As many have heard, the dancers of five suburban high schools located in Chaska, Lakeville, Apple Valley, Plymouth and Eden Prairie all protested the awards ceremony at the state high school high-kick dance tournament because they believe that the Faribault team cheated on its routine, even though the Minnesota State High School League stated Faribault did not. However, I hope all involved see this as a learning experience. Protests occur all the time over controversial decisions made in courtrooms and by juries (see the Black Lives Matter movement) or in terms of controversial government policy (think, as an example, about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and the policies imposed by Wisconsin Republicans). To walk a mile in someone else’s shoes is a valuable lesson. May what transpired inspire these students to think harder and be more understanding of what other people feel when they think justice is not served.

William Cory Labovitch, South St. Paul

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As a former dance team parent and avid fan who attended the state tournament, I am troubled by five top teams’ head coaches encouraging and convincing 100-plus student-athletes that if you feel you’ve been treated unfairly, the right course of action is to pout, quit and make a public spectacle. I can think of many more productive life lessons they could have taught under the circumstances. Instead, what the coaches did was, as the kids say, so high school.

Amy Tamburino, Minneapolis

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Regarding the Faribault dance team’s alleged plagiarism of a dance routine: So, if the Eden Prairie football team wins a state championship with an offense similar to one used by a school in Ohio or Texas, that shouldn’t be allowed, either?

Just trying to understand.

Derek Terrell, Hopkins


Like pornography, and just as damaging

I would take issue with a Feb. 14 letter writer who, responding to an earlier article comparing erotic novels such as “Fifty Shades of Grey” to pornography, contends that “a book doesn’t require the exploitation of vulnerable young women and men; it’s just a fantasy shared between the author and the reader, no harm done.”

A lot of harm is done. A pornographic book teaches that the abuse of (usually) women is a normal, expected and healthy part of a romantic relationship. This teaching is definitely “exploitation of vulnerable young women and men,” whether it is through photographs or words. How can we expect the young to learn that a healthy relationship involves mutual respect when they are constantly barraged with pornography that is anything but respectful?

Lisa Farnam, Edina

• • •

How convenient. How predictable. How ludicrous.

When a certain sort of pornography (“Fifty Shades of Grey”) finds favor with a certain group — large numbers of women — it’s not only OK, it’s cause for a party (“A girls’ night out, bonding at the movie,” Feb. 14).

But if any group of men got together over strong drink to revel in and “bond” over any kind of pornography, imagine the uproar — there’d be cries about crimes against humanity, about how male sexuality is inherently predatory.

Isn’t it curious how certain double standards are no trouble at all?

Steven Schild, Winona, Minn.

• • •

I find it appalling that the Star Tribune would print what the ignorant audiences of “50 Shades of Grey” would state about seeing the movie without providing the other side of the issue. According to current stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 percent of women and 10 percent of men have experienced violence, rape or stalking in this country alone. As someone who works daily with women who have been victims of horrible abuse, I can tell you that not one of them has ever told me that they thought that it was “cute that he cares.”

The women interviewed for the article “A girls’ night out” should take a hard look at their own definitions of what love is. They should also spend some time at our local shelters listening to these women’s stories. I promise they are not entertaining. I recently had a client whose husband beat her so badly her unborn baby died. Those are the outcomes we see when people are trying to “control” other people. Death, destruction and darkness. Not to mention anxiety and fear. That kind of “love” does not bring life.

I have clients who have had to leave their home states and their families so that they could create a new story for themselves and leave the violence behind. I hope the women interviewed in the article do not teach their own children these lessons. One was quoted as saying of the characters in the book and movie that “he loves and adores her so much” (because he stalks her). What? I’ve been told that some of the most intelligent people in the country are living in Minnesota. Hopefully the Star Tribune can interview a few.

Kristin Wermus, Afton



Some things are easy enough to fix

A Feb. 16 letter writer lodged a complaint about Minneapolis’ parking payment system because the 10-minute delay in transmission of payment information from the payment post to parking enforcement officers’ handheld ticketing device caused the driver to be issued a parking citation.

Unlike other problems with the system that have recently come to light, this one has an easy solution. Enlarge the font of the expiration time on the driver’s receipt and have the driver leave the receipt on the right side of the dashboard of their car. The enforcement officer will have instant verification that the driver has paid, and the driver will still have the receipt, should it be needed for future appeals.

Adam Granger, St. Paul

• • •

I, too, have been wrongly ticketed in Minneapolis. However, the “wasting time dealing with the city to rectify it” piece in Monday’s letter was not accurate. All I had to do was snap a picture of the receipt and the ticket and e-mail it to the address on the back of the ticket. I got an e-mail a few weeks later saying it was cleared. The whole process took maybe five minutes.

Granted, it’s a poor system when tickets are given in the wrong. But it’s really not a huge hassle if you just read the ticket and keep your stubs, as the machines instruct.

Jeff White, St. Paul