Letters to the Editor To the Editor:

Published 4:41 am Friday, March 14, 2003

By Staff
Penny Wise – Pound Foolish
Our county commissioners have a responsibility to do what is in the best interest of the residents of Beaufort County. Their past few meetings have provided many opportunities to do expressly that. More often than not, these opportunities have been wasted.
Beaufort County is losing experienced employees because nearby counties and state offices offer higher salaries, more benefits and better working conditions. We have become a training ground for the rest of Eastern North Carolina.
Our sheriff's request to fill five staff vacancies was shot down with little regard for the safety of citizens. In order to save face, authorization was given to fill three positions. Sheriff Jordan was overwhelmingly elected because our citizens believe he is doing his best to protect and uphold the law.
Support for a new jail has been questioned. Testimony by citizens and law enforcement officers has left no doubt that jail conditions are in a dangerous state. Staff is expected to operate in this threatening atmosphere. They have to endure the unsafe, unsanitary and unhealthy conditions along with the prisoners. Not all prisoners are guilty felons. No one should have to work or live in fear of suffocation in an unvented jail should a fire break out.
Volunteer EMS and firemen's requests for financial relief due to a tax miscalculation have been denied. Instead, they were told to exhaust their emergency fund before returning for help. Is it wise to drain emergency funds? What if there were no volunteers? Who will replace these brave men and women who sacrifice their personal and family time? Remember they are not paid employees.
The director of the Department of Social Services' request to fill a budgeted vacancy was recently denied a second time. Before rendering final judgment on the needs of DSS, state and federal mandates must be observed. The commissioners can count on costly sanctions by the state if the DSS is found in non-compliance with regulations governing Social Services programs.
It might behoove our commissioners to:
1. Ride with sheriff deputies when answering calls for help. 2. Visit the jail and spend some time in the dungeon. 3. Make a run with volunteer EMS/firemen and experience life and death situations. 4. Spend a day at DSS with caseworkers assisting troubled and poor families.
By denying these reasonable requests, they are crippling the effectiveness of those departments. This could lead to costly lawsuits due to liability issues. Building on this premise, I agree with Sunday's WDN editorial that implies that these actions could be interpreted as a (political) witch-hunt.
Now we face an unsettling situation with our county manager being ousted at budget time. Don Davenport was not found to be negligent in his duties. Was this move made in the best interest of Beaufort County citizens?
It appears that common sense is being sacrificed in the name of politics.
To the Editor:
As a parent, it is my responsibility to do what is right for my children in their best interest, to protect and defend my children's well-being, to do the best that I can to ensure their safety, and to be actively involved in their education.
"The mission of Washington High School is to nurture all students and educate them to their fullest potential." Yet, the Washington High School students are not allowed to go to the bathroom without a doctor's note. This is a violation of a fundamental human right. It is now considered as a privilege, not a human right! However, it is a physiological necessity that is being restricted and denied to the children. These kids are being forced to retain their bodily waste in the name of "Discipline and Responsibility!" It's wrong! It is a form of child maltreatment; abuse. I understand there are those children who take advantage of the "bathroom privilege," but this is no excuse to punish and abuse our children by denying them their right to release human waste and imposing a health risk to our children.
Being forced to hold human waste can cause health problems to our children. Just ask any doctor.
Supposedly, teachers have the authority to manage their class, why then, are some teachers at the Washington High School being sternly spoken to by school administration in regards to allowing their students go to the bathroom despite the rule. I would like to say, "Thank you" to those teachers who tried and are trying to do what is right for our children.
Calling the Beaufort County Schools superintendent will get you nowhere concerning issues and problems that parents are having here in the city of Washington public schools. I have called Mr. Parker concerning problems, and he says, "You need to contact the principal of the school to address any concerns that you have." So, this means, a parent cannot get help from the superintendent, and can get no resolve with the principal. You just run around in circles wasting time while your child is being neglected or abused at school, or being unjustly punished for either a petty thing or a human right in the name of discipline.
The Beaufort County Schools teach children that abuse is wrong, yet it contradicts itself with its actions.
Well, I am one concerned parent who has had enough of the neglect and evasion from the Beaufort County Department of Education, and its refusal to resolve ongoing problems. This bathroom issue is but one in many within our schools.
It's the schools responsibility to ensure the safety of the students … and they are not doing their job. It's Child Neglect and Abuse.
I believe in education, but this is not my idea of education.