Letters to the Editor

Bullying, sleepy students, gas prices, oil trains, torture

Victims punished more than bullies

Re “Ronin Shimizu’s life again shines light on bullying” (Editorials, Dec. 11): As a high school student who has been bullied since elementary school, I understand some of what Ronin Shimizu went through. One of the biggest problems in my district is how bullying is handled by school officials. Victims are required to talk things out and even apologize to bullies when they have done nothing but cry out for help.

For me, this made an already humiliating situation excruciating. First, I’m made to feel worthless by other students, and then administrators and teachers give bullies more power by letting them know they can keep hurting others without consequences. It has become pointless for me to report bullying because I’m punished more than the bully. Despite my district’s zero tolerance policy, bullying nearly destroyed my life and it ended Shimizu’s.

If Folsom Cordova truly wants to prevent another tragedy like Shimizu’s, they must change their policies, and stop requiring victims to confront bullies.

Jake Linn, Folsom

Parents must deal with bullies

I’m assuming poor Ronin knew the names of kids who bullied him and he told his parents, who in turn told the schools. Schools say personnel can track and counsel the children who suffer at the hands of bullies.

What consequence did schools give to the bullies and their guardians? Did the schools Ronin attend have meetings with the parents of the bullies and did they know the cruel torment their child put upon Ronin?

Parents shape their child’s actions and attitudes. If there is no discussion within the family, this atrocious behavior will not stop. If bullies are not dealt with, they keep their skills honed and will cause another child to see suicide as the only solution. There must be knowledge and acknowledgment in families to know the ongoing cruelty their child put on another that caused him or her to take their own life.

Misty Dailey, Sacramento

Punishment not enough

People ridicule what they don’t understand, be it cultural differences, sexual orientation, career choices, physical challenges or any of a myriad of other characteristics that separate us. Lack of understanding makes us fearful of those who are considered “different.” When we are fearful, we feel a loss of control and strike back either physically or verbally.

This angel of a child, young Ronin Shimizu, couldn’t possibly know that the bullies who tormented him were tormented themselves. They feared him and his freedom to be himself, so they beat him down verbally to regain control of themselves.

These bullies are as responsible for his death as if they had used a gun. They know who they are and what they did, and that knowledge will be a life sentence for each of them. Punishment for bullying is certainly appropriate; however, until those who bully understand why they attempt to physically or verbally destroy people, sadly I don’t think that punishment alone will change much.

Deanna Holman, Stockton

Kids should go to bed earlier

Re “Sleep essential for success” (Letters, Dec. 11): Students have always gone to school around 8 a.m. and done just fine academically – assuming they were inclined to do so. Yet now, lack of sleep is added to the myriad of reasons why public school performance is below expectations.

The suggested solution appears to be that schools start later. I am a high school teacher, and in surveying my classes, I discovered that half of my students go to bed after midnight, and an equal number occasionally don’t go to bed at all. How is that the problem of the school system?

Students simply need to go to bed earlier, and their parents need to see to it that they do. When this happens, you will see a measurable improvement in student attitude and work quality. Parents and students are responsible for making sure that kids are getting enough sleep, not the schools.

Donna Baca, Sacramento

Where’s GOP Obama praise?

Re “Lower gas cost may aid economy” (Page A1, Dec. 11): In the past few years, the Republican Party has blamed the very high price of gasoline on President Barack Obama’s energy program.

Now that prices for gas are relatively low, when are Republicans going to praise the president’s energy program?

Charles C. Clayton, Walnut Grove

Oil derailment possible

Re “Derailment stokes worry over oil shipments in scenic canyon” (Page A1, Dec. 7): Although it was “just a corn derailment,” a similar oil derailment in the future is a possibility. That would ruin our water supply for some time.

Perhaps a posted bond for the value of the water behind the Oroville Dam is in order. And why doesn’t Union Pacific bring the oil to California by way of tracks across the Tehachapi Pass, which does not have the water contamination risk?

Kieran Fitzpatrick, Sacramento

Prisons torture, too

Re “Will we torture again? Reaction to report is alarming” (Viewpoints, Dec. 11): I appreciated E.J. Dionne’s commentary, particularly his insight into the fact that post-9/11 fear laid the basis for much of the U.S. population’s acceptance of torture as necessary to defending American lives.

But rather than asking if we would torture again, I urge us to ask ourselves: “Are we torturing now?”

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation assures us that to protect us against “the worst of the worst,” it’s necessary to hold human beings in the torturous conditions of solitary confinement, sometimes for decades. The CIA may have written the playbook, but CDCR is using it every day, from Tehachapi to Pelican Bay.

Donna Willmott, Oakland

Report itself is torture

Re “The harsh truth on CIA torture finally comes out” (Editorials, Dec. 10): The Bee’s editorial board once again is the only source one needs to rely on for news. It has now proclaimed that the so-called torture inflicted upon our enemies wasn’t effective.

The source? Senate Intelligence Committee staffers. The fact is that conclusion is disputed not only by the president’s own CIA director but by many others in the intelligence community.

How can a report that interviewed none of the accused be believed when all that was relied on in the report were other reports and documents? The only real torture in this matter is the report itself.

Randy Rendig, Camino

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