Re "The Forbidden Touch" (Nov. 18): In addition to preschoolers not getting the human touch they need as a result of fallout from child-abuse cases, they are also not getting badly needed male involvement in their school lives.
In the 1970s and early '80s, when educators and parents wanted to counter sexism and encourage non-traditional gender behavior, men were highly valued and sought out as preschool teachers. It's really sad now that men can be strongly discouraged from taking any job caring for children because of the fear of being accused of abuse.
I learned how much men can offer young children when I recently taught at Rose Scharlin Cooperative Nursery School in Silver Lake. Here, fathers are as likely as mothers to fulfill the weekly co-op duty as teacher assistants.
In addition to the significant value of their presence in a typical women's role, I found men involved the children in more active and adventurous play as well as growth-producing risk-taking activities. The children also learned that men are able to provide whatever nurturing and comforting they needed.
VIRGINIA TUNKS, Los Angeles
Read them and weep--the stories about teachers' fears of physical contact with children.
Some parents recognize the value of a pat on the child's head for a neat desk, the hug when an insight is gained, the high-five when a score is made in a ballgame.
Parents may put in writing their refusal to have their children in sex-education discussions or instruction. May they not put into writing their approval of teachers' positive contacts with children?
GEORGENIA IRWIN, Claremont