Thank you so very much for publishing the thorough investigation of Chad and the abusive restraints that occur there (“Handle With Care,” Nov. 8). Children get labeled with some unscientific disorder invented by the psychiatric industry, and suddenly it becomes OK for staff to abuse and, sometimes, kill them. Both sets of practices need to end.
CASSANDRA AUERBACHcassandra1444@verizon.net(Thousand Oaks, Calif.)
Knowing their pain
Thank you for printing this story (“Not-So-Special Education,” Nov. 1). I cannot believe that this has not been headline news on every local news station. Those who do not report this information should be ashamed. The school officials who turned their backs and did not immediately report this to the parents, provide counseling for these children, or give any and all help these families needed should all be fired and face legal ramifications. As the mother of a child with Asperger’s, I know how hard it is to raise a child with a disorder, and I cannot even begin to imagine the hell these families are living through. My heart breaks for these children and what they have suffered, and for their parents. I pray for these families and that justice will be served.
MELODY STEINQUESTsteinquest@charter.net (Clarksville)
Disability Law & Advocacy Center of Tennessee (DLAC) is alarmed with the incidents of sexual abuse of children with disabilities outlined in the “Not-So-Special Education” article of the Nov. 1 Scene. It is DLAC’s position that failure of bus personnel to address these incidents as they occurred is inexcusable and constitutes neglect. Therefore, DLAC has written director of Metro schools Pedro Garcia stating our agency’s position and offering recommendations to ensure that this type of incident does not occur again. DLAC has also requested a written response to that letter.
Our agency is also concerned that the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) is unwilling to provide copies of investigation reports to parents of abused or neglected children. We at DLAC hope to work with DCS to change the current procedure so that these documents will be available for parents in the future.
SHIRLEY SHEA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTORshirleys@dlactn.org (Nashville)
Not so terrible
My heart aches for the parents featured in your Nov. 1 cover story, “Not-So-Special Education,” and I wish I could do more than offer words of sorrow. But the truth is, I was equally as disturbed by the one-sided version of the story. The other side is not the school administrators, whom Tobia portrayed as either bogged in red tape or, worse, incompetent. The other side of the story is parents like me, whose children have been satisfactorily involved in Metro’s Special Ed program for years.
My daughter is far more severely disabled than any of the students profiled in the story. For 16 years, I have been at all but one of her IEPs and have always had frequent contact (by phone, email and in person) with her teachers. When my daughter has been injured, I’ve been notified—not within hours or days—but within minutes. When she stopped breathing last fall, the school called 911 and her principal Robbie Hampton went to the ER and stayed with her until I could get there so she would be less frightened.
I’ve written for Special Education Today magazine (which is located here in Nashville, as are many of their other writers) and have addressed such issues as recognizing sexual abuse in your special needs child. I’ve been involved with Metro Special Ed since 1991 and have talked at length with teachers and therapists about the good—and not-so-good—in this system. But I will tell you that every professional I work with outside the system tells me that Metro is one of the best in Tennessee, and they have begged me not to move from Nashville because of it.
I’m not a Pollyanna; the system has problems. What school system doesn’t? But to focus only on what’s wrong is not good journalism; it’s fear-mongering.
RAMONA RICHARDSRamonaRichards@aol.com (Madison)
Didn’t you hear the news?
I was appalled by the recent P.J. Tobia piece “Past Troubles” (Nov. 1), chronicling the criminal history of Eric Brown, the man recently murdered behind his restaurant.
I was taken aback from the very beginning by the comment that “there is a puzzling contradiction” between “the story of this hardworking self-starter” and Brown being “a felon.” I kept reading, certain I would find some legitimate reason for connecting this man’s criminal history to his murder. Could it be that some current involvement in criminal activity resulted in Brown’s shooting? I found no such explanation.
I’m not sure which point Tobia is trying to make. Is it that people with criminal histories deserve to die violently? Or once a criminal, always a criminal? Perhaps Tobia believes that as part of paying one’s debt to society, people committing felonies do not deserve second chances?
The difficulty those with criminal records in this country have in rejoining society, even after completing their punishment, should itself be a crime and is a national disgrace. Anyone concerned about rates of recidivism for felons need look no further than Tobia’s irresponsible diatribe and similar attitudes in our society at large as a significant cause.
T. ALLEN MORGANroadscholarmusic@yahoo.com (Madison)
The story about Spudz owner Eric Brown’s criminal past struck me as irresponsible, poorly thought out and insensitive (“Past Troubles,” Nov. 1). I think people naturally want to make sense of tragedy and often find themselves blaming the victim because if the victim brought it on himself, then the rest of us have less to fear. Real journalism should strive to look beyond our fear-based assumptions and report the truth. No real connection between Brown’s six-year-old criminal charges and his murder were established, but the way this story lays it out, the assumption is clear. Why make that assumption without facts, though, when all we really know is that a well-loved and respected man with talent and vision was violently killed? Rest in peace, Eric Lamont Brown. You are missed.
MARTY LINVILLEmartylinville@gmail.com (Nashville)
From one reviewer to another, I just wanted to comment that I was so pleased to read Martin Brady’s piece on Pull-Tight’s Stalag 17 for his comment that their theater community is more about doing and sharing than it is about approval or egos (“Men of War,” Nov. 1). Amen and amen! I appreciated those wise words, and I hope that all of Nashville theater—community and professional—can take that message to heart, as I’m sure many already do.
Excellence is more than whether or not an audience enjoys a show. Whether a production leaves our sides aching from laughter, our faces wet with tears or our teeth clenched in fury, there is always something to learn from it. Something that should make us strive to be better than we were before. And we can all strive for excellence, making every theater experience the best it can be. Sounds like Pull-Tight is doing just that—thanks to Martin Brady for pointing it out as a good example to our talented theater community in Nashville!
TRUDY S. GORDONtrudy.email@example.com (Nashville)
In light of The Tennessean’s recent eradication of local music listings from their daily print version, please accept the thanks of one local musician for the comprehensive listings offered in the Scene. You guys get it, and you get it right. Thanks.
One question: Is it me, or are there fewer copies of the Scene at the pickup locations? What’s up with that? More listings junkies fed up with The Tennessean and making a run on the Scene?
TONY LAIOLOtlaiolo@bellsouth.net (Nashville)
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