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March 26, 2001 PROBE

March 26, 2001

QUESTION: I heard on the news that a young woman in Alabama or Georgia "forgot" to drop her 4-month-old baby off at a day-care center. When she got off work four hours later, the baby was dead.

I have an idea mothers could use to make sure they never forget to deliver the baby to the baby-sitter. If the baby doesn't arrive at the day-care center, why couldn't the care provider call the mother at work? That would trigger the mother's memory — and save the baby's life. — Idea Woman, Calexico

Wouldn't that be shifting the responsibility from the mother to the care provider? Maybe Mom could tie a string around her finger to remind her to deliver the baby, or make a checklist of things to do each morning. As she completes the chore, she could mark it off the list. She also could have the sitter sign off on the baby when she delivers it.

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QUESTION: My daughter is sickly but a solid student. So are our other children. Two of our sons are in four-year colleges. We are parents who value education.

My daughter missed 10 or 11 days of school this year due to illness. We sent notes to school after each absence.

We got a letter advising us to attend a meeting of the Student Attendance Review Board. My wife went.

At the meeting, the board warned a student could be sent to continuation school or even to juvenile hall for truancy.

During a question-and-answer period, my wife asked, "Why would you want to send a good student, a girl who gets all A's and B's, to continuation school?"

The school police officer told my wife to "sit down and shut up." When she kept talking, he walked over to her, pointing his finger within inches of her face and shouted at her!

He would not let her talk. Finally my wife walked out of the meeting. I think the cop was out of line. What do you think? — Angry Father, Calexico

We haven't heard the cop's version, nor have we talked to anybody on the review board. But if what you tell us is true, we think the cop was out of line. Calexico Police Cmdr. Mario Sanchez promised to look into your complaint.

NEW BEGINNINGS — Tell that young man who was kicked out of the church to visit us at New Beginnings.

He can play cards, watch television, read magazines, have a cup of coffee or just talk. The "clients" run the place. Sometimes we go on trips. We don't care if you look at the girls. That's what young men do. — Client, El Centro

OK, time to rip the scarlet S for stigma off the forehead. Mom, take your son to the New Beginnings drop-in center at 731 Main St. in downtown El Centro, or call 337-7473.

Everybody in this country has or will have a "mental disorder." None is permanent. It's like having a sore throat. People get sick but they get better.

It's a myth that people with "mental problems" don't get better. They recover all the time, according to Mike Horn, director of Imperial County Behavioral Health Services.

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