the story is not accurate. We’ve been accused of this time and time again. It usually comes up when one side or the other in a some news story refuses or is unable to share their version of the events in question. Routinely, media is accused of bias, though we have diligently tried to ferret out both versions. Such is the case here. The Banner tried without luck to get David Bradford’s side of the story. He said, “I’m not going to have any comment on this.”

That seems simple enough. The Banner did, however, report David Bradford’s account of events (May 6 issue), as he reported them to law enforcement officials. In spite of these efforts, The Banner is still maligned for “not telling both sides of the story.” Claims of one-sidedness ring hollow when only one side of the story is given. – Publisher)

 

 

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