Letters to the Editor

School board's arrogance transparent

On May 5, I attempted to go the Gwinnett County school board meeting involving teacher Larry Neace. I have three children that go to school in the Dacula cluster, but none are students of Neace. I was going to the meeting to hear some testimony about why Neace was relieved of his teaching duties. I have heard rumor through my son and read in the newspaper about some of Principal Nutt's actions that have concerned me. This incident and others have led me to question just who is running the school and to what degree they care about the students.

I arrived at the location about 15 to 20 minutes early, but all of the seats were already taken in the meeting room. A crowd of about 40 to 50 parents and students were out in the hallway when we were directed to go to the "Grayson Room." We were told that we could wait there for the outcome of the hearing. When asked about a closed-circuit TV or remote speaker, we were told there was none. As our group was moving past an opened door to the meeting room, Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks was observed standing by the door. A couple of parents cordially and respectfully called out to him by addressing him as "Mr. Wilbanks." The superintendent looked at them, then turned his back to them without saying a word. Another school board employee quickly jumped between the parent and the superintendent and said he would be speaking for the superintendent. This employee then told us that we had to clear the hallway, which would not let us be within earshot of the meeting.

Rather than go to some room, I decided to leave. As I was leaving the building, I passed several open doors to classrooms that had multiple computer monitors set up. I find it hard to believe that nobody could set up a remote transmission of the meeting in an adjoining room.

I learned later that the board had rubber stamped Nutt's decision. I feel bad that my children will not have the opportunity to be taught by Neace. The arrogance and indifference of the Gwinnett County school administration starts at the top and flows down.

- Mike Hinton


Both sides still can salvage situation

I think the fiasco created by the firing of Dacula High School physics teacher Larry "Doc" Neace by the Gwinnett County School System can be salvaged, with both sides gaining a favorable and face-saving outcome.

It would take concessions by both sides, adjustment of the wording of board policy and a change of policy on Neace's syllabus. And it should be carried out with the guidance of a mediator.

Maybe the school system can examine the confrontational process used in this case and adjust its policy of how administrators handle the district's business with their teachers who are handling the educating.

Everyone lost in this situation. The school district lost a great teacher and is getting a lot of bad press. Neace's stellar career has been put in jeopardy. The most damaged are the students who lost their teacher at a critical time in the semester.

If both sides can admit that a series of misunderstandings, miscues, mishandlings and mistakes were made, and then work to a reasonable adjustment, then the district can save face, Doc can resume teaching, and the students can salvage their learning. I challenge Gwinnett Schools to request that the school board call a special session to reconsider the decision to terminate Neace, call for a mediation and resolve this amicably. It is not just about who's the boss and following rules that are always open to interpretation. It's about each side working for the human outcome of students learning.

We can but hope that cooler heads could now think creatively and act positively to turn this situation around. After all, many large businesses use mediation to resolve conflicts. Mediation helps parties talk to each other in a productive manner and is not the destructive process we witnessed at the hearing. The goal of mediation is a win-win situation, not win-lose, nor what happened here, lose-lose.

- Karen Armsby


mother of three Dacula High School graduates

Students are given too much power

I am a teacher in Georgia, and the dismissal of Larry Neace continues to underscore who is in charge in our school systems. Sadly, the students. By firing Neace, the Gwinnett superintendent has handed more power to the young people that we are supposed to be teaching. Teaching state standards through core curriculum is only part of what students learn. Evidently, Neace has done a thorough job in this endeavor, or he would not have had his contract renewed for 23 years. What he dared to teach is that while sleeping through class, one cannot participate in that class. Class participation is part of a grade in many, many classrooms.

The fact that this is an issue is a travesty. Why would a parent question a teacher's actions when his son was sleeping in class.

I wish Neace good luck in his appeals. I also wish this for the student and his father. As teachers say, "We have them for 10 months - you will have to deal with them for the rest of your life."

- Sheryl J. Bailey


We're in this together

As a Hispanic who has lived in Duluth since 1993, I was concerned about the Hispanic man who Jennifer Wilbanks initially claimed kidnapped and sexually assaulted her.

Duluth has a large Hispanic population that enriches the town, which is probably why Wilbanks decided to blame a Hispanic in her false claim.

When will people realize that we are citizens of the world and responsible for each other?

I pray for Wilbanks and sincerely hope she will end up the happy and secure person God wants her to be.

- Carmen H. Bermúdez-Grafals


No more living in fear

I would like to send a message to all illegal immigrants. Stop living in fear. Don't let businesses in the U.S. take advantage of your situation. Get your visa or green card. Documented workers can make more money, fight for better working conditions and live without fear of deportation.

If you won't do it for yourself, do it for your children. It may help keep them out of trouble. It is hard on a kid who does not have at least a few of the same things the other kids have. Shamefully, many working low-income families here in the U.S. can barely afford the basics like food, clothing and decent housing.

Low wages for undocumented workers influence earnings as a whole for every worker. American or non-American, documented or undocumented, we are only hurting ourselves. This is not a case of those who work should give their money to those who do not work. This is a case for fair wages for every legal worker in the U.S.

With the average American CEO earning 240 times what their average employee earns, I am sure companies can stop paying slave wages and taking advantage of undocumented workers.

Remember that living in this country illegally is a crime and so is knowingly hiring undocumented workers.

- Eileen Stewart

Flowery Branch

Races should be ID'd

I challenge the Gwinnett Daily Post to identify the races of all perpetrators of crimes, as well as their victims, from now on.

It's high time that the citizens of this county and country are provided with all the necessary information they need to decide for themselves just who makes up the majority of the criminal element in this country. Why does the media continue to hide this information from us?

The citizenry of this county must be supplied with all the information pertinent to a crime, except that esoteric information deliberately kept secret by authorities in order to be able to link a certain suspect to a particular crime. The race of the individual suspected of a crime is not such information.

We all know where this practice of keeping this information secret comes from. Yes, it is called political correctness, and it must end now, for the safety and well being of the public in general.

It's also called censorship. The mainstream news media in this country for years has been hiding the real identity of many criminals and victims, as well as engaging in a total blackout of entire crimes, because these crimes didn't fit in with their idea of political correctness.

So, let's see, Gwinnett Daily Post, if you really care about serving the needs of your readership and the citizens of this county. Please provide us with the facts of crimes in this county, without the blatant omissions and sugarcoating.

- Susan A. Bradley