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Students should

be allowed to defend themselves

Disruption of the educational process, what does this mean to those who administer discipline at Sunnyside High School?

I'm writing as a concerned parent to voice the troubles I've had concerning one of my children who attends the high school. My son is a senior this year. Since the ninth grade he has had nothing but trouble with other students harassing him and instigating fights. In every situation he was told to walk away and try to find a teacher to help, which he has done before but still received a punishment.

First of all, how many teachers do you think are going to be on top of the situation if they're not aware of the problem?

Just recently my son was harassed again at school by another student. We were not notified. My son told us of the problem. He was pulled from class on one occasion and was told by an assistant principal that it was only the second week of school and he had already been in the office three times.

In our eyes his problem was being ignored by the same people we think should be concerned with the safety of our children when in school. I've had phone conversations with one of the assistant principals and let him know of the concerns I had for my son, and that I was to be notified in the future if any problems occurred, and that I wanted this problem solved with the other students. I was assured it had been resolved.

Two days later my son was assaulted from behind. He turned around and defended himself, and tried to walk away but was pursued again. My son was suspended from school for five days because he didn't walk away. The assistant principal's way of looking at it was he should of turned around and walked away. I don't know about anybody else, but doesn't that sound just a little bit strange that if you're being attacked from behind, you should walk away? Maybe if you're Superman, but there are no super heroes here, because if there were we wouldn't have to deal with people like the assistant principals at Sunnyside High School.

You can't close your eyes and pretend you're living in a perfect world. Instead, you should keep your eyes open to reality.

My point in all this is, what are we teaching students at school? I'll tell you what, we're teaching them, no matter what the circumstances are, there will still be consequences for all parties involved. Where do you draw the line?

I will continue to teach my children to walk away as I have always done in the past. But I do believe that when put in a situation beyond your control, you will and should defend yourself.

We will, of course, go through the proper channels as we've done in the past, to try to appeal the suspension ruling. But here is where things get really odd. You see, your're allowed to appeal a suspension, but that does not stop the suspension. By the time you go through the appeal process, his five days will already be served. So even if you win an appeal, your child will still have missed school. Shouldn't they wait to see if the suspension is upheld? Does it matter if a suspension is served right away or in a week or two?

This type of system needs to change and I can only hope it is changed before my other two children attend Sunnyside High. Maybe by then there will be a better system. Until then we will have to continue to deal with ignorance.

/s/ Sam Dorsey, Sunnyside

Complaint needs to be investigated

This week the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Standards and Official Conduct, also known as the House Ethics Committee, must make a decision vital to our democracy. Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington state is one of the 10 committee members. This group must decide whether to investigate the serious ethics complaint it received against Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas this summer.

According to House rules, no other group or party has the power to investigate a U.S. representative. The charges are serious. They involve outright fraud, money laundering and the illegal use of federal troops to push through the redistricting of Texas.

Unfortunately, four of the representatives who are members of the Ethics Committee, including Washington's own Doc Hastings, have taken money from Mr. DeLay or from his PAC in recent years.

What does it say for our government when a man charged with engaging in "pay-to-play" politics can also pay off the members of the jury that must decide whether to investigate him?

If the charges are groundless, let an investigation put them to rest. If, however, members of the committee who have been paid by Mr. DeLay lack the integrity either to recuse themselves or appoint special counsel to look into the charges, then America's representative democracy suffers a terrible blow. What confidence can we then have that our representatives in Washington, such as Rep. Hastings, will actually represent the people whose votes sent them there, instead of representing those who fill their pockets?

/s/ Celeste Pagano, Houston, Texas

Blood drawing

The Red Cross blood drawing held Aug. 31 was sponsored by Sunnyside Community Hospital. Yolle Widdows-Guizar was the chairperson.

We had 79 presenters and four first-time donors.Thirteen were unable to give, leaving 66 units collected. Because of their efforts, 198 people will have another chance at life.

Many thanks to the sponsors for donating the cookies and juice, the United Methodist Church for the use of its hall, Bob Story for publicity in the Daily Sun News and Max of Washington Corrugators for displaying the banner at Centennial Square.

And then there are the volunteers whose services are always appreciated: Alice Benedetti, Myrtis Lange, Ramona Meek, Ella Mae Lochner and Phyllis Morris.

A very special thank you to the donors, who are the lifeline for the flow of blood in the Valley. Hope to see everyone at the next blood drawing on Tuesday, Nov. 2, at the United Methodist Church in Sunnyside, from 1 to 6 p.m.

/s/ Marie Handy, blood drawing chairperson

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