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Teacher safety must be addressed

On Jan. 2, a group of teachers came to Lincoln to explain disruptions and safety concerns they are experiencing in their classrooms in Nebraska school districts. They spoke of being spit upon, kicked, verbally abused, touched inappropriately and physically assaulted. They were deeply concerned about the disruption to the learning environment, the safety of the children and their personal mental health and safety. They came asking for support of a bill to deal with this increasing problem in our elementary and secondary schools.

We are sure this took a great deal of courage in deciding to publicly speak out regarding this issue. This is not a time to say, “This does not happen in our schools.” It is a time to be responsible and hold students accountable for their behavior and demonstrate to our teachers that we respect and appreciate their work and support them in maintaining a safe place to learn for all children.

We don’t write this to place blame anywhere, but we must also say it is not a time to put our heads in the sand. School districts have rightfully spent thousands of dollars on school security and procedures for keeping students and staff safe from the outside. Let’s be sure students and staff are safe from those inside who disrupt the day through school behaviors not conducive to learning. Our teachers deserve action on this problem now!

Bob and Mary Lykke, Omaha

Omaha officer’s lawsuit

After reading the article “Captain says complaints cost her promotions” (Jan. 1, World-Herald), I am thoroughly convinced more than ever that the good ol’ boy network continues within city governments. The allegations by Capt. Kathy Belcastro-Gonzalez have merit.

First of all, current Deputy Chief Kerry Neumann should have been removed from the entire case because of what Belcastro-Gonzalez’s lawsuit called his previous conduct involving women in the workplace and “despite a history of unresolved or otherwise buried internal affairs complaints for sexual harassment and treating women disparately in the workplace.” The performance of former human resources director Tim Young lacked credibility in his investigation of the matter by cherry-picking witnesses who were “uninvolved” instead of interviewing witnesses provided by Belcastro-Gonzalez, according to the lawsuit.

As a former city employee, I can completely understand the frustration of Belcastro-Gonzalez and the additional concern of several female co-workers. The application process conducted by an outside agency and the process identified as an Assessment Center are next to flawless. For Chief Todd Schmaderer to send the eligibility list and the scores back to the outside agency to be rescored, not once but twice, according to the lawsuit, raises too many red flags. There’s a reason number one is ranked number one.

I was honored to serve on a number of Assessment Center employment testing processes for command staff for the City of Omaha and the City of Bellevue, Police and Fire, and never, I repeat, never did either city request that the application process be “rescored.” It just doesn’t happen!

James B. Kresnik, Omaha

Electoral College failures

When Donald Trump won the 2016 general election by receiving over 3.5 million fewer popular votes than Hillary Clinton, it was one of those rare moments in America when someone wins by losing. Al Gore’s close loss to George W. Bush in 2000 was another painful loss where an Electoral College formula won out over popular opinion.

And yet, Jeff Miller (Public Pulse, Jan. 2) argues that the “Electoral College is in the Constitution for a reason, that all American citizens’ votes would count, no matter where they lived.”

Seemingly, Miller thinks that votes from crazy liberals in California should count less than those of radical conservatives in Texas, semi-literate racists in Mississippi and news-starved cowboys in Wyoming. Never mind that all registered voters are, theoretically, created equal, are 100% homo sapiens and live in a country where no state is considered more deserving or privileged than any other.

Honestly, should Electoral College figures, formulas, weightings and old-fashioned discrimination continue? Or, honestly, should all votes matter and be counted? One person, one vote. Winner take all. The only solution, for the sake of fairness.

Ron Holscher, Ogallala

Be morally consistent

I would like to ask Len Sagenbrecht (Jan. 8 Public Pulse) just what he would call the killing of Osama bin Laden by former President Barack Obama? He states that “justice means capturing and bringing heinous criminals to responsibility and trial” and revenge means “eye for an eye, tooth for tooth hostility.”

He also states that he never thought he would see the day when the USA would forgo justice and stoop to revenge.

Again, what would he call the killing of Osama bin Laden?

Cheryl Hardin, La Vista

Elkhorn River concern

The Elkhorn River west of Norfolk and north of Battle Creek is creating a large bow and is eroding at an alarming pace. In a short amount of time some of the multimillion-dollar U.S. Highway 275 will be unusable. Madison County lost Old Highway 8 to the same type of oxbow two miles upstream. It used to be that the channel could be straightened and run straight through the bridge, but not anymore. Common sense got thrown out with the dishwater.

Jim Prauner, Battle Creek, Neb.

Creighton players are sportsmen

Thank you to Creighton junior Mitch Ballock and sophomore Marcus Zegarowski. These two student-athletes were kind enough to sign autographs for my boys before the Marquette game. My boys were absolutely thrilled. They will not soon forget New Years’s Day 2020.

Creighton is fortunate to have players such as these. Not only are they skilled and hard-working, but they are also excellent sportsmen and representatives of the university. Just another reason to love this team.

Dave Semerad, Omaha

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