School officials took appropriate action

I’d like to thank members of the Mound Westonka school administration for their courage. It’s not easy to punish bad behavior (“Mound Westonka hockey players suspended after cafeteria dance,” Feb. 23).

I know. As a high school baseball coach for 18 years, I also was forced, at times, into difficult decisions that led to suspensions — sometimes involving key members of the team. Students always complain that they want to be treated as adults. Until they have to answer for their actions.

It’s understandable that parents are calling foul. They wouldn’t be parents if they didn’t. What’s more disturbing is seeing the Star Tribune question district officials’ actions (“Harlem Shake flap: School must explain,” editorial, Feb. 26).

What would have happened if one — yes, only one — student had been hurt (a broken arm or leg, or a head injury)? Those same parents might have brought legal action.

And guess who would have had to pay for that lawsuit? Taxpayers. So, again, I say thanks.

Bill Corrigan Jr., Spring Lake Park

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Those of us who work in schools understand how quickly a situation can get out of control if not dealt with immediately and swiftly. Was the consequence harsh? Maybe, but the parents must do the right thing and support the administration’s decision. The only message they are sending to their children now is that if you don’t get your way, you should call for someone’s job.

They need to be responsible parents and move on. Their children will be better off in the long haul.

Sarah Brookner, Minneapolis

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Any way to get this up and running again?

The cameras that photograph red-light violations have been removed from use because of constitutional issues. What would happen if the violations were treated not as a criminal violations but like a parking ticket? Your insurance rates don’t go up when you get a parking ticket. It doesn’t matter who parked your car illegally. The car gets the ticket. One assumes the owner knows who was driving and can go to that person to pay the ticket; the same could be true with red-light violations.

A car owner can actually see a video record and can easily determine if there was a violation. Try doing that with a parking meter you claim to have fed.

Tickets: We hate them, but they do change our behavior.

Bob Brereton, St. Paul

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Instant replay in football has without a doubt improved the game’s officiating. The fact that the pictures are reliable enough to confirm or overturn eyewitness accounts of events says a lot about reliability. It is an excellent example of using available technology to improve efficiency and outcomes. Let us draw a parallel with photo cop, then get our Legislature aboard.

John Duder, Minneapolis

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It’s fair to give weight to criminal background

In “Target Corp. faces complaints about hiring practices” (Feb. 21), it’s reported that the retailer is being accused by the NAACP and TakeAction Minnesota of discriminating against minority applicants with criminal records.

These kinds of complaints are being encouraged by an April 2012 vote of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that warns businesses about rejecting minority job applicants with criminal records. While those with criminal records are not protected under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, it appears that the EEOC majority believes that the rejection of a minority applicant with a criminal record is potentially the same as discrimination.

The report warns businesses that they are taking tremendous risk by using background checks, and that past arrests and convictions can be considered only if related to the job opening. One is left to wonder how a recruiter determines with certainty that past criminals will be an asset and not a liability to their business.

Target appears to be well-managed, providing thousands of jobs for Minnesotans, contributing cumulatively almost a billion dollars to education, supporting members of our military and their families, and supporting minority organizations. When corporations have to devote resources to justify why hiring someone with a criminal background might be a bad idea, everyone loses. That includes the minority that the EEOC is claiming to protect.

Wes Mader, Prior Lake

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Clear-cutting has its applications

I have been a professional forester since 1966, and I take issue with one of the references in the Feb. 24 editorial about conservation easements (“State needs more land-use safeguards”). The editorial referred to “a stunning example of how one property had been clear-cut.”

Clear-cutting, in and of itself, is not a reason to think a conservation easement has been violated. It is a valuable and completely valid method of forest management for species that depend on full sunlight for regeneration. Aspen is one species that requires complete sunlight to warm the soil and cause the roots to send up thousands of sprouts to start the next forest.

Larry Westerberg, Hastings