Sixth-grader Bella Moscato, 11, and her mother, Valerie, hold a...

Sixth-grader Bella Moscato, 11, and her mother, Valerie, hold a signed letter for Bella from President Donald Trump at their home in Lake Ronkonkoma on April 24. Credit: Barry Sloan

If it’s true that sixth-grader Bella Moscato’s teacher discouraged her from writing about her hero, President Donald Trump, for a class assignment, then the teacher acted inappropriately [“Student gets letter from her hero Trump,” News, April 25]. However, Bella’s mother may wish to address the teacher’s rationale with her daughter.

I teach at a public charter school in Brooklyn with a heavy immigrant population where it would be unlikely for children to write about Trump as their hero, but I’d support any student who chose to do so.

Even my school’s youngest students are aware of other children who share their ethnicity being interned and separated from their parents at the Southern border as a result of Trump’s policy. Our Muslim students understand the implications of the president’s fiery rhetoric, as do students whose families hail from African nations the president has described with an expletive.

Given the chance, I’d ask Bella’s mother, who said she doesn’t care what Trump did 20 years ago, whether she was concerned with the lewd comments he made on a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape. Would she address with Bella the president’s profanity-laced tweets, and would she let Bella use such language so as not to censor her daughter’s First Amendment rights?

Jason Gorbel,


People can vote for whoever they believe represents their policy priorities, including Donald Trump. However, encouraging a child to hero-worship a serial bully is both sad and scary. Knowing what we now know about the insidious effects of bullying, and especially the sometimes life-threatening toll it takes on young people, I would hope that responsible adults would encourage children to admire and emulate those who display a high level of respect, compassion and tolerance, regardless of their political preferences.

Linda Lesner,


An article taking up a full page about a letter a student received from President Donald Trump? Obviously, this child was coached by the parent who said she didn’t care what Trump did, 10, 20 or 30 years ago.

Well maybe her daughter will care when she realizes what he did. Trump encouraged Bella to show her leadership. Maybe he should show his.

Elizabeth Leyser,


Utility of Vivitrol is often overstated

We are only now hearing about Vivitrol as a treatment for opioid addiction because of past problems in its marketing and price [“A drug to help addicts,” News, April 14].

Vivitrol’s aggressive marketing initially targeted habitual opioid users, who were unlikely to inject themselves to decrease the effects of their high. Functioning chemically like Narcan (naloxone), Vivitrol blocks all types of opioid receptors.

Various medication assisted treatments (MAT) are necessary to combat the opioid crisis. However, the utility of Vivitrol is often overstated. It can be difficult for those who seek MAT to rely solely on Vivitrol due to its sudden action and intermittent use: Patients are deprived of the guidance through the gradual decline that will keep them off opiates for years to come.

Concurrently, the abuse potential of Suboxone is grossly overstated. It is a partial opiate combined with Naloxone, a drug with the same chemical action as Vivitrol. The abuse potential of Suboxone is low; it suppresses all activity on every opioid receptors but one, where it acts at low strength in only some receptors.

The benefits of Vivitrol should be considered more realistically: More medical oversight and a gradual detox are a benefit, not a detriment.

Joshua Kindler,

Sea Cliff

Editor’s note: The writer, a graduate student in public health, is an intern at the Nassau County Department of Human Services, where he assists in promoting and organizing Narcan training.

Check with the League of Women Voters

The April 27 Opinion page item “Phone book not so helpful” reported on outdated listings for county officials in the Verizon Yellow Pages.

If only Newsday’s readers knew about the resources readily available from the League of Women Voters. Our chapters in Suffolk and Nassau counties publish annual directories of officials in print and on online. Go to and

The guides list federal, state, county, town and local elected officials, with office addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and websites, as well as salaries and terms of office.

Our Suffolk directory breaks down the county budget in text and charts, and lists contact information for key agencies. It provides a map of county legislative districts and a list of legislative committees with members, meeting days and times.

Explore this invaluable and comprehensive nonpartisan community resource!

Lisa Scott,

St. James

Editor’s note: The writer is president of the League of Women Voters of Suffolk County.

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