Vanguard Battles

Plus: All in the Family, Slam Dunk, Car Killer

Vanguard Battles

Get out of Jones: As a graduate of Jones High School who grew up in the neighborhood, attends church, volunteers and mentors many of the students in the neighborhood, I am appalled with the reporting of the situation that is going on at Jones ["The Great Divide," by Margaret Downing, March 7].

We are having a lot of problems with infighting and the Vanguard Parent Organization members who have caused a drastic decline in trust and morale in the school and community. The reported division and accusations are over 25 years old, not just two and a half.

The article that you ever so one-sidedly presented only heightened resentment and added fuel to the fire. It did not report that many from Jones High, not Vanguard, have gone on to graduate from universities. Jones was successful before Vanguard and will continue to be successful when Ms. Udden and Mr. Wilson get their segregated way.

After investigating, I find that both of them have made it a personal -- not academic -- matter to have Mr. Allen removed as principal. I question their motives and agenda for what is best for Jones High as a whole.

Contrary to their personal beliefs, James Simpson is not the answer; every lobbyist needs its token. His academic credentials are impressive, but what are his social credentials?

Not a single HISD administrator has addressed the PTO or Jones Alumni Association since this began. I cannot with a clear conscience recommend the Vanguard Program because of the socioeconomic education it is teaching and its leadership of the VPO and South Central District office.

The battle is not between VPO and the local community; it is between right and good.

Keith A. Perry
Houston

Bring back Pace: It is with great sorrow that I read about the growing divide at Jones High School. We were always proud to call ourselves "The Jones Family."

We had problems in my time as well, but I always felt the administration and then-principal Arthur L. Pace were friendly, receptive and approachable.

I would think that the Vanguard parents and students are probably more demanding on school administration than most. When I started school at Jones (in '81-'82, the first freshman class), I had the chance to go to school with the children of some of our area's leaders and with kids who would certainly be leaders -- the kind who work, not wait, for change.

Perhaps Mr. Pace should be brought back to Jones. I can remember him speaking in the assembly hall to the students, saying, "We care about you this much. I hold my arms straight out, reaching into infinity."

Charles H. Carter Jr.
Houston

All in the Family

Yates needed help: You pointed out several possible outcomes other than the Yates children being murdered ["Otherworldly," by Margaret Downing, February 28]. It's a shame no one in Andrea's life had the sense to get her away from those innocent children.

Rusty Yates and Dora should have made sure Andrea got the help she obviously needed. Talk about "all the signs were there."

Rusty Yates is disgusting! A Web site?! There's a grieving father for you! I agree with the man on the bus -- he should have been on trial with her!

But instead, you have Dora saying walking in circles 45 times was just Andrea exercising? And the great family man who works at NASA provides his family a Greyhound bus to live in. From what I can tell, the whole family's disturbed!

Lynn Beard
Houston

Slam Dunk

Stereotypical tripe: The young woman's coach ["Foul Out," by Wendy Grossman, January 31] said she can't run, she can't jump, and she doesn't have a jump shot. The evaluation was that she is a lazy, inconsistent player who lacks leadership skills.

The NAACP's reported response was that this was "stereotypical and negative." Of course it's negative. If the girl is not good enough to play on the team, then the remarks will be negative. And as far as the remarks being "stereotypical," stereotypical of what? Her race? If so, they've gone too far.

The coach's remarks have nothing to do with race. I am a former collegiate athlete and understand firsthand the "extra" punishments brought against athletes with regard to academics. If this young woman's mother is going to cry out every time she gets "extra" punishment, the girl may as well give up playing competitive sports. The mother needs to accept that if her child is going to participate in athletics, she will have to uphold higher standards. If she can't cut it, she shouldn't play. The rest of the dedicated athletes don't need whiners distracting them.

Name withheld by request
Pasadena

Car Killer

Keep him in prison: I was at a punk rock show recently and saw a flyer about Brian Deneke's killer being able to go free ["Punks, Jocks and Justice," by Julie Lyons, October 21, 1999]. The American justice system should recognize that Dustin Camp is a killer and that's that. There is absolutely no way that he should be able to go free until his eight years are up. It wasn't like it was an accident; he blatantly ran over Brian, therefore it was murder!

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