“Armoured” school teachers stir concern
Reading the article about educators being issued armour to “handle” problematic behaviour in children caused me great concern. Regular teachers and educational assistants are there to help guide children academically and through the higher level social interactions — not teach basic self regulation. This is the job of the parents. If the child still resorts to violence, then the child requires more teachings than the parents can provide and other sources can be turned to, not within a regular classroom.
There are specialized classes with specialized teachers and EAs for children who act out violently. A child, such as the one in the article, who has two EAs and multiple documented incidents needs to be placed in a space where they are supported properly, however difficult that decision may be.
I say this as a parent of such a child that had/has many violent outbursts. After too much time, we finally received a placement in a specialized class that can handle these situations and we are all much better for it. My child is receiving the proper treatment (on the autism spectrum as well) and other children are spared the disruptions.
Providing armour and evacuating the class only enables, emboldens and influences otherwise calm students to do the same. Stop the cycle and give the proper treatment.
Kevin Thomson, Kanata
Responsibility for violent kids lies with the parents
My late stepdad was a senior elementary and middle school English and math teacher who started teaching in 1951. He must be spinning in his grave over the front page headline about teachers resorting to “armour” for protection against violent, raging children in their classrooms. Forearm guards and padded jackets? Are we educating a generation of children or attack dogs?
When Dad taught, violence in the classroom was almost unheard of. When it did occur, the perpetrators acted with the knowledge that a leather strap awaited them in the principal’s office. The strap was an effective deterrent, Dad once confided, and was almost never actually used during his tenure.
Now, with children allowed to do whatever they want in class, with no effective deterrent to violent behaviour, they run wild. This is nothing short of madness! As a taxpayer who has to foot the bill for the damage caused by sociopathic kids — and possibly, in the future, the cost of court-ordered reparations to teachers and other children who are injured by them — I propose a solution.
It’s time to place accountability and responsibility for the acts of violent, destructive children where they rightfully belong: with their parents. Parents are legally responsible for the acts of their minor children and should be billed for damages their little monsters cause at school. Likewise, they should be held criminally responsible for injuries to other kids and teachers caused by the outbursts of their wild children.
Only when parents are held directly and materially responsible for the acts of their rampaging children will they take parenting seriously. This isn’t a sociology class we live in, and the problem is not merely theoretical. It’s the real world, and here acts of violence and destruction must have real consequences if we are to bring the problem under control.
Margaret James, Barrhaven
Don’t bash Beyond Burger alternatives
I became a vegetarian later in life in response to videos of animal cruelty on factory farms and a long held belief about animal sentience. As an animal lover, I felt I could not support cruelty to animals in any form. Suddenly having to change my cooking habits was easier than I would have imagined, as there is a lot of information and innumerable recipes online to support new vegetarians.
The availability of soy-based and other meat substitutes can make the transition easier, for instance, by using “fake” ground beef in a recipe for meatloaf. When eating out for convenience at fast food restaurants with grandchildren, it is great to have an option of a “Beyond Burger” so salads aren’t the only option. Social events like summer barbecues can include veggie burgers for those abstaining from meat.
I made the change for ethical reasons, but following a plant-based diet also improved my health and reduced my carbon footprint. I think anything that helps people transition from a diet centred around the consumption of meat is a good thing. Although most of my meals now focus on beans and vegetables, having these meat substitute options is a boon for adding variety to a vegetarian diet.
Kathleen Saunders, Dunrobin
Vegans aren’t meat-eating wannabes
I don’t see the need to criticize people for their food choices. If someone wants to eat meat, that’s fine, and if they don’t, that’s OK, too. You also don’t hear vegetarians say, “it tastes like meat.” It is the marketing divisions of the food processing industry and restaurants that commonly use the term. The writer seems to fear growing vegetarianism. The number of vegetarian restaurants, farms switching from animals to plants and major capital investments by plant-based protein food processors will continue to grow to meet the demand. Nothing to fear here. The writer also seems to believe vegetarians secretly want to be meat eaters. False, but for many, the opposite is true.
T.J. Zahavich, Thornbury
Apology owed to Canadians over Afghan memorial mess
Only the government could come up with this one: Let’s use taxpayers’ money to build a memorial that no one is allowed to see or visit.
Not inviting the families and survivors of our fallen soldiers to the dedication of the Kandahar memorial was an appalling insult to them, and to all Canadians. This sombre ceremony ought to have been well publicized in advance and open to the public.
