Let's hire truant officers to get children into class

I listened to Phil Rumore go on about the $9 million the Buffalo School District won't be getting unless the teachers union can successfully sue the government. I must say I agree with his position that students who miss weeks of school each year are going to tank test results. His fix, as usual, is to add staff -- attendance teachers.

What this out-of-touch man forgets is as soon as he mentions teachers, people like me who have to pony up the money for salaries go into a cold sweat. What we think of first, seriously, is breast implants, 12 months' pay for nine months' work, hefty retirement benefits and on and on.

How about reintroducing truant officers? They would not be members of the teachers union but instead would be responsible to the board of education and be hired by and report to the board. A liaison arrangement to individual principals could connect the officers to the schools. If the officer did not produce acceptable results, the board, through an at-will arrangement, could terminate him or her. This might just be a great opportunity for military men and women recently released from duty.

And, Phil, let's drop the current Obama buzzword "fair." Fair is for fairy tales. Oh yes, I live in Orchard Park, but a big chunk of my state tax dollars goes into the education billions.

Charles Schwendler

Orchard Park


Students who skip school must be held accountable

I applaud the Buffalo teachers for not caving in to pressure to make them responsible for the failure of frequently absent students. Funding to improve school success in the Buffalo schools is a concern, but where was the hue and cry each time former Superintendent James Williams forfeited large funds by frequently missing funding proposal deadlines and once losing funding by refusing to move principals and staff from failing schools? The total amount of all that "spilled milk" surpasses the amount that will be lost by the teachers' stance on this.

Consider this parallel. My brother-in-law had wonderfully successful robotic open-heart surgery and was discharged 72 hours later. Should he not follow the regimen for recuperation and pass away, I doubt his surgeon would be held accountable.

So, how can a teacher be held accountable for the failure of students who regularly do not come to school or do their assigned work? I know an outstanding Buffalo high school teacher who now has more than 20 percent of students who rarely (some never) come to school. Who should be charged with their failure on year-end examinations? Instead, why are child protective services not charged to deal with the parents/guardians of such students?

Conrad F. Toepfer



Don't let nurses wear scrubs out of hospital

The other day, while at dinner at a favorite restaurant, I had a surprising and uneasy experience. The hostess brought in four patrons and seated them two tables from me and my guest. They were nurses wearing scrubs, one with a stethoscope still around her neck, who were apparently on their lunch hour from the local hospital.

It reminded me of the times I was in the produce department of a grocery store and saw nurses on their way home from work doing some shopping among the open bins of fruits and vegetables. I know where those scrubs have been. What with MRSA, C-Diff and other nasty germs in the hospitals, I feel like there is something wrong with this picture.

I have been told that in Canada, nurses are not allowed to wear their scrubs home from the hospital. Perhaps if officials from the County or State Health Departments read this letter, they may start thinking about formulating some regulations.

Two years ago, I was visiting a MRSA patient at a hospital and I had to "gown up." But a nurse came into the room to care for the patient and jokingly told us not to tell anyone that she was there without her protective gown. What did her scrubs pick up, who did she care for next and where did she go after work?

Lyman Lowrey



Conservatives oppose wasting our tax dollars

I read the March 9 My View column with some dismay. I am conservative and have many friends with the same beliefs. None of them takes the view of "I've got mine, why should I pay for them?" Not one of my friends, many of whom give large amounts of time and money to charity, has a problem with giving to those in need. The issue is that the government, at all levels, takes our money and either wastes it on foolish or unneeded projects (cowboy poetry festival, bridge to nowhere), or gives it to people who do not actually need help (lottery winner on food stamps, payments to the deceased), or just gives it away to corrupt political cronies (Solyndra, favors to campaign contributors).

We are some $14 trillion in debt, but we keep up these crazy entitlements. Are one in seven Americans truly in need of food stamps? Free cell phones? Why is one half of the country paying no federal income tax?

Before you assume that I am some millionaire wanting to "keep mine," know that I am a parochial school teacher. I am also against corporate welfare and unfair tax breaks for big business and millionaires. The rich can certainly carry more of the burden of a nation that they get so much out of, especially since so few wealthy individuals serve in our military or as first responders. But I am resentful of giving ever more of my hard-earned money to a government that is so fiscally irresponsible. Yes, help those in need, give them a hand up. But make sure that those being helped are truly in need. Mindlessly throwing taxpayer money at problems is not a sensible way to solve the problem, or to garner public support.

Eric Hillebrand



Public employees want benefits they worked for

A recent letter in The News was pretty hard on teachers and other public service employees. This writer cited hardships such as downsizing and shrinking wages he suffered over 37 years of private sector employment.

It is clear that he either did not try or was not successful in organizing his fellow workers in order to improve their status through collective bargaining. Teachers and other public service workers have organized, they pay union dues and thus they are entitled to share in the benefits of union membership. I don't think it is whining (his word) for these workers to try to hang onto benefits that they have earned through union membership and the payment of dues.

I am sorry that he did not enjoy the fruits of collective bargaining during his working career, but I feel it is unfair of him to call it "whining" when others try to hang onto their paid-for and hard-won benefits. Just who is the crybaby here?

Rafael Concepcion Flores