Interfering with freedom from religion
In response to The Gazette's Viewpoint "First Amendment protects the cross":
Yes, the First Amendment protects the cross but not on government property. As well, it does prevent the government from interfering with religious freedom, but again not on government property.
This is a typical case where the religious right wants everything to be Christian. And they go so far as to try to make the cross a secular symbol when they know it's not. Poor Muslims, Jews, Hindus or any free-thinking person in this country who you as well as others, want to subject to the cross. Thomas Jefferson did not contribute to writing the Bill of Rights. If he did, he might of worded it a little better to strengthen the freedom from religion aspects. The Peace Cross is just one more anti-constitutional stand of the overactive Christian faith.
Disappointed in new bike path
I went for a bike ride on the newly opened biking and walking paths under the new I-25 and Cimarron intersection. I was disappointed but not surprised to find that it was still a homeless-infested garbage dump that smells like raw sewage.
I would be ashamed and embarrassed to bring any out-of-town people here for a bike ride. I had hoped that Colorado Springs could do better than this.
About teachers and parents
Having taught for 30 years, I can somewhat sympathize with Patrick Schrodt's observations on some parents but I never had the courage - or hubris - to express in such an open forum what we teachers used to talk about over lunch.
In my years as a local high school teacher, I encountered three types of parents. The first took little interest in their kids-no parent-teacher interaction, no coming to extracurricular activities.
At times I was concerned even about reaching out if there was an issue, as I feared that contact might cause physical or emotional harm to the student.
At the other extreme were the "helicopter" parents who always knew how to do my job better than I did and had the child who could never do wrong. These parents seldom addressed concerns with me but went to the principal, the superintendent or the school board instead, hoping to get me fired.
Finally, there was the attentive and involved parents who had the intuitive sense to be supportive of their student and of me as the teacher. These parents didn't hesitate to call and carry on a respectful conversation about their concerns. They also regularly came to parent-teacher conferences to make sure we were all on the same page and I would often sit next to them at extracurricular activities watching their student perform. These, fortunately, were the vast majority of parents some of whom I am still in contact with, years after I retired and their students are now adults with families of their own.
Teaching is not an easy profession but usually when you are around the kids it is a very rewarding one. There is so much more than learning that goes on in the classroom. At the high school level, I was responsible for about 150 students each day. In the first few minutes of each class, I was more a counselor making mental notes to myself about each student.
Over the years, I had many parents and students write me notes thanking me for the time I had spent. Since retiring I have not kept the materials I created for the classroom, but I have kept those notes and periodically I read over them again, just as I did when the helicopter parents were trying to get me fired.
I would expect that it was these helicopter parents that set Schrodt off. As I continue to go to school activities and events, I have witnessed these same parents in action, only they seem to be more supercharged today as compared to when I taught. Do they really think that by not allowing their students to solve their problems without mom and dad hovering over the situation they are really helping the matter?
Just a few months ago, there was a major concern about a teacher shortage. My question is who would want to teach - or coach - anymore with so much criticism of the profession from so many including some parents?
Again, fortunately it is only a few parents who make teaching and coaching difficult, but how many good teachers and coaches are driven out each year because of this?
To Schrodt, I say hang in there. I imagine there are many parents that appreciate what you are doing for their students.
Contrast in values and leadership
In Game 3 of the World Series, a member of the Houston Astros made a disparaging gesture toward the Dodgers' pitcher (making his eyes slanted) who is Japanese. The following day the commissioner of baseball suspended the offending Astro for the first five games next season. The commissioner made the judicious decision not to assess the penalty during the World Series as it would penalize the whole team, not just the offending player.
By contrast, halfway through the current season, dozens of NFL players have made a disparaging gesture each week during most games (kneeling or sitting through the national anthem) toward the country, all patriotic Americans and the men and women who dedicate their lives to our freedom and safe keeping.
The commissioner of the NFL, in contrast, has done nothing and expressed the opinion that the offending players are simply exercising their rights of free speech. Quite a contrast in the two commissioners' values and leadership.
Richard J. Toner, Brigadier General, USAF (retired)