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Editorials

  • Price for SROs in every school much too steep

    The tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., prompted many, if not most, schools systems across the country to re-evaluate their safety plans.
    It also has prompted calls from some — including people in Roane County — to dedicate a school resource officer at every school.
    Resource is a key word here. If resources were no object, it would be fine to assign an officer to every one of Roane County’s 17 elementary, middle and high schools.
    We could be even safer and assign an officer to each and every classroom.

  • Adding jail cells not the answer to our problem

    Recently, a reader commented that it might be less expensive to taxpayers to just  bail out nonviolent inmates at the county jail rather than pay for food, medical care, lodging and security to hold them for weeks on end.
    We can sympathize.
    Often times, it feels like law-abiding, taxpayers are the real people getting punished  when it comes to the costs of building and maintaining jails.
    We are glad county officials are willing to look more closely at alternatives to lengthy incarcerations.

  • GUEST OPINION:When online reviews lead to lawsuits

    By KEN PAULSON
    President, First Amendment Center
    When a Minnesota man felt his family was treated shabbily by a neurologist, he made sure the world knew about it.

    Dennis Laurion posted caustic reviews of Minnesota neurologist David McKee, saying he was insensitive to his father’s needs and claiming that a nurse called the doctor “a real tool.”

    This angered Mc-Kee, who offered his own prescription: a libel suit.

  • GUEST OPINION: Fifth-graders have rights to freedom, too

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    When people ask if children in public schools have First Amendment rights, I’m tempted to answer, “Only if you think they’re human.”

    After all, the U.S. Constitution recognizes that every person is born with certain inalienable rights not granted by the government, including freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment.

  • OUR OPINION: Pinkerton sets professionalism bar at Kingston

    The announcement of Kingston City Manager Jim Pinkerton’s retirement leaves us with mixed feelings.
    He has earned the opportunity to give up the working world and spend his free time as he sees fit.

    For that, we are happy for him and his wife, Wanda.

    On the other hand, it saddens us to think of Kingston city government without him.

    Pinkerton has been with Kingston for 12 years. He has done an excellent job advising and executing the demands of the city council and managing and taking care of city employees.

  • OUR OPINION: Disruptive time changes? Let’s put them to bed

    In Arizona, except for on one or two Indian reservations, the clocks never spring forward or fall back. They stay put all year.

    We should envy those well-rested people, even if daybreak there looms before 5 a.m. at the height of summer.

    Some people are calling for a change to our spring forward-fall back system, allowing the changes begin on Saturday, not Sunday, to give people an extra day to adjust

    We have a more reasonable idea: We’re of the opinion these Draconian time changes should be done away with completely.

  • GUEST EDITORIAL 1st Amendment: One woman’s lesson in liberty

    By Ken Paulson, President, First Amendment Center
    In 1940, a group of community leaders in Champaign, Ill., joined together to give young people a better moral foundation by offering religion classes in the public schools.

    It was creative, thoughtful and well-intended.  It was also unconstitutional.

    The Champaign public school district’s decision to invite representatives of multiple faiths to teach in its classrooms led to a historic U.S.  Supreme Court decision handed down 65 years ago on March 8, 1948.

  • GUEST OPINION: Can yoga be twisted into religion?

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    Is yoga secular or religious?

    That’s the conundrum at the heart of a new legal battle in Encinitas, Calif. over the teaching of yoga in public schools.

    In a lawsuit filed last month, a couple with two children in the Encinitas schools charge that the district is unconstitutionally promoting religion by giving yoga classes twice a week to students during the school day.

    School officials insist that the yoga classes are for physical fitness – and have nothing to do with religion or religious indoctrination.

  • OUR OPINION: Who is minding the store in Rockwood?

    Anyone seeing the list of alleged purchases made by former Rockwood public works director Tom Pierce should be furious that he was able to misuse public money with so little oversight.

    Eleven guns, ammo, women’s jeans, an online degree program, music, and not one, but two high-end digital cameras are among the personal items authorites said he purchased over a three-year period.

  • GUEST OPINION: When do student prayers cross the line?

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Students are free to pray in public schools – except when they aren’t.

    If this sounds confusing, pity school administrators charged with figuring out if and when to draw the line on student prayers.