Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The (Toledo) Blade, May 19
School suspensions and expulsions often lead to students’ idleness, falling back, and dropping out. It’s no surprise that nearly 80 percent of prisoners list truancy as their first offense, the U.S. Department of Justice reports.
So-called zero tolerance policies, which became popular in the 1990s, have led to more police and security officers in schools. Without policy changes, including early and consistent intervention, school infractions such as disorderly conduct and fighting will lead to excessive time away from school, criminal records, and an insidious school-to-prison pipeline.
In Toledo and across the country, black students are three times more likely than whites to be suspended or expelled. To alleviate the problem, the U.S. Department of Education issued recommendations this year, such as dropping hyper-zealous school discipline policies and ensuring that teachers and other school personnel are trained to resolve conflicts and cool classroom disruptions….
To their credit, school districts have become increasingly aware of the problem. They have adjusted discipline policies and practices that have disproportionately affected African-American students and other children of color. And they’re getting results….
Here and around the country, zero-tolerance policies have hindered the education and prospects of many students, especially those of children of color. New disciplinary policies that aim to resolve problems while keeping young people in school are changing that trend.
But it can’t change fast enough to save children with enormous potential to contribute to society from wasting it in the school-to-prison pipeline.
The Ironton Tribune, May 13
It’s a sad reality, but the truth is, many people who succumb to the temptation of drugs never find their way back to sobriety.
Addiction is a slippery slope that can alienate a person from their family and friends, cause serious health problems and even lead to a life of crime and possibly death.
In Lawrence County, a week doesn’t go by where more than a few people appear before judges to answer for crimes committed either directly or indirectly related to drug abuse.
Last week, a South Point woman who had been given the ultimate second chance proved that people who really want to change, can change….
Treatment in lieu of conviction essentially means a defendant is given the opportunity to complete drug treatment programs rather than be sent to prison. If the programs are successfully completed, the judge will find the defendant not guilty of the crime. It’s an opportunity very few defendants are given.
Thankfully, this particular woman found the strength within herself to get the help she needed and is on her way to becoming and remaining a productive member of the community.
Sometimes people make mistakes and deserve a second chance. Although some people squander that second chance, some choose to take full advantage of the opportunity to succeed.
As sensational as a news story about drug crimes can be, it is much better news that defendants are given the help they need and even better when they succeed.
Steubenville Herald-Star. May 15
The kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria is deplorable.
The act of holy war declared by a warlord bent on pushing Islam over Christianity calls together people on both religious sides to live up to calls to treat others as we would want to be treated.
But the United States can only do what it is asked to do by the government of Nigeria, a sovereign nation.
There needs to be a reminder here in the Facebook, Twitter, Internet activism age that nations still actually do exist and governments actually do have a right to control what happens within their own borders, no matter how lousy a job they might be doing.
The U.S. could not do more than offer help until the government of Nigeria allowed that help to occur. And while it’s good that U.S. aviation is taking part in the search for the girls still held hostage, the reality is that Nigeria waited too long, perhaps, for that search to be effective.
This should not turn into a boots-on-the-ground initiative unless it’s part of an international searching expedition, properly called for by the Nigerian government and monitored by the U.N., lest the U.S. end up sacrificing armed forces personnel on a noble, but flawed, mission to a particularly lawless part of the world where radical Islamists are bent on goading their non-radicalized brethren, and Christians, to fight their jihad.
Absent unilateral and unrequested action, the U.S. is doing all it could, and should, do at this point.
The (Youngstown) Vindicator, May 18
Many years have passed since Jim Tressel worked at Youngstown State University, but you wouldn’t have known it last week as he delved into the strengths of the urban institution and detailed the challenges that await him as the next president of the university.
Tressel’s comments to reporters after he signed a letter of understanding on the terms of his three-year contract made it clear that although he has been away, he never really severed his ties with Youngstown State and the Mahoning Valley.
He answered questions about the budget, the decline in student enrollment, the need to improve the retention and graduation rates and the importance of collaboration with the community and other colleges and universities in this part of the state.
But it wasn’t just the former football coach’s words that were music to his many supporters’ ears — and gave his detractors pause.
Tressel’s decision to accept a salary of $300,000 — less than what the board of trustees of YSU had offered him — has resonated on and off campus….
While Tressel’s first public appearance as the next president of YSU — he formally begins his duties July 1 — was a hit, the real test of his abilities will come when he takes on the major challenges confronting the institution….
The new president’s supporters point to his proven record as a leader, a motivator and a bridge-builder. Tressel will need all those abilities and more as he charts a course for YSU that not only reverses the downward trend but builds for the future.