, Derry, New Hampshire

October 17, 2013

Letters to the editor

Derry News

---- — Dress code won’t solve security issues

To the editor:

Over the past few years, there has been controversy regarding the possibility of Pinkerton Academy implementing a “unified dress code.” A parent meeting took place on Sept. 27 to inform Pinkerton attending communities about the possibility of this dress code change. The proposed “unified dress code” would be a series of polos, button-up shirts, khakis, “skorts” and appropriate shorts of varying color. Students would then pick their outfits from the supplied options.

Recent security concerns in light of the increased number of school shootings around the nation have been one reason for these discussions. By having students wear a “unified dress code,” the school’s administration and security believes that students would have a harder time concealing a weapon.

Although one could argue that this might be the case, there are no studies or substantial evidence that suggest this to be true. Research has been done concerning the effects of uniforms on school safety, but it focuses on hindering gang-related violence, theft, and bullying due to eliminating socio-economic gaps and gang-designated clothing.

Also, there are insubstantial claims that a school uniform could theoretically allow the school and police to identify non-students and threatening individuals. All of these statements, however, are simply biased observations. No viable research exists that show uniforms increase safety in schools from an active shooter.

Instead of spending time and resources on debating the possibility of school uniforms, Pinkerton could proceed with other safety precautions. The school could undergo a third-person security audit, which, as of January 2013, has not been completed on campus. The state of New Jersey’s Department of Education now has a School Security Drill Law that requires schools to conduct lockdown, evacuation and active shooter drills. The state then reviews the schools on their efficiency in each drill.

Adopting a policy such as this would use fewer resources than uniforms and increase the school’s safety without creating unnecessary controversy. With lack of evidence of uniforms efficacy in increasing school safety and other options available that are less controversial, Pinkerton Academy’s administration should put this “unified dress code” to rest or adopt a different approach for promoting the policy.

Andrew Sheets


New York incident hurts bikers’ image

To the editor:

As a responsible motorcyclist and a concerned citizen, I am writing about the incident that occurred in New York City on Sept. 29, involving an SUV driver and some motorcyclists.

I am troubled by the serious injuries caused by the SUV driver and by the actions of some motorcyclists who apparently decided to take the law into their own hands. Some in the media have reported the facts but others are sensationalizing the story. I urge you to report this incident factually and objectively.

I ride responsibly and do my best to represent motorcycling in a positive light. Those of us who ride support rider education and often raise funds for charitable causes in our community. The safety of all road users, especially motorcyclists, is of the utmost concern to me and I do not support actions by any road users that violate the law.

Each year, the American Motorcyclist Association sanctions hundreds of well-organized recreational events. At these events, law-abiding motorcyclists gather to enjoy camaraderie and spend their tourist dollars in host cities and surrounding communities. One unfortunate event of this kind, reported frequently by national and local media, can create a false image of all motorcyclists by the general public.

Motorcycling has become an enjoyable mainstream activity and almost everyone today has a family member or friend who rides. The actions of the motorcyclists portrayed in the video of the encounter in New York City do not represent me, my friends, or the vast majority of the 27 million motorcyclists in America.

Robert Brassard


Cuts could harm dialysis patients

To the editor:

Last month, I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Capitol Hill in Washington to talk with members of Congress about an issue that is critical to the survival of hundreds of thousands of dialysis patients across the country — potential funding cuts to Medicare’s kidney care program.

As Congress returned from its summer recess, real-life patients who depend on the successful 40-year-old Medicare End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) program joined me on Capitol Hill, hopeful that we could draw attention to a proposal to cut nearly $1 billion from this vital program.

Since 1972, dialysis patients have been protected by the Medicare ESRD program. However, a new regulation proposed by the government agency that oversees Medicare — the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) — would endanger access to care for recipients of this benefit. The proposal from CMS would reduce reimbursements for dialysis by nearly 10 percent, which would be less than it costs to provide care. I understand that cuts of this magnitude could result in facility closures, staffing and service reductions.

In my meetings with Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter I raised these concerns about the proposed cuts to the Medicare ESRD benefit and what it would mean for my dialysis care. I also raised awareness of kidney disease and the special role that Medicare plays in providing life-sustaining treatment in New Hampshire.

I appreciated the opportunity to share these concerns with Rep. Shea-Porter, and hope readers will feel compelled to contact her, as well as Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte, to ask them to support the ESRD program.

Debra Breault

Facility administrator

DaVita Derry Dialysis