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Voice: Woeten a fine man and a fine educator

March 10, 2002

Ed Woeten's letter addressing drug babies was misinterpreted by many readers. Anyone who truly knows Mr. Woeten would agree that he is a very sensitive and caring man. In addition to being an excellent teacher over the past 35 years, he also works for the Peace Corps in Africa during the summer months. He cares about people very deeply or he would not have survived the teaching profession for so many yeas.

Although his letter caused some confusion between drug babies and those with naturally occurring disabilities, he intended to address only the potential parents of drug babies. He had no intention to hurt those parents of children with disabilities that are beyond anyone's control.

It is healthy to express one's opinions in an educated democracy. It spurs an exchange of ideas and beneficial debate. To those of you who wrote letters sharing your experiences with children of special needs, more power to you.

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However, to those of you who were so quick to use words like dumb, stupid or ignorant in reference to Mr. Woeten, you should be ashamed. Those with special education children unfairly hear such phrases enough and should know more than anyone else how such false accusations can hurt.

Hopefully the controversy over Mr. Woeten's letter can at last come to an end. As for you Mr. Woeten, "Better days ahead!"

JULIE and PAUL STEIMEL

Calipatria

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