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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 01/21/2017

Restricting rights won’t solve safety issues

Restricting rights won’t solve safety issues

*Restricting rights won’t solve safety issues *Libraries are instrumental to early learning

Restricting rights won’t solve safety issues

If a man shouts “fire” in a crowded theater, is the correct response to take away the freedom of speech of all people to make sure nobody shouts it again?

If religion zealotry drives a person to do something violent, is the correct response to ban certain religions and require people to register what faith they belong to with the state?

If a person votes for a lousy candidate, who does immense damage to the country, should we restrict the rights of all voters out of fear they might make a bad choice a second time?

The obvious answer is no, yet this is exactly the type of action Democrats are taking with regards to the Second Amendment. Instead of trying to get the mentally ill off the streets, or improve school security, their response to school shootings is to try and strip non-violent gun owners of a natural right. They do this despite that fact that they swore an oath of office to uphold the Constitution and the rights it explicitly protects. Some might argue that we all must give up some freedom to live in a civilized society. That is true, but there are rights that are retained by people even in a social setting.

The “right to bear arms” is one of those rights. It would not have been included so prominently in the Constitution if it wasn’t. People have a right to bear arms to defend themselves and their families against criminals, and even against their own government should it ever start down the path of tyranny.

It is as important a right as all others, perhaps more so since, when all trapping of civilized behavior have been stripped away, the ability to employ force may become the only way a person can truly defend their freedom.

Efforts to limit or do away with that right should not be tolerated from any elected official.

David Welch

Scotia

Libraries are instrumental to early learning

In today’s climate of ever-shrinking funding, hard decisions need to be made in order to balance the school budget. As you consider where to make cuts and what programs to eliminate, please consider the following information about school library programs and school librarians.

While all school libraries are important, we believe that school libraries, especially elementary school libraries, and certified school librarians to staff them are needed now more than ever. As you know, elementary school provides the basis upon which all further education is built. A strong school library program in elementary school will result in the future success of your students as they move toward college and careers.

Strong school libraries build strong students. Schools must empower our students to be ethical decision-makers, effective users of information, creative thinkers, and innovative problem-solvers. School library programs are critical to provide all students and the entire school community with the resources, the instruction, the opportunities, and the leadership to prepare for college, career, and lifelong learning. Certified school librarians:

Provide technology to the entire school community and the necessary instruction to find the most reliable information, how to stay safe online, and how to use this information ethically. This is digital literacy.

Provide students with vicarious experiences with other cultures, mores, and lifestyles for a better understanding of themselves and their place in society.

Provide for interaction with carefully selected resources and tools necessary for students to create products that demonstrate authentic learning.

Collaborate with teachers to select the most engaging and appropriate resources and learning experiences to co-teach subject content and the critical thinking skills needed to meet the Common Core State Standards.

Involve the school community in literacy initiatives and teaching reading comprehension skills in order to ensure that students think critically, and produce knowledge from the ideas and information with which they interact.

We call on the members of the board of education of every school to please consider these points before making a decision to eliminate any school library program run by a certified school librarian.

Carol Ann Germain

Sue Kowalski

Guilderland

The writers are, respectively, president of the New York Library Association, and president of New York Library Association-Secondary School Libraries.

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