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Sarasota Thursday, Jul. 19, 2012 5 years ago

Letters to the Editor


+ Pine View students achieve success
Dear Editor:

I graduated from Pine View School this year and will study at Cornell University starting this fall. I first attended Pine View in third grade, and the school has given me the resources to participate in theater, compose a short ballet, study several foreign languages, participate in regional academic competitions and understand local issues to the extent of eventually having spoken before the Sarasota County Planning Commission.

Such a broad range of interests and achievements, sustained through Pine View’s friendly and supportive environment, is typical of the student who remains at Pine View into high school. This is why we have assembled such events as the 2011 Berlin Wall simulation; why individuals have been honored in competitions and scholarships; and why 158 of 159 students in the class of 2012 are going to college.
Despite my gratitude to the school, I shall approach Mr. Kalahar’s contentions objectively:

Sarasota County’s higher percentage of gifted students (5.2%) may be explained through migration to the county. I have friends and acquaintances who moved in from neighboring Manatee and Charlotte counties, as well as from other states and even other countries to be eligible to attend the school.

I must also point out an error in Mr. Kalahar’s calculation of the number of gifted students in Sarasota: 5.2% of 42,030 students yields 2,186 students. If enrollment is 2,150 students, then this does not support the conclusion that Pine View has too many students.

Although there is a majority of white students, this is an indicator of broader sociological issues rather than a problem with the admissions system. After all, the four census-designated places and incorporated cities in Sarasota County with the greatest percentage of African-Americans all have median family incomes below the countywide median. The correlation between income and education gaps is already well recognized, implying that the situation in Sarasota County is not unique.

Unfortunately, listing psychological issues that may be encountered in gifted children without citing a source does not support Mr. Kalahar’s thesis. However, I shall reply to several of these individually:

As far as heightened emotional sensitivity, “Gifted children have the potential for greater … ability to deal with moral issues … because they understand moral issues and the consequences of behavior earlier than their non-gifted peers.” (Lewis 2007). Misaligned motor and conceptual development occurs “particularly in preschool gifted children” (Webb 1994). And at the high school level, the detail in the works of visual arts and drama students shows otherwise.

Apprehensiveness is also not a universal characteristic. In 2011, the school’s Moody’s Mega Math Challenge team was put together by students who, on a sudden whim, agreed to spend 14 hours of our first Saturday of spring break working on applied mathematics. We proceeded to win first place.

Perfectionism as “unrealistically high expectations” has led us to outdo ourselves time and time again in generating creative products and solving difficult problems. And Pine View students have demonstrated that, if anything, they can overcome academic stress. According to a student newspaper article, students explained that they did this by playing music outside after class.

As for dyslexia and attention deficits, a handful of students have been diagnosed with these disorders, but with little negative effect.

Mr. Kalahar criticizes the IQ requirement as a harmful “arbitrary standard.” However, the entrance standards have created an environment where students are not bullied for being intelligent. As imperfect as the IQ may be, it has been responsible for the establishment of an institution that has served gifted students and nurtured our potential exceptionally well. And judging from our achievements and contributions, students at Pine View truly are gifted.
Patrick Braga,

+ Hog hunting is asinine
Dear Editor:

In his op-ed piece, “Hunt Them Hogs,” Rod Thomson fractures his usual king’s English for a title that reflects the grammar and intellect of the good ol’ boys he wants to sic on the county’s feral hogs. Those hogs have been part of our local scene since the 1500s when the Spanish conquistadors released their ancestors here.
OK, hogs dig up the ground, sometimes damaging old dirt roads, but Myakka State Park has controlled them well for decades by trapping. The trappers butcher the hogs they trap and sell the meat. Why should we unleash a bunch of gun-happy hunters all over rural Sarasota County, when trapping solves the problem?
And Thomson makes the point that the hogs eat bird and turtle eggs and carry disease. Well, I’ll bet most medically trained people could name more human diseases we can get from birds and turtles than from feral hogs.

Thompson says the hogs “will destroy all the natural habitat ...” but he fails to explain why that didn’t happen in the hundreds of years between the conquistadors and our modern civilization when the hogs lived here undisturbed.

Yes, we animal-rights activists see hunting them as “barbarian.”  So did Cleveland Amory when he designed a T-shirt for his animal charity, The Fund for Animals. It showed several animals in silhouette, each with a label:  A bear was titled ursine; a cow, bovine; a pig, porcine; and a sheep, ovine. The final silhouette was a hunter with his rifle, well-named — asinine.
Les Inglis,

+ Not all are in favor of the hog hunt
Dear Editor:

I read the My View that was written by Rod Thomson on his view about the hog hunts. It was obviously biased. Because you published an editorial in support of the hog hunts, I would hope that your paper would have an editorial written against the hog hunts to allow the reader to form their own opinion.

Mr. Thomson states, in his article, that the hogs cause a lot of damage and can be aggressive. He never said in the article how the hogs are hunted and killed, how the dogs are trained to hunt the hogs or how many dogs are injured or killed in the process. He also never tried to find a solution other than the “hunt” with knives and dogs to the “problem.”
Ellen Barry,

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