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Why didn't people act on child's pleas for help?

As I hear more about the death of 10-year-old Abdifatah Mohamud, I am very sickened and distraught by another death of a child. I am also compelled to ask the questions of how and why our society and "the system" failed again -- another child screaming for help. You can Google too many of these similar stories all across the United States. I cannot wrap my head around this.

It appears the boy had a history of living in fear, with noticeable bruises, placing a call to 911 himself, reaching out to adults, telling them, pleading, asking for help from his abuse. He had a voice, he was not deaf or misunderstood, yet no one heard him. Is everyone so afraid to get involved when a child's life is at stake? What kind of humans are we then?

We can add another innocent victim to the sick viciousness of those who feel this is the way to handle their issues and their anger instead of recognizing that they need help. No child should have to fight for his life as Abdi did. May he rest in peace when justice is dutifully served for a murder that could have easily been prevented. That is the saddest piece of the puzzle.

Arlene Sebastian



Radford should address the root of the problem

Samuel Radford appears to be a very influential leader of the Buffalo Public School parents' group. He and his organization have been quite outspoken about the current teacher evaluation controversy. Perhaps his time would be better spent persuading parents to comply with attendance requirements rather than complaining about a situation resulting from their negligence.

Mary VandenBergh



Trust nuns to choose wise and able leaders

Upon reading of the Vatican's recent attack against our Catholic nuns, I was furious and disheartened by such folly. Following Vatican II, congregations of women religious took up the challenge to all religious orders to renew themselves by going back to their roots. They did, were reinvigorated, and continue to be, as they routinely, deliberately and prayerfully discern their mission and vision together.

Picture the Catholic Church, my church, without the life blood of today's nuns: a church wracked by the worldwide pedophilia scandal, thanks to perpetrators and superiors who failed for decades to safeguard the lives of children entrusted to their spiritual care. Then picture the dearth of social services, particularly those that serve the poorest and most wounded among us, of missions, hospitals, schools, parish programs, spiritual direction and lives dedicated to social and environmental justice.

Are we to believe that the nuns cannot be trusted to elect wise and able leaders from whom they choose a representative to their Leadership Conference? To believe that the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine knows what is best for them, and the people they have daily contact with? Does the Vatican view us lay Catholics as no more insightful than sheep?

I can't help but wonder about the stance of those centralized powers reeking of patriarchy, politics and the abuse of power. If they want a smaller, less Catholic (universal) and more conservative church, they are on the right track. As witch hunts always go, the inquisition turned up exactly what they were looking for. Sadly for all, they failed to learn what the nuns could have taught them about being Christ, not to the few or the many but to all of God's people. Lest they lose heart, we need to let our nuns know that we stand with them, and we are well aware of how truly amazing they are.

Mary O'Herron



State's standardized tests unfair to special ed pupils

I have been a New York State special education teacher for 25 years, and the biggest travesty I have witnessed thus far has been the state-mandated standardized tests, particularly for students with special needs.

Imagine being an 8-year-old child with either learning disabilities, social emotional concerns, mild developmental delays, mild autism, speech/language concerns, attention and hyperactivity issues, etc., including one or more of these in any combination. Then imagine you must sit and take a test that is one to three grade levels above your current level in that subject.

This is the plight of so many students, starting as early as third grade. To qualify for special education services, the students, by government definition, must be behind, by at least one grade level in at least one academic area. To subject these students to tests that they cannot read and/or comprehend is a waste of time and energy for the students and their teachers. Valuable teaching and learning time is lost, while the test brings terror and tears to these students.

The icing on the cake is that 40 percent of a special education teacher's evaluations will be based on how these students perform on a test that is clearly not appropriate for them to be taking in the first place. Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore is right on the money when he said in the April 21 News that the members of the state Education Department "are so far removed from the realities of the classroom and what is really important about measuring student growth and teacher performance that they are just muddying the waters and issuing edicts that have no connection to reality as to what will really help teachers teach and students learn."

Dawn Bartlett

North Tonawanda


It is impossible to create something from nothing

An April 22 letter writer said he uses reason, and that he is an atheist. Let's use reasoning and discuss this matter further. Atheists don't believe in God because God can't be seen, and they believe only in the natural world. Christians know that running parallel to this natural world is a spirit world. The Bible discusses all the characteristics of the spirit world. We know God is a spirit. We know that God created this natural world.

Atheists' whole explanation of the creation of the world is impossible. They claim that there was a big bang theory. In the natural world, it is impossible to start with nothing and then have something. They claim asteroids collided, but the asteroids could not have existed only in the natural world. There had to be something first, and if only the natural world exists, that is impossible. In the natural world, you cannot start with nothing and end up with something.

The only way any life can exist is if there is something that always was, and that is only possible from the spirit world. I challenge all atheists to prove this wrong. Study the Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeological digs from ancient civilizations and the Bible. What will happen is the same thing that has happened to untold numbers of atheists who tried to prove the Bible to be false. They became Christians once they discovered the truth.

Martin J. Dziwulski