The Senate is preparing to hear evidence and decide if former President Donald Trump is guilty of inciting insurrection. An argument that his lawyers and some senators make is that this is not constitutional, as the president is now a private citizen.

Let's not forget that there is another branch of the federal government that exists to decide constitutional issues, and it is not the U.S. Senate. Have the trial, and let senators vote their consciences, remembering that it was their lives that were placed in danger. Have the trial; let the Supreme Court decide if it is constitutional.

Robert Gjertson, Jackson, Minn.
• • •

The Wall Street Journal editorial "Democrats, news media need to get over Trump hate" published under "Other Views" on Feb. 1 stated that Democrats should not bother to impeach Trump over his supporters storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 to overturn a fair election. They claimed there is no need because he is out of office and no longer an "imminent threat," even while admitting that his failure to stop the insurrection was an impeachable offense. It's a curious argument. If a teacher assaults a student, is it sufficient to just dismiss the teacher with no further action that might prevent him getting a job at another school? How about an executive of a nonprofit who embezzles millions? Once fired, he can't do further harm, right? Why prosecute? Of course, that was the strategy employed by the Catholic Church with pedophile priests, which didn't work out well for anyone.

But perhaps the editorial is correct; perhaps impeachment is the wrong consequence, because of course Trump didn't only fail to stop the insurrection, he fomented it. I suggest that instead of impeachment it would be much more appropriate for the Justice Department to prosecute him for sedition — or, as Harvard law Prof. Jeannie Suk Gersen convincingly argued in the New Yorker, treason — and put him in prison for a very long time. Let him run for office from there.

Stephen Lehman, St. Paul
• • •

Chris Reed ("Trump's foes helped undermine election faith," Opinion Exchange, Feb. 1) alleges that Trump's foes' attention to Russian interference in 2016 conditioned a third of Americans to believe Trump's false claim that the 2020 election was stolen.

Never mind that the Mueller report concluded that the Russian government "interfered in the 2016 election in sweeping and systematic fashion." Never mind the work by scholars like Timothy Snyder, Sarah Kendzior and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, who have also documented the extensive connections between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Reed instead quotes critics who write about the "salacious and fact-free conspiracy theories about Trump."

There are no investigations or scholarly articles that support Trump's claims of 2020 election fraud. The courts and states have unanimously rejected his claims. Only Trump's Republican cohorts, Fox News and other right wing media have supported his lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

Instead of blaming those who examined Russia's role in 2016, Reed should be placing the blame squarely on Fox and those Republicans who have never challenged his thousands of lies in the last four years. Acceptance of Trump's past lies is clearly what laid the groundwork for millions of Americans to believe his current baseless allegations about the 2020 election.

Terry Burke, St. Louis Park

EDUCATION

Smaller classes would help

"As a former teacher" began a letter in response to the news story "A solution to educational inequity?" (front page, Feb. 2). I begin my letter that way also. As a retired first-grade teacher, and as my friends who also taught primary grades (K-3) will agree, one of the solutions to that problem has been stated by teachers of our youngest students through the years. Many parents have found out during this pandemic that it is a challenge to help their children, whether one or more, with online learning.

Now imagine walking into a classroom of 20 to 30 high-spirited or sleepy, talkative or shy, boisterous or serious students who are there to learn the very basic skills required of them if they are to achieve success in all the coming years of their education. As a teacher, that is your goal and responsibility — to teach each child how to read, write, add and subtract. Within that large group, you must be aware when a single student needs your individual attention and help as they acquire these skills.

What have teachers been advocating for years as necessary to teach successfully? Smaller class sizes. Until that happens, individual students lost in a large group of classmates will struggle to learn those skills in the primary grades. And if they do not, they will suffer in their school years ahead, whether they are Black or white, green, purple or blue.

Susan Downing, St. Paul
• • •

This is in regards to "Schools need new ideas, not more goals" (Opinion Exchange, Jan. 31). As an elementary special education teacher who has been teaching for almost 30 years, I have seen my fair share. School districts are constantly coming up with new ideas, but it always the same concept only with a different name. What would really help schools would be parents taking responsibility for their children and their behaviors.

Somewhere along the way it became OK for students to disturb and destroy classrooms and become physically and verbally aggressive to the point that their peers are afraid of them. There are no consequences for their actions, except a phone call home. Then it happens again the next day. Parents think that school is the cure-all, but really we are only a small piece of the puzzle. As I sit in my classroom day after day with a student who cannot be in a different classroom because he destroys it and the learning environment, he instead sits in my classroom destroying it and all of the services that the other students in special education are entitled to. He is not the only one. I'm sure it is not politically OK to ask parents to take responsibility, but parents want what's best for their children. They need to realize this behavior does not get better on its own and every year that passes by there is less and less of a chance their child will be successful. They need to explore all options presented to them.

I just want to send out a huge thank you to the parents who seek whatever possible to help their children. These are the students who make growth and lessen their gap academically and socially.

Again, new ideas are not needed. A true parent partnership is needed.

Tess Johnson, Minneapolis

PANDEMIC

My brother needs a COVID vaccine

At long last, recognition that the disability community has been left out of the Minnesota vaccine strategy ("Disabled Minnesotans push for inclusion in vaccine plan," front page, Feb. 4). This has been utterly appalling given the generally strong support for the developmental disability community in this state.

As the legal guardian for my brother with autism and other intellectual/developmental disabilities, I took him out of his group home in March due to the pandemic and underlying health conditions. Little did I suspect that he'd still be living with me nearly 10 months later. I'm happy to help keep him well, but there are other side effects of his isolation in a community that is not his own.

He desperately misses "his place." It's a well-run group home, and he misses his friends and familiar staff there, his room decorated just the way he likes it, his trips to the Jewish Community Center to work with a trainer, his part-time work at two different food establishments and, frankly, what he considers to be his independence there. While I try hard to find meaningful activities to engage him, it's a challenge. My heart breaks for him every week. Like many "regular" folks, this has aggravated his anxiety and depression. But he has fewer ways to cope despite family and professional support. Five years older than him at 72, I'd gladly give him my place in line, but it hasn't come up. The Department of Health has yet to inform his system when they'll get around to his group.

Let's get this done for the disability community, Minnesota!

Pam Ryder, Stillwater

We want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts here.