A Word Of Difference

To the Editor,

Regarding the movie review for The Bone Collector (Film Clips, November 17): What on earth was Mari Wadsworth trying to say? "A necrophilic affair between a white woman and black man paralyzed from the shoulders down?" Has the definition of necrophilic changed? My Webster's says "necro" refers to death, a corpse, and necrophilia as an abnormal attraction to corpses. Last time I checked, a quadriplegic is someone alive. I have not seen the movie yet, but was not under the impression that Denzel was playing a corpse. I think an apology is in order to the spouses and significant others of the many quads out there, not to mention the disabled community as a whole.

-- Kathy Hurst

Mari Wadsworth replies: These characters are brought together by a corpse, spend all their time "alone" with corpses, and feel the tug of budding affection, if not exactly passion, while studying the forensic evidence left on corpses. Corpses form the foundation of their relationship. This mutual passion for homicide investigation suddenly and inexplicably turns romantic near the end of this tepid film; thus the use of the word necrophilic, i.e., "to be aroused by corpses." That's the reference. It's a sentence so silly, I'm surprised it has the power to offend; certainly no offense was intended, except perhaps to the filmmakers. My apologies to Ms. Hurst, the disabled community as a whole, the spouses and significant others of the many quads out there, and my ninth-grade English teacher Miss Lee, who foretold the misery and degradation that would befall those who lapsed into poor sentence construction.

Home-School Spirit

To the Editor,

Regarding Tom Danehy's "Poor Sports" (November 11): At first when I read this article I was angry and in disbelief that anyone could say such mean, bigoted things and actually have a newspaper print it!

His ideas of home schoolers are so grossly erroneous that it's ridiculous. Where in the world did he get his information? Obviously he didn't research the subject matter before making such a vicious attack. The errors in Danehy's "article" are too numerous for me to comment on all of them, but here are a few.

He calls us (home-schooling parents) "selfish." Because we want what is best for our kids we're called selfish? I call it caring. Keeping them away from sex education, peer pressure, drugs, gangs, violence and evil-spirited people like Tom Danehy is not being selfish. We are selfless people -- dedicating and sacrificing our lives for our kids' well being.

He says we're "shortsighted"? How can we be shortsighted when we are trying to raise our kids to be loving, honest, hardworking, self-sufficient adults who will be a benefit to society in the future? How can we be shortsighted when our main goal is to get our kids to heaven? This is not shortsighted to me -- on the contrary!

He considers home schooling "to be a subtle form of child abuse"? How can home schooling be considered child abuse if they're receiving a better education than in the public schools? Allow me to point out: "A recent study of over 10,000 home-educated children found that they averaged 15 to 32 percentage points higher on standardized tests in math, reading and language skills than their public school peers." (from the "Stanford Achievement Test Group Summary Scores by Grade," Home School Legal Defense Association, 1992). He goes on to say "Lord knows those kids don't present a threat to my kids getting a scholarship." Obviously the statistics show otherwise. Danehy's way of thinking is obviously twisted if he thinks that home schoolers "get up around 10 a.m." and "don't have to study a damn thing." If this were an accurate assessment, then how can the home schoolers be excelling in all of the academic subjects and scoring higher than public school kids?

I wish Danehy would redirect his anger and hatred against something that's truly evil and divisive -- like the horror of abortion -- and use his time and energy writing against that rather than something truly positive and beneficial like home schooling.

-- Christine Torgerson

To the Editor,

I read with utter amazement Tom Danehy's recent article against home schooling ("Poor Sports, November 11). Although the pretext for his vitriolic, unfounded attack was a sports-related issue, home schoolers playing varsity athletics, the story was about his obvious hatred towards home schooling and those who choose to educate their children in a positive environment without any aid from the government. I can't speak for all home educators, nor do I intend to, but I feel my family's situation has been besmirched by his vendetta on home educators.

I, like Danehy apparently, am a Catholic parent. Unlike Danehy, perhaps, I live in the TUSD school district and the elementary school my children would attend is so bad, with both drugs and weapons, four TUSD teacher friends advised us not to send our children there. Not that we were considering it strongly anyway, just look at the recent AIMS results as proof of the failure of our public school system.

We wanted our children to attend the local parochial school which I attended, and signed our daughter up at age 2. Much to our surprise, she was beat out of a spot by all of those who signed up their children at birth for the few spots available, which is true citywide for the Catholic schools, I understand. We then had no alternative except home schooling with a Catholic curriculum which we have now done through sixth grade for my daughter. She and her brother recently took the Iowa standardized test and excelled enough so that our school had them each skip a grade!

This does not sound like child abuse to me. As for the intolerance of home schooling mentioned by Danehy, we belong to a Catholic home-schooling group which is 38 percent Hispanic, so my kids are playing with and going on field trips with known Hispanics, and I have seen no incidence of racism. As for religious intolerance, perhaps Danehy is not up on the Catholic canons on education. I am no expert here, but I understand one of the first canons states it is the parents' responsibility to raise and educate Catholic children, not some public school or day care center. Perhaps Danehy would like us to have a version of Hitler Youth which immediately took away children from their parents and sent them to day-care centers and then to public schools. They may have been good soldiers, and obeyed orders, but I think the world would have been a better place if those kids would have been raised by their folks and not Hitler's henchmen.

I do agree with Danehy in one respect. We are supposed to be able to have our children use the music programs at the public schools but we were refused by TUSD, so we pay for that too. Sports is a better lobby than music, apparently. And in case Danehy thinks I am in some kind of commune, we pay over $3,000 a year in property tax, the bulk of it going to TUSD for no personal benefit. I don't fear for my children, there has not been one incident of drugs found in their classroom nor weapons confiscated. God save us from bigots who buy their ink by the barrel.

-- Jeffrey J. Hill

P.S. Please note that I found Mr. Danehy's article to be insulting and erroneous. If you are unwilling or unable to print my response in full as an editorial, please let me know. However, if you wish to publish only a portion of my letter, please do not do so without consulting with me. I appreciate your time: I am aware that my letter is quite lengthy, but I feel your readers are entitled to get accurate information about home schoolers.

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