The new HPV vaccine to combat cervical cancer is displayed.

The new HPV vaccine to combat cervical cancer is displayed. Credit: MCT/Sharon Gekoski-Kimmel

State would overstep in requiring HPV shots

Thank you for reporting on bills in Albany that would require schoolchildren in New York to be given the human papillomavirus vaccine without requiring that their parents agree or even know about the shots [“State bill proposes: Mandatory HPV vaccine for students,” News, Nov. 24].

I am a big believer in vaccines, including the flu shot every year, but I have serious problems equating the HPV vaccine, which aims to prevent a sexually transmitted disease, with the standard vaccinations New York State requires schoolchildren to get to prevent communicable diseases.

It is certainly within the interest of the state to prevent communicable diseases that are easily transmitted, especially in school settings. The recent worldwide measles epidemic illustrates the importance of preventing serious diseases. However, the state has no place to compel parents to have their children receive a vaccine to prevent HPV, which is spread through sexual contact, not a sneeze or open wound.

Amanda Bonagura, Floral Park

The push to have an HPV vaccination forced into New York’s children raises the question of limits on the power of state politicians.

To compel use of a vaccine that prevents a sexually transmitted disease — one which often can be prevented with use of a condom, and which your story says usually goes away without creating health problems — is an absurdity. Why not force-inject children with methadone on the off chance they decide to sample heroin?

The state appears to be stepping without a blush of shame into a moral matter. Such is the tenor of our times, when even the moral upbringing of our children becomes political.

Christopher J. Maloney, Wyandanch

Football officials need protection from abuse

A letter writer stated that immediate ejection of spectators or coaches who abuse referees at school football games would solve the problem, and that state legislation is unneeded [“Eject unruly fans to send a clear message,” Letters, Nov. 26]. This is incorrect.

The abuse occurs not only on the field, but also while officials are off the field, and even in the parking lot after games. We have documented incidents of parents in cars making threats and following as officials in their cars or on foot in parking lots.

If this continues, we cannot expect to attract new officials or retain good ones. You will never change bad behavior by simply ejecting people from games; it has got to go further.

Yes, we officials fully support legislation that would make it a felony to physically attack a referee and carry a maximum seven-year prison term, or make it a misdemeanor to threaten to attack a referee — or spit on them during a verbal attack — and carry a three-month jail term.

We deserve this protection on and off the field so we may go home thinking only about the game just completed.

Bob DeThomasis,


Editor’s note: The writer is president of the Long Island Association of Football Officials.

Educate children about past atrocities

Although it appears there was nothing anti-Semitic in the graffiti found at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, the choice of location sends a message that I am unsure those responsible intended to send [“Racial slur, graffiti found at Holocaust center: cops,” News, Nov. 27].

I believe we must do everything we can to educate our youth about hate symbols and the Holocaust. This is why I fully support the Never Again Education Act legislation in Congress that would authorize federal grants for Holocaust education in schools.

I also strongly support bills sponsored in Albany by Assemb. Charles Lavine and Sen. Todd Kaminsky that would require schools to teach children in grades six through 12 about the meaning of hate symbols, including the swastika and the noose. Education can mend this issue.

Jared Goerke, Plainview

This outrageous act of pure hate at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center is unacceptable. We must stand strong against the destructive forces of racism, classism, sexism and anti-Semitism anywhere and anytime they arise.

The Rev. Arthur L. Mackey Jr., Roosevelt

Editor’s note: The writer is a senior pastor at Mount Sinai Baptist Church Cathedral in Roosevelt.