My wife and I and two friends went to dinner recently at a restaurant in Smithtown. About halfway through our meal, a party of about 10 people sat at the next table.

Pretty soon, a child of about 9 or 10 in that party began a very loud and long rant that disrupted our time in the restaurant. There was no, and I mean NO, attempt on the part of any parent or adult to moderate his loudness or mention that he might be disrupting other customers!

This is not the first time I've seen this. On a visit to a local barbecue restaurant, my party was subjected to a 3-year-old screaming his wants and desires at the top of his lungs for almost our entire meal. No adults at his table took action.

I can only attribute this to the narcissistic attitude that seems to pervade our culture: Because it is my child, he or she can do anything in a public place. To deny the child the right to disrupt others' meal might harm his or her delicate ego. And it might require the parents to demonstrate some responsibility.

Complaints to management in both cases yielded no tangible result. We will simply never go to these restaurants again, and we made that clear. Sad.

Nicholas Dallis, Smithtown

School taxes are a community investment

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So here's the thing I would ask the writers of "Agree that seniors' taxes must be cut" [Letters, June 13]: Who paid the school taxes when their children were being educated? I'm sure all the senior citizens residing on this island were doing their share so children could be educated. Now it's the letter writers' turn. They should stop blubbering about it.

I'm also a senior citizen. My husband and I raised four children, all of whom received excellent educations in Long Island public schools, properly paid for with tax money.

I agree that school taxes are high. The cost of living on Long Island is high, and education is expensive. I have no idea how many children we "educate for free whose families don't contribute to the tax roll," but I'm assuming it could be because of the amount of illegal housing on Long Island. Maybe something should be done to legalize housing for more people, and then they also could pay school taxes.

It's true that the cost of living and the cost of education are far less in other states, particularly in the South and Midwest. People in those states receive a lot less for their taxes than we do. Sometimes you get what you pay for.

Patricia Greco, Massapequa

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Go inside New York politics.

I am a senior citizen and was a homeowner on Long Island for 45 years. In recent weeks I have read numerous letters in Newsday from seniors stating that they feel their school taxes should be reduced because they no longer have kids in school.

This thinking amazes me. Education is the key factor in both the success of individuals and our nation. Anything we can do to help in that cause should be done willingly.

More selfishly for homeowners, a good school district results in elevated home prices when someone chooses to sell.

The argument that your taxes should be cut because you have no children in school makes me ask, when your children were going to school enjoying electives and art, music and sports programs, did you worry about how the senior down the street was paying for it?

I seriously doubt that for a single minute. Instead you were thrilled with all the opportunities that a full school program provided your children. Maybe you should give that some thought now.

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Robert Melo, Sayville

Editor's note: The writer is a retired public school teacher.