Re "Educators Are Split Over Separate Schools for Children of Homeless," June 12: I taught third and fourth grade for many years for the Seattle public schools. In the state of Washington, teachers are required by law to lead the class in the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. I told my principal that it was against my religion (the only permitted exclusion) to lead the pledge as long as I had a student who was living in a car or sleeping in a shelter, which, in an inner-city school, was all too common. Our school was one of the schools where homeless kids were sent in Seattle, but it was a regular school; we also served neighborhood kids and gifted kids.
I would not be in favor of schools where homeless kids are segregated by themselves. It helps allow the problem to be swept under the rug.
Reading the figures on children who are homeless in the U.S. makes me sick: "About 1.35 million children in America are believed to be homeless--about 300,000 of them in California." Any talk of a tax cut under such circumstances should be repugnant to any moral person. Please remember that 44 million Americans, many of them children, also have no access to health care.
Debating whether homeless children should be segregated from other children is splitting hairs. We should be debating why we allow children and their parents to be homeless in America.
Joel John Roberts
Exec. Dir., People Assisting
the Homeless, Los Angeles