2013-01-09 / Opinions


EpiPens are a family responsibility

Why do the Virginia General Assembly and Chesterfield County [Public] Schools think it is my responsibility to pay for school EpiPens with my tax money? Is my tax money used to supply free school insulin to diabetic children, medical inhalers for schoolchildren with asthma, or amoxicillin for an infection? If [children] have an infection, they shouldn’t be in school anyway.

When my children were in Chesterfield schools, I paid for their medicines and, when necessary, sent [medicine] to the school with all the required paperwork for the school nurse to administer, as was the policy. If parents have children [who are susceptible] to serious allergic reactions and require injections, let them pay for and supply the school and school buses with the EpiPens.

Take responsibility. Don’t shove your parental duties off on me.

Joseph A. Condon III

Violence in schools

It is naïve to think that we can solve the issues of gun violence in America with a presidential signature on a swooping measure to ban guns.

We need to approach the problem of guns used as killing weapons in America a step at a time, focusing on a specific issue and attempting to mitigate the devastation that results from not taking defensive actions.

A case in point is the security of students and staff in Chesterfield County schools. Efforts have been made in the county schools to [prevent] intruders from gaining access during school hours through the use of security cameras, locked doors, and buzzing-in procedures.

While the front door of the school may be locked, absolutely nothing is done to protect those students and staff housed in the campus of trailers parked on school grounds throughout the county’s school system.

If the community is not going to adequately fund the school budget to do away with trailers as housing for its schoolchildren, then there is certainly an obligation for the community to protect those trailers from direct access by anyone who sets foot on school property.

No sensible business owner in town jeopardizes his investments by leaving them outdoors on an open piece of land without the security of protective fences and locked gates.

The very least we can do as parents, educators and community members is to insist that the entire school structure, particularly ancillary buildings, be secured behind protective, inaccessible fencing entered only through a secure main building. Locked gates to the secured trailer campuses should serve as access portals for emergency vehicles.

This suggestion for increased school safety is one small step in the direction of addressing a complicated and multifaceted problem of keeping our school environment safe from intruders intent on doing harm.

Gordon Lowe

As a parent it is impossible for me to be with and protect our children 24/7. Daily, I entrust my child, my greatest treasure, not to a school system or to a principal but to you, his teacher.

There are trained and committed firemen, policemen and EMTs standing by. However, in time of crisis he is with you, and you are the first line of defense until the first responders can react.

In a time of crisis we are depending upon you to muster your courage and your resourcefulness to protect our children. You will be there, and we will not.

In preparation for this responsibility, mentally prepare yourself in advance. Seek help, engage in discussion and think through what you can do while considering your experiences, capabilities, training, physical limitations and your inventiveness.

Consider multiple situational crises to include, fire, earthquake, tornado, structural collapse and even a crazed shooter. If you are not willing to accept this responsibility for the safety of my child, I, as a parent, am not willing to entrust my child to your care. I suggest you seek employment with lesser demands.

I have a responsibility to you as well. I will be sensitive to the challenges facing you and appreciate you. I will support you in providing what you reasonably require to do your chosen calling. I will also strive to provide you with greater security and to implement realistic solutions to containing threats and crises affecting you and those in your charge.

Bill Heipp

Feeding hungry students

Ms. [Susie] Hilton’s fourth grade class at The Millwood School read your article regarding the backpack program in our public schools (Nov. 28) and the need for support.

The children took on the challenge [in December] and held a food drive in their grade to collect as much food as possible to donate to the program at Crenshaw Elementary.

They had amazing participation, and on the last day of school before break, a few of the students went to the school to unload and help fill the food pantry.

It was such a wonderful and important experience for these children to be able to help other children their own age in their own neighborhood. The entire fourth grade took great ownership of our food drive, and they were very interested in the program itself.

We were fortunate to have Gretchen Sutphin, the community outreach coordinator for Chesterfield, come and speak with the children and give them further insight into the program. It was a wonderful thing to have the children really understand the need in our community and be able to ask questions about the children they may be helping.

Thank you for printing the original article. It moved our class to take action and hopefully make a difference. When [the children] went to the school to unload the food, there were only two cans of soup in the entire pantry. After they unloaded the donations, it was completely full and then some!

Jodi Stevens

Applause for ‘Loose Ends’

I love the articles by Susan Nienow. Her ‘Loose Ends’ column is my favorite part of the paper.

Linda Hammer
North Chesterfield

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