The not so lucky: Thank you so much for your insightful article "Saving Nicholas" [by Brian Wallstin, October 18]. The saddest aspect is that there are hundreds if not thousands of children in CPS custody whose stories do not end nearly as happily as that of Nicholas. Understandably, many would-be foster parents are reluctant to deal with the bureaucracy imposed on them by CPS.
God bless the Rihas for being willing to put up with all the hassle. If only there were more like them.
Down on Westbury
HISD's dirty secret: I read Stepchild?" [by Margaret Downing, September 6] and just wanted to say thank you! I am so glad someone finally took serious notice of the problems at Westbury High School.
I proudly attended Westbury all four years of high school (I'm class of 2001), and I watched in disgust as it steadily declined from bad to worse. In that time, it has been run by largely incompetent principals. The teachers know it, the students know it, but no one can do anything about it -- that's why all the good teachers leave.
Teachers and students alike are afraid to criticize the administration. I worked on the newspaper staff my senior year and wanted very badly to write an article condemning the deplorable restrooms and grossly biased enforcement of the rules by administration, but wasn't allowed to.
An administrator gave me three days of in-school suspension for not wearing a collar. I felt insulted and violated as I witnessed this same administrator merrily greet her favorite students in the hall as they wore sports jerseys and overalls, saying nothing to them about their dress code violations. To think that people wonder why the kids who can would take flight to Bellaire and Lamar.
I have long been infuriated over the unequal enforcement and the dilapidated state of the building. The only extracurricular activities that get any funding are track, baseball and football. No one gives a hoot for the swim team, drama club, key club, honor society, chess club, etc. In fact, when I was on the swim team we had all our practices down the street at Johnston Middle School. Oftentimes we shared the pool with the middle school special education classes.
In short, Westbury is going to the dogs; it's HISD's dirty little secret, and no one is willing to do anything about it.
Wasted lives: This is a wonderful report ["But Who's Counting?" by Margaret Downing, October 18]. I am so happy that this information is coming forward about the Texas Education Agency andthe school dropout rate. I work for a prisoner rights group and know that too many of these dropouts are spending their lives in TDCJ.
Early lessons: I read the article about Mark Bingham [News Hostage, by Richard Connelly, October 11]. Just to throw my two cents' worth in, I appreciate the fact that he was openly gay and not ashamed about it. But is it necessary to print the fact? What has his being gay got to do with this wonderful person being no longer with us because of terrorism? I seem to think that religious hypocrites will use this to satisfy their address to God's punishment of gays and the like. Don't you think so?
I am glad to know that a memorial to him will be presented on television. I just wish that all people would get used to the fact that gay people have always been on this earth and will always be here. We are not going away and do not intend to go away. If people would really pay attention to the Bible, they would find that it does not condemn homosexuality at all. As a matter of fact, the word is not even in the Bible, nor did they even have that word in their vocabulary. Not to mention the fact that Christianity is not that old. They forget that gay people were around thousands of years before Christ and Christianity.
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Frenchy's fanatic: I read the article about the Third Ward chicken shacks ["Chicken Run," by Robb Walsh, October 11]. As a UH student, I'm always trying to find good cheap food. Well, Frenchy's has it. Its Cajun-style chicken is the best I've ever had. It totally outdoes any of the major chains!