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Readers Write: (Aug. 30): Schools, hot weather, Syria, federal court budget cuts

  • August 29, 2013 - 7:05 PM

HEAT?

That’s what schools get for burdening parents

After surviving the three worst days of this week’s heat wave and having temperatures temper off, we were furious to get a call from the Minneapolis superintendent’s office after 5 p.m. on Wednesday informing us that schools would be closed Thursday and today.

As with so many working families, we are suddenly left struggling to pull together child care. What do we do?

We love our school and teachers, but this move reinforces our frustration with the district’s notorious knee-jerk decisionmaking, bad communication and poorly reviewed leadership appointments.

Jennifer Seeger, Minneapolis

• • •

Mother Nature has spoken: no school before Labor Day.

Let’s reclaim the whole month of August for what it used to be: vacation, camping and leisure.

Hanna Hill, Plymouth

• • •

The Minneapolis school district reacted to the excessive-heat warning rather than being proactive. The safety of our children is the highest priority when considering if school should be held on any given day.

Television reports stated that at least four children were hospitalized due to the heat on Monday. Many more were treated at individual schools. This is completely unacceptable and should be considered child endangerment.

It is far more likely that a series of hot, humid days will occur in late August rather than in early June. On these types of days, no learning takes place.

Contrary to the idea that children are resilient, their young bodies do not handle the heat as well as those of young and middle-aged adults. We are often told, during weather such as we have had for the past eight days, to check on the elderly and young children.

Why did those in the Minneapolis administration, from the comfort of their air-conditioned offices, not see the potential for harm? Perhaps if these officials do not have the capability to take the health and safety of our students into consideration during intolerable weather, the Legislature should revisit the decision to allow the school year to begin before Labor Day.

Malia Hilden, Lakeville

• • •

SYRIA

Botched foreign policy brought us to this point

Now that President Obama’s lack of leadership has him backed into a corner, he risks escalating a situation in Syria (unilaterally) and in what some would consider a face-saving move. He should have acted long ago — before 100,000-plus people had died. His approach to foreign policy, which is apparently appreciated by many in this country, is to sit back and see what happens. Now in the 12th hour, when the crisis in Syria is totally out of control, he is acting more aggressively than he would have needed to a year ago, and he has not a clue as to what can of worms he is opening.

MARY MCINTOSH LINNIHAN, Minneapolis

• • •

Wow! Steve Sack actually has proof that the chemical attack in Syria was carried out by the government and not by the radical Muslim rebels (editorial cartoon, Aug. 29). Shouldn’t he turn this amazing information over to our government?

TOM R. KOVACH, Nevis, Minn.

• • •

Regarding a prospective U.S. attack on Syria, I would use the quote “To whom much is given, much is expected.” We are the most powerful nation in the world. Do we not have a moral responsibility to aid the helpless and persecuted people of our planet? To sit back and watch them being murdered by chemical agents, and to read their signs asking “Why has the world abandoned us?” is reprehensible. What you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me.

Sheryl Steinman, Maple Grove

• • •

The situation in Syria is a humanitarian crisis that requires prompt intervention. The United States should be actively engaged. However, this crisis and the crises of the future need to be addressed by thoughtful and systematic solutions. Real leadership acknowledges the need for active involvement among a spectrum of nations (especially the Arab states), where the coalition balances the diplomatic, fiscal and military costs equally.

James Peterson, Minneapolis

• • •

BUDGET CUTS

Federal courts must be adequately funded

Whining public officials complaining about funding cuts have numbed many of us. Some of those cuts are real and hurt people, while some can be met with creative management.

I have known Michael Davis, chief judge of the District of Minnesota, my entire professional life. He is a unique figure in the state’s legal system. He is not prone to call news conferences. He most decidedly is not a whining public official. His call for congressional action to undo the radical cuts in federal court should alarm everyone (“Judge: More cuts crippling,” Aug. 29).

Furloughing very dedicated federal court employees, in plain English, is asking those employees to take very significant pay cuts. If the result of furloughs is closed courthouses, the plain-English translation goes something like this: Your house catches fire, you call 911, and you are informed by recorded message that the fire station is closed until tomorrow.

Not many houses catch fire, nor do many people end up in federal court, but this community needs both to function when we need them. Congress needs to hear from all Minnesotans. Take a few minutes and write a letter or send an e-mail. Tell Congress that adequate funding of the federal courts is important.

Judge Kevin S. Burke; Hennepin County District Court

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