Letters to the Editor 09-09-2015

Blaming violence on true culprits

Dear Editor,

After seeing Vester Flanagan gunning down those two journalists, recording it all, sending off a 23-page manifesto, then calling ABC news while he was on the run, I’ve reached the conclusion our society is reaping the seeds it has sown.

The root cause of all of this has been the breakdown of the family, which started with the divorce craze in the 1970s. Today, too many children are growing up unsupervised, and the parental vacuum in many homes has been filled by the media, Hollywood and TV. Seeking the almighty dollar and appealing to the sinful side of human nature, the media is peddling titillating violence, promiscuous sex, drug use, kill-and-be-killed video games or whatever gets them ratings and viewers. Our nation’s developing children are seeing this all, absorbing it all, and unfortunately too many are becoming what they have been fed and then are acting it out.

The media coverage makes these young killers household names — think Dylann Roof and James Holmes — glamorizing them with infamy and encouraging more to act out, seeking the same notoriety.

This was not the cultural dynamic of in the 1950s or the “Leave It To Beaver” generation of the early 1960s. Today it is; heck, today we have terms like “snuff movies.” No need to say more; our society is in a self-feeding downward spiral that we must grab hold of and stop.

So far, the talking heads in the media are blaming guns and mental illness. Neither are the root cause. When are our elected leaders going to point a finger at the breakdown of the family and the media, which is feeding our children all this violence?

Alex Saitta



Thankful for change in district

Dear Editor,

I write this letter with a heart filled with gratitude and thanks.

[cointent_lockedcontent]I am grateful for the step increases that the School District of Pickens County’s Board of Trustees recently put in place for the teachers of the district.

At Pickens High School, I was able to hire five top-level first-year candidates to fill vacancies left by wonderful teachers with years of experience. One brand-new teacher greeted students in mathematics, science, and English respectively, and two met students in social studies.

These first-year teachers are second to none academically and are equipped by professional preparation to lead students in the path of excellence.

We were also able to hire three veteran teachers, two of whom are outstanding teachers from neighboring districts. This is possible in part because our school board placed a priority on hiring the brightest and best early and restoring the steps in the pay scale! I am thankful to the board for giving us a competitive advantage in hiring!

With the additional pay steps in place, the SDPC takes a backseat to no one. Thank you, school board for placing your vision and leadership in securing these folks and many others for the benefit of our 16,000-plus students.

I understand that the vote was not unanimous. I also understand that the dissenting vote was not against the third step per se, rather it was a vote to wait one year on adding it. I am thankful to live in these United States, where a dissenting voice can be heard and where we don’t have to all agree on everything. We have the right to disagree. As good citizens, we can do so respectfully.

I am also thankful for the strong leadership of the district administration. Dr. Danny Merck and his team have shown the district a vision and given us a five-year plan of action. Good planning, open and honest communication and a clear focus on the students’ well-being have placed us on the road to excellence district-wide. A winning culture prevails in the SDPC.

It is important that we all notice that the landscape of education has changed dramatically over the past decade. Public education began in one-room schoolhouses and progressed through the decades to be the primary promoter of democracy in America. Now it has grown to offer families choice in everything, from location and curriculum to a fully virtual online model.

The beauty of public education is that it is offered to all. The difficulty of public education is that it is offered to all. The challenge for SDPC and other districts is to anticipate the needs of our community and provide an excellent education with a broad brush that prepares students for college, career and citizenship. What a task! What an opportunity!

Finally, I am thankful for the citizens of Pickens County who spoke up for public education. Realizing that a strong partnership between school and community is necessary, many citizens, business owners, industry leaders, economic experts and public servants voiced their commitment to public education by calling for a commitment to a budget that included provisions to hire the very best teachers. We must believe that our greatest resources in Pickens County are our young people. We must also believe in the power of teamwork! Working together as citizens, families, business leaders, district leaders and school board leaders, we can meet the challenges of the day and present a winning model for all to see! Thank you all!

Marion Lawson


Pickens High School