Inside Opinion

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Tag: Bethel School District


Main question with Indian mascots: Are they respectful?

Chief Wahoo of the Cleveland Indians

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

On the subject of mascots named after American Indians, most of us can probably agree on two points:

• The names weren’t selected to demean Indians. On the contrary, names like “Braves,” “Chiefs” and “Warriors” certainly were adopted because they communicate strength and power. Many sports teams select names that instill a sense of awe, perhaps even to intimidate. After all, few teams are named “Puppies” and “Wimps.”

• Some schools portray their Indian mascot in ways that many today would consider embarrassing, such as when war-painted non-Indians dress up in feathered headdresses, execute tomahawk “chops” and scream faux war whoops.

While many schools make an effort to portray their Indian mascot in culturally sensitive ways, it’s not always easy to control how young males choose to behave in support of their teams. If it were, there would be no need for security guards.
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Our choices for Bethel and Clover Park school boards

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Compared to all the drama in the Tacoma and Puyallup school districts lately, things have been quiet in Pierce County’s third- and fourth-largest districts, Bethel and Clover Park.

Even so, voters in the two suburban districts should not overlook important school board races Nov. 8 that involve challenges to three solid incumbents.

• In Bethel, District 4 incumbent Joy A. Cook is seeking her fifth term. There’s a chance that, if elected, the Graham resident would not be able to finish her term because she could be moving out of the district.

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Wireless towers low on list of threats to children

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Bethel School District parents upset about the prospect of two Clearwire wireless towers on school property have the wrong target in their sights. They should be more concerned about possible long-term effects of cell-phone use on their children’s health.

While there’s no evidence that energy from wireless communications towers has negative health effects, at least some research points to potential problems with heavy cell phone use, particularly in children because their brains are still developing.

Just last week, a National Institutes of Health researcher publishing findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association that cell-phone use does affect brain activity. University of Washington bioengineer Henry Lai says the study shows that talking on a cell phone pressed to the ear “is not really safe.”

Even scientists who acknowledge that several more years will be needed to gauge whether long-term cell-phone use can lead to brain damage or cancer say they personally use a hands-free device to make calls just to be on the safe side. Those devices reduce the amount of radiofrequency energy exposure to the brain because the antenna, the source of RF energy, is not placed against the head. Read more »


Our picks for Bethel, Clover Park school boards

This editorial appeared in the Monday print edition.

The Bethel School District gets the prize for having, if not the most vigorous school board campaigns, at least the oddest. It’s remarkable that the races are even contested.

In District 1, a staunch opponent of the school district is running against the one person on the school board who sees eye-to-eye with him on some issues.

Ron Morehouse, a physician’s assistant, has opposed school bond measures and thinks Superintendent Tom Seigel could be doing a better job.

We’re wondering what his beef is with incumbent Ken Blair, who has repeatedly voted against the superintendent’s positive performance evaluations and has been anything but a pushover on school funding measures.
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Super says he doesn’t have it out for candidate

Tom Seigel, superintendent at Bethel School District, gave me a call this morning to correct what he thinks are some misperceptions that he is meddling in a school board race. Seigel was responding to a post I did earlier this week about school board candidate Marianne Lincoln’s difficulties with the Pierce County auditor’s office.

Seigel says he became involved in the mess because Lincoln asked him for a map of her director district. He drove out to the address listed on her candidate filing to deliver the information. No one was home at the time, so he left the information. Later, Lincoln’s sister, who lives at that address, called Seigel’s office to report that Lincoln had moved out.

“At that point, I called (Auditor) Jan Shabro and told her, ‘We have a situation here, a potential fraud.” Lincoln ended up withdrawing and then refiled with a different address, which Seigel said is a vacant lot. He again contacted Shabro to let her know what he found. (Lincoln has since switched her registration again to a place she is leasing in the district).

Seigel took exception to my description of his “curious interest” in this case. “I have a legal responsibility and an ethical obligation to report when a crime or fraud is being committed,” he said, mentioning the mandatory reporting requirements the district has in cases of suspected child abuse.

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The rest of the story in Bethel school board race

Last week, I wrote about the strange goings-on in the Bethel school board races and promised more on Marianne Lincoln’s candidacy.

Marianne filed for the position back in June, withdrew in July and then refiled in August. We’d never seen anything like it, so we asked her about it when she came in for her endorsement interview. What followed was a whole mess of twists and turns.

I’ll try to keep it brief. If you want to read Marianne’s account, it’s at Life In Pierce County. Here’s the gist:

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