Mailbag: Cartoon didn't need to target valley

Glendale News Press

Bert Ring's May 22 cartoon in the Glendale News-Press left me rather dismayed.

While I see the satire on the early prisoner release program, and while I realize we do have a teen drug problem in our community, I don't see the need to draw attention to either issue in this manner, nor do I see the need to localize them to the Crescenta Valley (Foothill Boulevard).

There are many communities dealing with the same serious problems. If a joke is to be made of them, at least apply it in a generic setting that could apply to any community.

SHERRY STUBBS

La Crescenta

Confused over what's going on I've worked for Glendale Unified School District for nine years now, and for the majority of that time I have felt appreciated and well-treated. I have always been grateful for my job.

For the majority of that time I have felt that I have had union representatives whose primary objective was truly to represent my best interests. I have always appreciated the long hours they put in beyond their contractual workday.

Lately, however, all I feel is confused and increasingly frustrated. I'm confused when I get e-mails from the district that say the Glendale Teachers Assn. has canceled a meeting that the union says the district walked away from. I'm confused when I hear that voting "yes" for a tentative agreement would have saved teacher jobs, when the reason that many people voiced for voting the agreement down was that it did not contain any provisions for saving those same jobs.

I'm confused when I attend a union meeting that explains that health-care caps will affect about 90% of the workforce, but then find a flier in my mailbox from a special interest group at one of our high schools stating that only about 33% would be affected.

I'm confused because as a teacher, concentrating on my job from day to day, I am trusting in my elected officials from both sides of the fence to come to an agreement about my best interests, but then I get e-mails popping up from both directions full of partial truths hidden beneath significant mudslinging.

I'm frustrated because I have 10 years of college behind me, which in any other profession would earn me twice my current salary, and as a teacher I've spent my year fighting to save my home and worried about health insurance next year for my family.

I'm frustrated because I spend hours upon hours of time at home, at night and on the weekends, hidden away from my own kids, grading the papers of kids in a community where many of the members write letters to the local newspaper questioning my character because of this district-union battle.

I am frustrated because over the past several months, I've watched our "negotiations" slide into a "she hit me first" argument straight off the playground of one of our elementary schools, where both sides seem to be taking their eyes off the ball.

There are some teachers/union members who seem prepared to fight this thing down to the last penny on principle, and I believe that there are members of the district administration who by now are so mad at those teachers that they've dug their heels into the sand. But I also believe that there are still a lot of people who just want to find the best solution for all involved in the nearly impossible situation the state has left us in.

I'll speak for myself. I understand the need for compromise. I was willing to pay the proposed fee into my family's health care, but the cap the district wants would kill me financially. I want my colleagues to get their jobs back, and I would love for my incoming kindergartner to be in a classroom of 25 students to one teacher instead of 30 to 1.

To the district: I appreciate the job, and I'll accept some cuts in salary through furlough days and increased health costs, because that's the economy we're dealing with, but these cuts need to go across the board and all the way to the top.

To the union: Thank you for all of the long hours, but throwing rocks across the fence will only result in broken relationships.

HEATHER LAPACKA

Glendale

Editor's note: Lapacka is a Glendale Unified teacher.

Cyber-bullying is a sad sign of times After reading Dan Kimber's April 9 column "Education Matters: Bullying that follows children home," I realized how many ways there are to really torment children and manipulate their minds into doing something horrible and unwanted.

I actually know of incidents of such bullying in my school. Bullying is not only a temporary, bad experience for children, but a lifelong, haunting memory.

I completely agree with Kimber that bullying has expanded outside of school campuses, such as on the Internet or through phone messages. It has come to my attention that many children are committing or having thoughts of committing suicide just to get away from being bullied.

This is a harsh reality that parents, teachers and society have closed their eyes to. School years are when children learn new things, meet new people, become friends and have experiences that teach them about life. Children should be able to enjoy their school years and be able to take good educational experiences with them as adults, when it would actually be very helpful.

It is unfortunate to see and hear that today's amazing technology is being used for such a distasteful reason. I definitely believe that people need to come together and think of ways to control what goes on behind closed doors on children's computers and through their text messages.

LILIT HARUTUNIAN

Glendale

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