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Probe: Feb. 15, 2002

February 15, 2002

QUESTION: Please don't use my name. I don't want the special education lobby attacking me the way it flailed teacher Ed Woeten.

One has only to look at the back issues of your paper to see the trail of damaged reputations left by the lobby's fury. Special education parents use gang-banger tactics to silence anybody who says anything that might jeopardize the privileged position their children enjoy.

Much more money is spent on special education children than is spent on the forgotten average pupil. Those special education advocates could have used gentle admonishment and sweet reasoning if their goal was to persuade or educate.

I agree not all children with learning disabilities had drug-abusing parents, but it's lunacy to deny the abuse of drugs and alcohol is a factor in the increased number of disabled children.

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Special education parents get belligerent over their children's "rights" even if their rights take away from other children. Don't the majority of children have a right to their share of the pie?

The special education lobby's aggression may blow up in their faces and create a healthy reaction to their strong-arm tactics. — A Parent, El Centro

We wish we had the space to print your full text but a 20-inch letter will not fit into a 15-inch column. You've put in stark terms things we would rather not think about.

How much money will we spend to "educate" a child who may never read at a normal level or read at all? How much will we spend to educate an "average" child who will never be a rocket scientist?

Should we skim again from the needs of the average child to meet the needs of the severely developmentally disabled? If so, how much?

Should we skim still more from the average kid to "enrich" the education of the gifted child? Won't the gifted child offer more to society?

Those are real, and serious, questions. They raise issues worth fighting over if your child is "mentally challenged," "gifted" or just your average, "normal" kid — if there is an average, normal kid.

QUESTION: I am a senior citizen and I live alone. Does the Imperial County Sheriff's Office have a program to contact out-of-town family if something happens to you? — Senior, Brawley

Call Jerry Godsey at 339-6309 in the Sheriff's Crime Prevention Bureau. He'll hook you up with the Vial of Life. You'll get a big prescription bottle with a form to fill out. On the form, you write your prescriptions, your name, birth date, doctor and emergency contacts. Tuck the bottle in your freezer.

You'll also get a sticker to put on your front door. The sticker will alert emergency personnel to look in the freezer for the bottle.

LATE-NIGHT CALLS — I bought a gadget, Tel-Zapper, at Kmart to deal with late-night phone calls. It erases phone numbers from the telemarketers' lists. I paid about $50 for it and it worked for me. — Sleeping Well, Imperial

Some telemarketers don't have a list. They use automatic dialers that call everybody.

This is another idea that may not work if your caller's fax machine is romancing your fax and getting your bedside phone instead. Tell the fax not to call again.

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