Saturday, October 25, 2008

Private Religion In Public Schools

Advocates for "religious fairness" are pushing to add two Muslim holidays to the school calendar. The holidays being recommended for observance are Eid Ul-Fitr and Eid Ul-Adha. Robert Jackson (D-Manhattan) is the chief sponsor of this religious resolution. Reportedly, NYC officials are not in favor of the change. City Hall meeting officials said that the matter must first be addressed by New York State officials before they can act. An estimated 10-12% of New York City’s student population is now Muslim, so Jackson’s proposal is reasonable. However, in light of generally low academic scores in our public schools, do we need more holidays? Additionally, this matter brings up several unreasonable issues regarding religious holidays for consideration. To be fair and to respect ALL religions, perhaps NO religious holidays should be permitted in the public school system. Maybe days that honor great Americans or historic events in our shared American history should replace them. If religious observance is not permitted in classrooms, public schools should not be closed for religious observance. Strange as it may seem, an across-the-board ban on ALL holidays shows the greatest respect for everyone's religion.

The Language Of Money

SAY WHAT? A test of several city agencies by covert city workers found many customer service centers couldn’t adequately aid those who don’t speak English. Few government offices with walk-in facilities provided accessible translation and/or interpretation services. It’s amazing though how New York’s newest immigrants (including illegal aliens) manage to communicate effectively enough when it comes to collecting financial, medical and educational support services. I’d like for someone to explain in plain English how that can be.

Taser Slay Jolts NYPD

Several weeks ago, a naked and distraught Bedford-Stuyvesant man was mistakenly "Tased" by a NYPD Emergency Service Unit officer. Iman Morales, 35, fell from a window roll-down gate to his death upon Brooklyn's hard pavement below, ten feet below. An initial police review determined that two officers (Lieutenant Michael Pigot who ordered the shot be taken and Officer Nicholas Marchesona who took it) were apparently at fault. Sadly, in the days that followed, the distraught lieutenant committed suicide. Tasers may save lives if used properly. The use of electricity to stun is arguably safer than using bullets to stop. Police guidelines state that a Taser should not be used "when the subject is in a position where a fall may cause substantial injury or death." Also stated in the guidelines is the fact that officers must assess the situation thoroughly before deciding to use a Taser. Had these two rules been followed, two of our fellow New Yorkers would be alive today. In 2008, 180 Taser shootings occurred in NYC. There was only this one fatality. That’s not a bad record for our New York City police department. To their credit and our benefit, even one death is too many. The NYPD is taking swift action and looking into solutions to prevent future fatalities. For example:
· There’s been a new commanding officer installed for the NYPD's Emergency Services Unit.
· All 440 ESU officers are being retrained at a Taser refresher course at Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field.
· Advanced knowledge of a situation can be vital to its peaceful resolution. A database of incidents at a particular address may be available to officers responding to emergency calls.
Additional mental health training for cops is being discussed as well as the use of a database culled from existing psychiatric records. This is sure to run up against reasonable opposition.
The NYPD will continue to examine this case for some time to come. Morales untimely demise may lead to a change in the morals of the NYPD. Let’s pray that from this double tragedy, not a single episode like this will ever occur again.