It’s not too late for the principal who said “no” to sashes at South St. Paul Secondary school’s commencement to change his mind (“Graduation sashes are flash point at school,” front page, April 23). The comment that “every policy or procedure we roll out can be in place for the next 100 years. … I want to make sure it’s right” is absolutely wrong. Words on paper can change with the will of the people in the room to recognize a better idea. I will be an advocate for public schools until my dying breath, voting “yes” for anything that gives kids what they need to hit full potential and walk that stage with pride. Schools are a public institution; professional educators don’t need three months to think about a proposal for an event that will happen next month. Let the kids come back with a plan for a one-year experiment designed to be respectful of the majesty of the moment. Work with them to design sashes that make everyone recognize how successfully the district has served every one on their path to that stage. With one change of heart — the principal’s — students could spend their last days of school creating a visual spectacle worthy of news coverage that promotes positive public school success and affirms how the school supports individual achievement in life beyond academics. That kind of flexibility and respect for diversity will ensure the future of public schools for 100 more years.

Wendy Wustenberg, Farmington

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I’m offended by this multiethnic/multicultural group of South St. Paul Secondary seniors who want to wear “identity adornments” to their graduation ceremony, some of them in particular wanting to wear sashes that display flags of their “nations of origin.”

Such a display of dual loyalty and, in my opinion, un-Americanism should be considered an insult to those who, like me, see America as a land of opportunity, not a land of intolerance and injustice. The very fact we accept tens of millions of recent immigrants, both legal and illegal, living here speaks for itself.

School graduation ceremonies are supposed to be about celebrating academic achievement, not pushing political agendas represented by raised black fists and rainbow flags. Most schools, I’m sure, wouldn’t tolerate MAGA hats instead of traditional mortarboards, and almost certainly wouldn’t tolerate sashes that say “Trump 2020” on them, either.

I am fully aware of the 1969 Supreme Court case (Tinker vs. Des Moines) that upheld the free speech rights of students. Nevertheless, the South St. Paul school board should reject these students’ demand.

And if the students dare to show up wearing their sashes anyway, let them be escorted from the ceremony and have their diplomas mailed instead.

Mark Overholser, South St. Paul


Fox News probably knew what it was doing with Sanders town hall

Since Fox News promotes what is good for American corporations, I am not surprised that outfit put cameras on a Bernie Sanders town-hall meeting in a studio packed with a live audience. Unlike David Feinwachs, who expressed his amazement in an April 24 commentary that the Fox News audience showed enthusiasm over “Medicare for All,” I am not amazed. Rather, I suspect that Fox News was simply preparing the way for the sharpest health insurers to keep peddling Medicare Advantage policies to Americans. Currently, Medicare pays only 80% of the costs of its insureds. The insureds need to pay, on their own, the remaining 20% of their health care costs. Many of those insureds see the need to purchase Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplemental policies to cover that 20%. And they will buy those policies from private health insurance corporations … definitely a conservative scenario.

Diane J. Peterson, White Bear Lake


Actually, with democracy in action, a close vote with many sitting it out

An April 24 letter regarding Brexit (“Editorial Board is perilously close to thumbing its nose at democracy”) contained a significant misstatement. It said that 52% of the British population voted to leave, but that percentage actually applies to the number of votes cast, not the total population. In fact, about 17.5 million people voted to leave, 16.2 million voted to remain, and 12.9 million didn’t vote. Hardly overwhelming.

On top of that, the fact that the question most commonly asked of Google by U.K. users immediately after the vote was “What does it mean to leave the E.U.?” suggests that many voters were not well-informed. I believe a second referendum would be appropriate.

David Carpenter, Minneapolis


Earth-friendly line is insufficient; stop stocking single-use plastic

Plastic bottles, plastic bottles — Target must have missed the memo on how harmful single-use plastic is to our Earth (“Target rolls out earth-friendly household goods,” April 23). To be truly green, Target needs to offer consumers the ability to refill their own bottles with these new “green” products. Customers who care about all the plastic in our environment can now reuse and refill their bottles at Minnesota’s excellent food co-ops, or the new zero-waste Tare Market in Minneapolis where consumers can save money and help our environment at the same time. Many of these bulk products are even Minnesota-sourced. Let’s move to the paradigm of reusing instead of adding more single-use plastic to our landfills, and I’m encouraging Target to become the business leader in this reuse/refill movement.

Rebecca Wardell Gaertner, Minneapolis


It’s not ‘starving,’ as letter asserted, and you can sleep through most of it

In reference to an April 14 letter opposed to “time-restricted eating,” aka “fasting,” according to some researchers, fasting for 10 to 16 hours can cause the body to turn its fat stores into energy, which releases ketones into the bloodstream. This would encourage weight loss.

This type of intermittent fasting is easy to do. This is because the fasting window is relatively small, much of the fasting occurs during sleep, and the person can consume the same number of calories each day. The easiest way to do the 12- to 16-hour fast is to include the period of sleep in the fasting window.

For example, a person could choose to fast between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. They would need to finish their dinner before and eat breakfast after, but would be asleep for much of the time in between.

Fasting for several hours a day has nothing to do with “starving” (the April 14 letter writer’s word). I stop eating at 7 p.m. and don’t eat again until 9:30 the next morning, and it works, plus it makes losing weigh easier, meaning we can feel better about ourselves — so less stress!

Marilyn Mangan, Mound


Stop asking; I’m tired of telling

Anyone else tired of writing or just being asked to write a review? You cannot buy merchandise or a service without a request for a rating, feedback or review. Buying groceries or any merchandise, getting an oil change, every doctor visit, bringing your dog to the vet, going out to eat …

I recently had some collision damage repaired at a car dealer’s body shop. The shop contracts out to a review agency, which contacted me by e-mail (which I ignored), then called at 7 one evening. There were several 1-to-10-scale questions on all aspects of the repairs and similar questions about my insurance company. Being that I was satisfied (because everything went as expected), I gave a 10 on most questions. But that wasn’t enough — they asked “why do you say 10?” I renewed the vow to myself to never do reviews again.

Philip Wagner, Minneapolis