Letters to the editor for Feb. 10

Educational mission was undermined

Kudos to the Tenino Education Association for its forthright stand on the athletic code violation issue reported in The Olympian. I didn't know whether to cry or scream when I first read about it. This is a no-brainer!

Every school should have a stringent code for extracurricular participation. Signatures should be required for both students and parents/

guardians. No signatures, no participation. The code - which amounts to a social contract - should be strictly and consistently enforced - no exceptions for anyone. One strike and you're out!

Fundamentally, this is a matter of locatability, accountability and responsibility for students and the choices they make. The lessons ought to be taught at home and reinforced by the schools.

By yielding to pressure, the school board has undermined the district's educational mission, inferentially saying the rules aren't for everyone and letting students know they can get away with whatever the traffic will bear. Those are hardly the values young people should be carrying into a troubled world which needs all the ethical leadership it can muster.

Dick Nichols, Tumwater

Tenino School Board extends its authority

In the discussion about the Tenino sports policy the following should be noted. There is no requirement that the infraction be part of any official investigation nor that the school must have been notified by the authorities of the violation.

The violations are not required to have occurred on school property or at an officially sanctioned school event. The children are interrogated without representation by their parents or any other non-school authority. During this surprise interview, they are encouraged by authority figures to confess and to tell all that they know about any events and any other persons involved. Any violation is assumed to have happened based solely on the word of another student or parent.

The school is the sole authority on these matters and there is no appeal process to any other group, i.e. the legal system. It is at the school's discretion as to what will be the result of an infraction. Under consideration is restriction of sports participation, community service, drug and alcohol testing and/or psychiatric evaluations. It would appear that the Tenino School District intends to extend its authority into those areas of responsibility already covered by parents and local police without consulting the populace as to whether it is in fact necessary or desired.

Deea J. Niemi, Rochester

Gay rights bill is especially important

I hoped to testify recently for Senate Bill 5336, which would protect individuals in domestic partnerships by granting certain rights and benefits.

I would have liked to join my voice to those battling for equal rights. This bill is a large step for granting equal rights for gays and lesbians - similar to legislation of years gone by for African-Americans and women.

I believe this bill is especially important, based on the horror stories I have heard of the outrageous experiences of gays and lesbians in situations this bill attempts to address.

To supporters of the bill - I applaud you!

For legislators waffling on the fence, I urge you to take this opportunity to take a stand for a more just America. A regret of mine is not having spoken loudly enough for equal rights for blacks and women, when they were the prevalent issues.

Please don't make that mistake on this issue.

The actions of those who oppose the bill are as uninformed and cruel as George Wallace was 44 years ago when he so fiercely defended against equal rights. Those who oppose the fairness of equal rights for gays and lesbians will have to explain their actions to future generations - a task I don't envy.

I want all three of my daughters to have the same rights as my wife and I have enjoyed for 24 years, regardless of their sexual orientation. One is gay.

Please encourage your senator to vote "yes" for the bill.

Jeff Loyer, Olympia