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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the continuing debate over the size of the federal government, why students should be protected by the Constitution in school, and how Obama shows strength.

April 22, 2009



Tea parties? That's an old debate

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Regarding the April 18 article, "Arguing the size of the "tea party" protest": Many supporters of the "tea parties" show an inaccurate or incomplete knowledge of US history. The debate over the powers of the central government has existed from the very beginning of our country.

America tried weak central government under the Articles of Confederation. It was found (at least by participants in the Constitutional Convention) to be inadequate. The Federalists argued for strong central government and ratification of the Constitution; the Anti-Federalists argued against ratification, partly because they feared strong central government and partly because the Constitution did not, then, have a Bill of Rights.

Alexander Hamilton founded the Federalist Party, which supported strong central government. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison founded the Democratic-Republican Party, which supported states' rights. (The Democratic-Republican Party has little or no connection to today's Democrats and Republicans.)

Neither opponents nor proponents of strong central government can claim that they alone represent the intent of the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers themselves disagreed.

M. Jay Poppleton
Corvallis, Ore.

The Constitution should protect students in school

In regard to the April 21 Opinion piece, "The naked truth about strip searches in school": Thanks for this opinion piece. The argument was on target and accurate without overblown emotion.

Because young people are required to attend school in every state, they should be protected by the Constitution against illegal searches and seizures.

John S. Kistler
New Orleans

I heartily agree with the author that commonsense has been banned from too many public school. A blanket obsession with zero tolerance or of inflexibly applied guidelines ignores so much reality.

With four children in public schools, I care about whether drugs are available, but not about whether a girl needs a Tylenol. I care about weapons hidden, but not about music enjoyed.

This one-size-fits-all policy fixation ignores the nature of the so-called offenses to focus on the insignificant. And even more importantly, in these days of molestation and computer stalkers, no one should take off my child's clothes without my expressed permission and presence, not even a doctor. Prurient interests can be a motive for these strip searches, rather than just an interest in a drug-free school.

Kristi Hamrick
Nashville, Tenn.

In regard to the April 21 article, "Supreme Court hears case of strip-searched schoolgirl": It is amazing that the Supreme Court could even consider the participation of a middle school secretary in a strip search legitimate.

Was the secretary given any training on this situation? Or for that matter, was the nurse present to help prevent psychological trauma? Why shouldn't the school officials have to notify the parents and wait for the parents to arrive before performing the strip search?

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the school, then it is effectively declaring that students have no right to privacy whatsoever. And to brush off the psychological trauma that events like these cause as just embarrassment overlooks studies on child psychology that show severe, long-term damage can and likely does occur.

The schools and the Supreme Court – in their overzealous desire to protect the children – are in fact becoming the very people that our children need to be protected from!

Russ LeBar
O'Fallon, Mo.

Obama shows strength of character

Regarding the April 16 Opinion piece, "Summit needs a strong Obama, not an apologetic one": Strength exists within personal character. This is what our American founders had and what overcame the greater physical power of the British. This is what the Allied Forces had that overcame the more powerful military strategy of the Nazi regime.

President Obama, by being apologetic, exhibited great personal character, the quality that brought America into existence and guided us to prosperity.

Dinah Dubble
Belfair, Wash.

The Monitor welcomes your letters. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must include your full name; your city, state, and country; and your telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear on our website, www.CSMonitor.com. E-mail letters to oped@csps.com. Or mail letters to Readers Write, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.

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