DND said: “The decision to hold a humble, internal event was made by senior leadership to ensure proper reverence.” Who could be more reverent than the families of the fallen?
And then DND adds insult to injury by stating the memorial will not be open to the public but may be visited by appointment, with an implication that security could be a concern. Who is the idiot that decided to locate a memorial to our fallen in a location that cannot be visited by Canadians?
DND and this government owe an apology to veterans’ families and to all Canadians.
Rick Caverly, Ottawa
Remembrance should be public
It is with great chagrin that we read in the Citizen that the memorial to soldiers who fell in Afghanistan has been placed beyond the reach of the public or even the families of these heroes. Ottawa is home to many memorials to those who have given their lives for their country. So many, in fact, that we felt compelled to provide a guide to those in the heart of the city — ottawamilitarymemorialstour.wordpress.com.
This May, as part of Jane’s Walk, we led tours of memorials remembering those who fell in the War of 1812, the Northwest Rebellion, the South African (Boer) War, the First World War, the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, the Korean War as well as Aboriginal Warriors, Peacekeepers and even animals who served Canada. It is sad that we continue to lose young men and women this way. But at least we can keep our pledge to remember them.
It is even sadder that we are denied the opportunity to remember those who fell in Afghanistan. Shame on those who made this decision. As John McCrae wrote, “If ye break faith with us who die / We shall not sleep.”
Rob Collins, Ottawa
Disgusting decision to limit memorial access
Consider the ignominious treatment of the families of the fallen for the unveiling of the Afghanistan memorial, where Canadian veterans weren’t even worthy of being invited or informed of the commemoration of this veteran’s memorial, nor were the spouses, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters of those that died for freedom and democracy. Disgusting, crass, abhorrent, deliberate and mean-spirited. Totally planned and executed with an indignant brush-off yet again of our nation’s veterans.
Dave Palmer, Nepean, ON
The only safe cycling road is a road without cars
Another cyclist killed, not by unsafe road conditions but by allegedly criminally dangerous driving. This doesn’t alter the fact that a few councillors will do anything to increase cycling in Ottawa. This is a very dangerous town for cyclists in some areas, and at certain times of the day. Yet we have this constant encouragement to increase ridership. There are roads I wouldn’t even contemplate riding my bike on, but unfortunately too many cyclists believe that if the city has designated a cycling road, it must be safe. The only safe cycle lane is one not obstructed, shared or crossed by vehicular traffic.
Andrew Hartshorn, Kanata
Consider Semenya’s testosterone levels
The writer’s ideas may be sound to her, but they are not balanced and do not tell the complete story. The writer does women no favours in her politically correct diatribe over the International Association of Athletics Federations’ ruling. She fails to mention that Caster Semenya (although raised as a female) was born with a condition known as DSD (Disorder of Sex Development), having both male and female characteristics. Semenya has no womb or ovaries but does have internal testes which produce three times the testosterone as that of a woman born without DSD.
The argument that having high testosterone can be equated with having other natural attributes such as long legs, a mathematical mind or a beautiful singing voice is preposterous. Length of legs, special minds or glorious voices are not banned substances. The writer’s definition that sports are inherently unfair make all other natural traits unfair, too, because we all can’t run, sing or do math.
Semenya plans to run for the next 10 years. With her high testosterone, no participant born without DSD will ever be able to win a race. Is this not unfair?
This issue has been discussed at great length in all media, without ever mentioning that Semenya’s high testosterone is due to the fact that she has testes producing testosterone and no ovaries producing female hormones. Is this not unfair, too?
If all men supported all other men in all circumstances, no matter how implausible, women would say that was irrational — but women appear to be doing this with other women an awful lot these days and attributing this to feminism. Where is the logic in this? This is wrong. Just ask all the women who are competing against Caster Semenya.
Grace Ahrens, Ottawa
We’re begging you — fix the potholes
Spring is finally here, which means we no longer have to dread driving the slippery slopes of Ottawa’s roads. Instead, there are surprises waiting for us underneath the freshly melted snow: potholes! They come in all shapes and sizes, and will do damage to your tires, or may even cause an accident. But thank goodness for those orange circles spray-painted around them, or those cones, because what better way to fix a hole than to put a circle around it … or how about just filling in the hole?
It appears that is the only solution the City of Ottawa has looked at, but obviously they don’t understand what a levelled surface means. But seriously, it is almost June, and yet my car is being taken on a ski trip manoeuvring a double black diamond run with moguls. I am begging you, Ottawa, please patch things up and fix this problem!
Carlin Kim, Ottawa