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OpinionLetters

Reading books, body cam pay, litter

A Suffolk County Police highway patrol officer wears

A Suffolk County Police highway patrol officer wears a body camera outside headquarters in Yaphank in 2017. Credit: James Carbone

Students grow by reading books

As I read the editorial "Book limits unwise" [June 27], I was reminded of books I have taught. "Inherit the Wind," for example, is a play based on the famous Scopes Trial of 1925, in which a biology teacher was prosecuted for teaching about evolution. Both the trial and the play are fundamentally about intellectual freedom, and also about what and how children are taught.

I expect it is only a matter of time before a teacher is put on trial for teaching about race relations in this country, probably in a state currently trying to outlaw the teaching of that misunderstood subject "critical race theory."

I’m retired, but if I were not, would I get into trouble for teaching African American poets such as Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen? Or the play "Fences"? Or even "Huckleberry Finn"? One can’t teach these important works of American literature without confronting issues of race, prejudice, inequality and more.

I agree with the editorial that "the value of an education lies in challenging students . . . preparing them for the staggering realities that exist in adulthood . . ."

We do them a disservice when we limit their ability to understand the injustices of our world.

Ellen Solow Holzman, Mattituck

The writer taught English at The Wheatley School for 24 years.

It is appalling that parents of high school students want to censor a book, allegedly because of its "graphic depictions" of sex and violence.

I must wonder whether these same parents monitor the video games their young adult children play, or whether they monitor the content of the movies they see or other books they read.

I wonder, too, what their responses might be to bullying and harassment by their young adult children. This is an editorial everyone should read.

Barbara Cannova, Bay Shore

While I have not read "Persepolis," I have read other material about what happened in Iran, and I believe it is important for our students to learn that loss of individual freedoms for women is not merely a story in "The Handmaid’s Tale" but an actual event that occurred, and not in the distant past but recently.

It’s frightening that so many people in our country today embrace fiction over fact. Just look at our nation through the lens of the fall of the Roman Empire.

Barbara Haynes, Hauppauge

Extra body cam pay makes no sense

I’ve read and reread the articles on the body cam pay and cannot comprehend this ["Cop body cam pay OKd," News, June 29].

I work in health care, which has numerous updates, policy changes and improvements, from equipment changes to documentation, all in the name of better servicing our patients. Never are we compensated with more money for doing the job we were trained to do. Using new items, services, etc. is considered part of one’s profession, and you must adapt.

So the Nassau County patrol officers, who are paid very nicely to begin with, cry about having to use body cams and claim they must be paid to adapt to new job standards. Are they worried that they will be accountable for their actions, which will now be viewable? If so, that in itself is concerning.

What’s the next step? Every time the police get a new piece of equipment or protocol, will taxpayers be called upon to fund them more money?

It’s time for the police to do their jobs without whining about it.

Vicki Appel, Massapequa Park

Throughout my work years, I have found that some hazardous tools require hazard pay. Most tools used by certain trades are tools of the trade that are nonhazardous, requiring no extra stipends.

I believe that when a tool benefits the trade in its daily operation and is not hazardous, it requires no extra stipends. Especially when the cost is shouldered by the paying public.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran says the cost of the tool is from a fund of $8 million. However, $3,000 for each of 1,700 patrol officers to be paid for using them totals $5.1 million, and the cameras cost another $5 million. That leaves a deficit of $2.1 million of public money.

The cameras are to benefit the carrier from future personal lawsuits and to aid the enforcement agency in the apprehension of suspected law infractions. Curran seems to be buttering her bread on both sides.

Roy Willis, Massapequa

If wearing a body cam is part of the police duties and uniform, then it is just another one of their duties and they should not get extra money.

The annual $5.1 million payment to patrol officers is a waste of money, in my opinion.

The $3,000 per officer should be used for additional training on how to be a proper officer and how to best carry out one’s duties.

Charles Waxman, Floral Park

Ticket and fine people who litter

II totally agree with a reader regarding the filthy roadways created by littering ["‘Cleanup man’ efforts hit nerve about LI tidiness," Letters, June 27].

It’s time to start ticketing and getting these people to pay fines and do community service picking up garbage. Not sure why it is not common sense to throw your garbage in the garbage can as opposed to onto the street, but it is a total disgrace.

Every time we go on vacation to Florida, the first thing I notice is how clean it is there. I applaud Mel Silverman for picking up litter in his Coram neighborhood; I occasionally do it in mine as well. I used to say something when I saw people throw garbage out their car window, but I don’t do it anymore because there are too many crazy people driving around.

It’s time to hold people responsible for keeping Long Island clean and show respect for the environment.

Donna Lasko, Bethpage

Why can’t inmates serving short sentences for nonviolent crimes pick up roadway litter? Or when an offender is sentenced to "community service," why not have the person serve the community by picking up litter?

Peter Kelly, Medford

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