LETTERS:Does Canada need stronger gun laws?

Letters to the editor in the Penticton Western News July 18 issue.

Does Canada need stronger gun laws?

Ask the American National Rifle Association what they think as Canada is prone to agree with the Americans.

The NRA might suggest Canadians need more guns in order to protect themselves and loved ones in the future from the powers to be.

The only thing that can be done in my opinion is for the 77 per cent in favour is to continue with wishful thinking as mankind needs his bang – bangs as a baby needs a rattle.

Meanwhile do as Johnny Cash sang, “Don’t take your guns to town.”

Tom Isherwood, Olalla

Graffiti solution

My wife and I own a condominium in Clearwater, Florida, and noticed how little graffiti there is in the whole Clearwater area.

Upon inquiring as to the reason for this, we were informed that there is zero tolerance for any defacing of public property.

Anyone caught doing such an act receives an automatic jail sentence, even minors, plus they are made restore the damaged property. Perhaps if this were the case in Penticton and area, it may help to solve the problem.

Gordon R. Taylor

Penticton

Trying to plan for September

Dear Mr. Fassbender and Mr. Iker:  I am a very concerned parent.  My oldest son is entering Grade 12 in September and I understand you have decided to delay negotiations until late September and not to legislate teachers back to work.  Your bickering and inability to sort out these contract issues may just be a “job” for you but for thousands of students and in particular, Grade 12 students, we are talking about their lives and ability to pursue post-secondary education.  This can impact the rest of their lives.

With the prospect of no school in September, my son will lose 24.5 hours of instruction time per semestered course.  This will have devastating implications for him in terms of completing the courses he requires in order to apply to university.

And it is the first semester grades that get sent to the universities when applying.  How do you intend to ensure my son gets the full course content when one-quarter of the instruction time for first semester will be lost?  We pay our taxes and he is entitled to his education. The loss of these hours is completely unacceptable.  I need to be able to plan for my children’s future and education so would like to know what your plan is to make up any lost instruction time. If I have to move to another province to ensure their education I need to know in a timely fashion so that I can make arrangements.  I am beyond caring who wins this fight.

I want it over and I want school to resume Sept. 2, 2014.

Susan Koster

Penticton

A Fond Farewell

After 20 years of working with students, particularly those with special needs, in a variety of grades, subjects and schools, it is time to say goodbye.

I would like to thank the students, and their parents, for the opportunity of interaction and learning that each of my charges offered me during my work as an education assistant.

To the school board members, administrators, clerical and custodial staff that I have had the pleasure to know over these years, I also offer a sincere thank you for their assistance, guidance and friendship.

But, especially, I wish to convey my deep gratitude to the teachers and my fellow CEA’s who have been my mentors, instructors, colleagues and friends, and who have made this a vocation rather than a job.

It is with some reluctance – and no little amount of trepidation – that I leave this career.

Unfortunately, as the physical and emotional aspect of the work increases and funding is replaced with the rewording of student designations, I have had to make the choice to retire based on health rather than heart.

The coincidence of the educational dispute at the end of my career is more a sad reinforcement of my decision than an ironic circumstance.

I have worked within a system that has been devalued in public opinion from a revered place of learning to a convenience for child minding without, it would seem, the child’s minds being the primary parental import.

Like everything else in our modern, dollar driven world, schools are only a place of profit and loss; real estate and commodity.

I have noted our students referred to as “pawns” in the recent dispute.

Well, I have played the game of chess and know that the role of the pawn is to defend the king and queen at all cost; to be willing to be sacrificed to keep these two positions safe.

I would suggest, given the description that it is the teachers and educational assistants who fit the role of pawn, the children are the kings and queens, and it is the government and our society who are directing the game.

A few years ago, as part of classroom protocol, we were to read a pamphlet on procedure in case of school intruder lockdown scenario — think Columbine.

One of the directives was that teachers, and support staff, should protect students by all means including bodily shielding them from harm.

After 20 years, this pawn is exiting the board.

Christine Stasiuk

Penticton

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