Due for a Censure
Thank you for your excellent article about the Fitts family adoption case ["In the Child's Best Interest," by Bonnie Gangelhoff, January 18].
You are to be commended for your support and dedication to bringing the facts to the public eye.

Obviously, it was Judge Bill Henderson, not the jury, who reached his decision based on emotion -- his own personal agenda! Henderson should have excused himself from any custody cases while his own [divorce] case was pending. Surely he is due for a censure or reprimand from his superiors. Would his removal from the bench be too much to hope for?

Being a parent is not a matter of genetics. It is about lovingly taking the responsibility, day in and day out, to support and nurture a child. Parental rights must be matched by parental responsibility.

Michelle L. Jenkins

Wrong Whipping Boy
In reading your article "In the Child's Best Interest," I must agree that the children's well-being is very important, but I think you picked the wrong whipping boy when you selected Judge Bill Henderson. It appears that perhaps the real culprit is the adoption agency, which, in its zeal to generate fees, perhaps overstepped an ethical boundary by taking the children away from a father who never agreed to give up his parental rights. Through legal maneuvering, the agency was able to go out of the county of the father's residence and, without notifying the father of its intention, take away his rights.

There is little question that the Fittses love the boys and would make better parents than the Bakers, but I must agree with the judge's actions when he reinstated the biological father's right simply to visit his sons at designated times. I hope all the participants in this adoption agency fiasco realize that the real losers in the long run can be the children and can work out the problem, bearing the best interest of the children in mind.

Robert Kendrick

But Aren't Most of theTheaters in the Suburbs?
Every week I pick up your magazine and check out the movie reviews, most of which are now written by Joe Leydon. Leydon is a nice guy who writes decent, middle-brow film criticism: critiques perfect for his former venue, the late Houston Post.

However, when I pick up the Houston Press (and that other alternative magazine), I'm not looking for a suburban point of view -- I'm looking for another perspective. And even if I didn't always agree with your old reviewers (you've never had a critic who could intelligently review action films, for example, or control his bile over the continuing careers of Stallone and Willis), at least they had an alternative twist to their enthusiasms.

If an inoffensive, blurb machine is what you expect from your critic, Leydon is the right man. If you want something more interesting, punchier, more readable, you need to switch out.

R.T. Castleberry

The Year-Round Advantage
I have been a part of the Cy-Fair school district since 1983 and was skeptical when the issue of a year-round school calendar was first raised. Now, however, my children have been a part of this program for two years. Personally, I love it!

My initial reason for wanting to adopt the year-round calendar was to keep school tax increases to a minimum. At the time, I was a single parent with my own home and found it very difficult to deal, financially, with yearly tax increases. As your article ["The Year-Round Go-Around," by Brian Wallstin, January 11] stated, Cy-Fair ISD's taxes are some of the highest in the Houston area. However, on the positive side, I feel as though I get my "money's worth" for my children's education.

I have a special needs child who has been a part of the Cy-Fair ISD since he entered the early childhood program in 1985. I feel that both he and my "normal" daughter are receiving a quality education, and their education has been augmented by the year-round calendar. This is especially true with my special needs child. I find that with only a month off every three, he is retaining more of what he learned in the previous two six-week periods. With the traditional calendar, we spent the first six plus weeks of every school year doing review work to bring him back up to speed after being off for three months.

My daughter has the advantage of small classes (no more than 20 kids in a class since kindergarten); however, rezoning to avoid building new elementary schools will dramatically increase class sizes. The boundaries for neighborhoods zoned to her elementary school will send hundreds of additional children to her school, which is bound to raise the student/teacher ratio. That, in turn, will decrease the amount of individual attention the students now get.

My biggest complaint about my school district is the in-fighting between pro-year-rounders and anti-year-rounders. You can't tell me kids learn better by going to school practically nonstop for nine months and then are forced to be out three months. Even the most normal children forget a lot of what they've learned the previous year. Doesn't it make more sense to give them much-needed breaks every few months, which can eliminate burnout (yes, kids get burned-out, too)? It also gives me the chance to take a vacation during some time other than the three hottest months of the year.

A concerned (and sometimes
confused) Cy-Fair parent
Name withheld by request

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