Letters Police in schools send wrong message

To the editor:

On June 21 the Vermillion City Council will be voting on a proposal that would allow the city to apply for a federal grant to pay for a Vermillion police officer to work full-time in the Vermillion public schools as a resource officer.

I am opposed to this proposal for the following reasons:

1. Vermillion is a very safe community. If you faithfully read the court news page in the Plain Talk or look at the map in the Volante showing where problems arise in the community, you know that we don't have a lot of violence in our city. With a police officer in the schools, are we sending a message to our kids that we do have a problem and they are it? Will we be sending a message to our citizens that the children of Vermillion may be a physical threat to them?

2. In any emergency in this town, the police, fire and emergency personnel can be on the scene within five minutes and probably less than that. Now I realize that a lot of bullets can be fired off in five minutes, but is the threat imminent in our community?

3. In several schools where shootings have occurred, including at Columbine, police officers were on the grounds at the time. However, not only were they unable to prevent the students from firing their weapons initially, but they were also unable to stop them after they had started firing.

4. The students may rely on the officer for safety and won't take precautions and look out for themselves and their friends. Kids are notorious for letting others do for them what they should be able to do for themselves. They need to be taught responsibility, not dependency. A parent or police officer won't be walking with them before or after school or after they graduate from high school.

5. What will come next? Once the officer is on board, maybe it will be a good idea to get a full-time drug dog, metal detectors at every entrance, regular school searches, breathalyzers and cameras in every classroom and down each hallway. This sounds like 1984 in 1999.

6. Are our children so dangerous that teachers, administrators and other students feel unsafe and threatened in our school buildings in Vermillion, SD? If the answer is yes, then by all means, the city council, with the blessings of our community, would vigorously apply for this grant. If the answer is no, as I believe it should be, then we need to see what we can do to alleviate the fears of our community that our children are a threat to our safety.

7. If there are some students who are identified as being potential threats or who have exhibited violent behavior, then the school and police need to get them out of the school environment until they are able to fit in socially. The large majority of kids shouldn't be punished for the real or imagined problems of a few.

If you feel that we have a problem in our community and think our children are generally out of control and a threat to our safety, please call your city council representative and tell him or her to vote for this proposal. If you don't think we have reached the "Big Brother" stage and don't want a police officer stationed in the halls of our schools on a full-time basis, please tell your city council member to vote no.

Joe Edelen


Police make community a better place

To the editor:

Throughout my 28-year nursing career in Vermillion I have had numerous experiences with local law enforcement personnel. Each experience has been positive. Each time I have been impressed with the person's professional judgment and caring attitude. A recent incident prompted me to write a letter to the editor. I happened to observe a police officer assisting a gentleman in the park. I was so impressed with the officer's professionalism; and the dignity and kindness he showed to the individual.

I don't think most of us have any idea of the responsibilities and services the law enforcement staff perform and their importance to make our community a better place to live.

Thank you to all the men and women in law enforcement. Also, thank you to the staff and all the volunteers who serve in the fire and ambulance departments. We appreciate your services. Thank you!

Marcy Lund


VHS musical will be cherished

To the editor:

Recently I had the opportunity to see the Vermillion High School production of Lil' Abner. Let me tell you, I was impressed. I do not have children in the school system, but I went to see one young "man" who is very dear to my heart. I wanted to have the chance to see him perform while I could still afford it. Needless to say I was so impressed by his performance, that without looking at the program on comes a young "woman" that I am fond of listening to when she sings solo. I had a bonus.

Now this is not the point of my letter. The whole play was better than I thought it would be. When I originally planned on going, I expected to see something that used to be performed in the high school theme. After seeing this performance I need to say every member in that cast was great!

I have now seen the light and I understand why the high schools needs an auditorium. If each of us "Doubting Thomases" would have seen what I saw and felt the feelings I felt when watching these young people up on stage, they too, would more than likely change their minds.

My hat goes off to the school, cast and crew, orchestra and teachers. This was something I will remember and cherish the rest of my life.

Thank You

Roxan Brown


Full-time officer is not needed

To the editor:

As you know, the Vermillion Police Department already has an extremely capable officer (Theron Ahlers) handling liaison with the Vermillion School System. Officer Ahlers is highly competent and very effective. More is not needed. Adding a full-time officer is not necessary. It will only make the schools more penal, less educational; and seriously erode the necessary elements of trust and respect that are central to the educational process.

The current proposal appears to be totally driven by the fact that a federal "grant" would pay the cost. This seems an example of the (federal) tail wagging the (local) dog. No thanks. I don't think we need it.

Frank Pommersheim


Cemetery maintenance help appreciated

To the editor:

Pleasant Valley Lutheran Church's Cemetery Association of rural Vermillion maintains four cemeteries. They looked their best for the Memorial Day weekend.

We need your help financially to keep them looking like that. If you have loved ones buried there and have contributed to the upkeep, we thank you.

If not, and you would like to help in this endeavor, we would appreciate your donations. They can be sent to: Pleasant Valley Cemetery Association, in care of Erlin Ellison, Treasurer, 30867 SD Highway 19, Vermillion, SD 57069.

Erlin Ellison,


Memorial sign repair appreciated

To the editor:

The Star-Prairie United Brethren Church Memorial sign was damaged by an automibile accident in May.

It has been a hard time finding a repair man to put the original sign boards back in shape.

Thank you Matthew Williams, Verne and Myrtle Hendricks for their efforts to do this on their time; to Norma J. Johnson for monetary help.

The whole endeavor is appreciated to have been accomplished in time for Memorial Day.

Four generations of the John Hendricks family

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