NomDebPlume's 2½ Cents

Because I have an opinion about everything…

Archive for the category “Children”

An Open Letter to Senator Specter

 

money-down-toilet

 

Senator Specter,

I am writing again to ask you to PLEASE not put your name on this insulting “stimulus” bill until we can say that all the items contained within it will actually stimulate our economy and not just put us deeper in debt while we fulfill the numerous spending projects that are now also filling its pages.

I have four children, one of whom is 16-years-old and [seriously] wants to know if he should start buying gold NOW because the new President and Congress are in the process of ruining his future with this bill. I can’t make him feel any better, because he’s right – that’s what you’re doing. I can’t offer him any “hope”.

Please don’t be one of the people responsible for destroying the futures of so many young people. Yes, we need to do something and we need to do something [relatively] soon, but we DON’T need to meet Mr. Obama’s ‘deadline’ of 2/16.  “Haste makes waste”!!   We don’t want to screw this up. Like Mr. Obama, you are supposed to represent US… we are not a group of idiots, we are registered voters, and we don’t want our money spent like this:

• $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Dept. of Energy defunded last year because the project was inefficient

• A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film

• $650 million for the digital television (DTV) converter box coupon program

• $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship)

• $448 million for constructing the Dept. of Homeland Security headquarters

• $248 million for furniture at the new Dept. of Homeland Security headquarters

• $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees

• $400 million for the CDC to screen and prevent STD’s

• $1.4 billion for a rural waste disposal programs

• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities

• $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion

• $75 million for “smoking cessation activities”

• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges

• $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI

• $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction

• $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas

• $6 billion to turn federal buildings into “green” buildings

• $500 million for state and local fire stations

• $650 million for wildland fire management on Forest Service lands

• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities

• $1.2 billion for “youth activities,” including youth summer job programs

• $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service

• $412 million for CDC buildings and property

• $500 million for building and repairing NIH facilities in Bethesda, MD

• $160 million for “paid volunteers” at the Corporation for National and Community Service

• $5.5 million for “energy efficiency initiatives” at the VA “National Cemetery Administration”

• $850 million for Amtrak

• $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint

• $75M to construct a new “security training” facility for State Dept Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.

• $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems

• $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.

• State Medicaid Bailout: $87.7 billion Through 3 different mechanisms, the bill would provide additional federal funds to state Medicaid programs over the next 3 years. This is nearly $70 billion more than the governors asked President Obama for in December, and should be a loan to be repaid by the states.

Source: Website of Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn 
Respectfully,
Someone who votes for you only because the alternative is voting for a liberal Democrat

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What Would Make an Educator Do This to a Student?

A Man referred to as “Principal”, no less?

ZV Injuries 1

This is a picture of my son, Zachary… 16-years-old (at the time), 120 pounds soaking wet, and all of about 5 feet 6 inches tall.  The picture was taken the day he was assaulted by a principal in his high school, who looks to be at least 250 pounds, as Zachary tried to leave the building after the bell rang.  Apparently, this principal decided Zachary should wait, go sit in another principal’s office and miss his ride home.  Why?  The principal was under the impression that Zachary did not have permission to be in the hallway 5 minutes prior to the bell ringing, which he DID (indisputable). 

Even though Zachary had permission to be in the hall, he had begun his walk to the office as instructed prior to the bell ringing, but once the dismissal bell rang, he turned around and headed toward a classroom to meet a friend on his way out, and this time, was cornered by the teacher who put him in a choke-hold and wrestled him to the ground because Zachary was “disobedient”.  Once on the ground, the teacher put ALL his weight on my son, preventing him from breathing and causing him to struggle to break free just to try to get some air.  Ultimately, Zachary’s body went limp (lack of oxygen) and the principal released his grip.

Zachary Injuries 2

As evidenced in the above picture, petechial hemorrhaging is visible beneath Zachary’s eye, indicative of asphyxia, or strangulation.  A visit to our doctor immediately after being detained by the police (where Zachary was charged with Disorderly Conduct), showed that Zachary had, indeed, been deprived of oxygen to his brain.  The doctors, nurses and everyone who saw him for the next week were appalled by the marks on him, and that they had been caused by a teacher/principal at his school.  Everyone except the faculty at the school and the police, that is. 

Whatever story the faculty was offering – and they had offered me 3 different versions to prepare me for what I was about to see before allowing me in the room with my son – none of them sounded anything like, “Zachary came into school with a shotgun and was about to kill innocent people”.  To me, that certainly would have warranted such a violent take down.  No, ultimately, they put their heads together and agreed on a version that sounded like: “Zachary was in the hallway and when told to go to the office (after the dismissal bell rang and everyone else is allowed to go home), he pushed Mr. Principal, began flailing his arms and needed to be restrained.” 

