Schools need to accept certain level of risk now

Most would agree that a good education is an essential component of the strength and viability of our society. Good schools should supply the skills needed for students to obtain the academic and social skills required to support a flourishing society.

Today's society relies and expects essential goods and services to be provided without interruption. Most consider food, water, energy, medical services, fire and police protection, cable and cell service and toilet paper, to name a few, as essential to their daily lives. Our society expects essential workers to accept the risks involved in their jobs so they can provide those things.

Schools operating as normal provide a better environment for learning, both academically and socially. They can provide a more controlled and supervised environment for students than in their homes in many cases. Normal school schedules, that working parents can depend on, will enable parents to go to work to provide for their families.

Teachers, school board members, unions and school administrators need to step up and accept the same risks as they expect of other essential workers to provide their essential needs. With proper procedures in place, schools should be able to minimize the risks to teachers and students.

Henry Knox



The NYT is right; it's 'white privilege'

On July 19, Free Press Editor Clint Cooper spent considerable ink ("All Legacies are Complicated," page E5) critiquing "cancel culture" and criticizing the editorial policies of The New York Times newspaper. He filled space reciting the accusations of New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin, whose critique of the Times appeared on the first page of the Perspective section, and the history of founding publisher Adolph Ochs and the Chattanooga Times. Cooper's goal seems to have been to knock down the "idealistic purity" of the "woke left." Ironically, the editor's argument belies a fatal flaw that inhibits the growth of American democracy: the legacy of racism. He maintains that slavery "is not foundational ... in the country's complicated history."

"Not foundational"? What about the three-fifths compromise in the Constitutional Convention that counted slaves for representational purposes in Southern states; 250 years of a slave economy that built the Southern states and fed Northern mills; the fact that slaves provided the labor to build the U.S. Capitol; about 75 years of Jim Crow; systematic housing and job discrimination; and high incarceration rates and voter disenfranchisement of Black and brown people? "Not foundational;" careful, your white privilege is showing.

Judith Pedersen-Benn and Dave Benn


Put education first; vote Marco Perez

I am very concerned about the District 2 School Board election. Good Government Coalition candidate Tom Decosimo has been recorded on video citing the merits of corporal punishment of students, a policy not in keeping with the Hamilton County Board of Education. He recently denounced student participation in protests about Black Lives Matter. He doesn't want to talk about equity issues. He fails to see the importance of counselors and social workers in our schools, despite frequent reports of bullying, depression and misdirected anger among students.

The COVID-19 threat to our schools and children is very real. State and local loss of tax revenues will put the pressure on reducing funding for schools. We need to strengthen our school board by electing members who will put our children's education and well-being first. That's why my family and I are voting for Marco Perez as our District 2 school board representative.

Jim Webster

Signal Mountain


Decosimo is values- driven candidate

We strongly support Tom Decosimo for Hamilton County School Board representing District 2 in the Aug. 6, 2020, county general election. If you really keep up with news of our national and local education system, you recognize the continuing need for strong, principled, conservative voices on the board. Tom Decosimo is offering just such principles and values that will help strengthen education, and subsequently strengthen our community.

We were next door neighbors to the Decosimo family for 50, yes 50, years. We know firsthand of Tom's life venture and the source of his high character, values and his deep desire for good education along with civic responsibility. Tom is a good manager, business owner and family man.

Please join us and cast your vote for Tom Decosimo for the Hamilton County school board District 2 seat on Aug. 6, 2020.

James E. McCall and Colleen C. McCall

Signal Mountain