Now, while my son is no angel and not an ‘A’ student, he has never had an incidence of violence against a student, and definitely never against a teacher.  His flailing began when he was being choked and that was in an effort to breathe, but, unfortunately, Mr. Principal was standing out in the hallway with a friend of his, Mr. Teacher (conversing outside of a classroom, instead of teaching), and his friend parroted every word he said in the “official” report.  As a result, the police wouldn’t even allow me to file assault charges against this man.  Neither Mr. Principal, nor his friend had any bruising, petechial hemorrhaging – not even a scratch – on them as a result of all the pushing and flailing Zachary did that needed such violent measures of restraint, coincidentally.

ZV Injuries 3

These are not scratches on my son’s shoulder in this picture – they are crease marks from his clothing, indented into his skin from the principal’s full weight and pressure on top of him after he pushed him to the ground and while he held his neck in a choke-hold, preventing him from breathing. 

[Reminder: Zachary was charged with a crime, not Mr. Principal.]

 


Why am I writing all of this?  Out of sheer frustration.  I can accomplish nothing toward achieving any semblance of justice and it just eats away at me.  Nearly 10 months have passed since this incident took place and my son is a ‘marked man’ at the school, being picked on by those in power because I dared to hire an attorney and not just silently accept our punishment.  Although my son is now in a trade school for his senior year of high school in order to avoid contact with the original principal who assaulted him, I am about 5 months behind in paying the attorney who made this arrangement possible for him – and still, we must continue to deal with the same school district, where our infamy precedes us.  

But beyond contending with the issues of the school, the disrespect shown to me and to my son, the fabrications invented by one member of the faculty – then sworn to by another – that continue to cause trouble for him and great stress for me, I am haunted by bigger problems.  Where does forgiveness come into the picture?  I believe I have forgiven this man for what he did to my son, to the extent I am humanly able.  But my question is this: Is seeking justice a sign of unforgiveness?  Ten months have passed with little action on my part for two reasons, 1-because I have wrestled with this moral dilemma, and 2-because I have learned that most people get as much justice as they can afford… and I can’t afford all that much. 

So I share this story via my blog, accepting opinions from wherever they may come.  It will probably come as no surprise that the story has been somewhat condensed, but the pertinent facts are most definitely included… except for one.  In the interest of full disclosure, I will add that Zachary did have a knife in his pocket during this entire episode, yet this was not known to anyone and he voluntarily offered it to a different principal after being assaulted.  Naturally, I was appalled to find this out, but his excuse is, and has always been, “fear”.  He has been bullied since grade school, since right after his father died when he was in fourth grade and began showing his emotions in school.  Combined with his slight build, he was an easy target.  Although the school district was no help to me in that situation, either (“Isn’t he over his father’s death YET?”), and he never used the knife, to me, this is still no excuse for carrying it… regardless of how much “safer” it made him feel.

 Please feel free to share your opinion or offer advice.  The stress from this situation is literally making me sick by exacerbating the illnesses I suffer from (Fibromyalgia and Crohn’s disease) and I need to figure out what to do.  It has been suggested to me that I just let it go and forget about the whole thing, to accept the injustice and go on with my life.  But it’s not just my life, it is my son who was victimized and it is I who must stand up for him and show that I am his advocate.  When he’s wrong, I throw the book at him, but when something like this happens, well….

Thanks for reading,

Debi

I Am NOT Old…

Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself and the situation you find yourself in.

OldYesNo

Yesterday, my 14-year-old son came to the supermarket with me (mostly because we went somewhere he wanted to go first and was forced to) and found himself accompanying me to the hair color aisle.  I was quickly becoming annoyed because my brand was on sale, yet my shade was not there.  Not one to keep silent about it, I began to complain, “Sure, they have #2, #3, #5, #6… but no #4 – why no #4?  Because they knew I was coming, that’s why.”  In a show of feigned solidarity, my son checks the shelf, picking up boxes with blonde models on them to check the numbers, “Nope, this one says #8.”   For those who don’t know, #4 is DARK brown… :-/

A moment later, as I’m leaning over looking behind some boxes, my son happens to gaze down at the top of my head and notices my roots.  With a giggle, he says, “Man, you DO need to color your hair… look at all that gray starting to show.”  But it gets worse.  Before I could respond to that, he said the unthinkable: “You ARE old,” and laughed even harder.

I spun around, prepared to offer my defense of how I wasn’t that old, how heredity on my mother’s side is responsible for graying at a young age (for me, 29), and how my gray is concentrated only in the front. 

But, before I could, a laugh from the shampoo area alerted me that we were no longer alone in the aisle.  A handsome man with salt and pepper hair was looking at us – at me – as if to judge for himself if I really was old.  His reaction and his hair made me feel as though I had an ally, so I decided to address him directly: “I’ll hold him, and you hit him,” I said.  Mr. Salt & Pepper replied, “Oh, you can take him”. 

Though I was only kidding (and Mr. S&P knew this, of course) I can’t, in fact, “take him”.  My son may only be 14, but is taller and broader than me and plays high school football.  Yet, he is generally a kind soul who is more sensitive to the way I react to jokes about my age… :-/ 

Maybe he just caught me in one of my cantankerous moods…. :-)


* not me in the picture (!)  :-)

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