Your letters, June 1

May 30, 2014 

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    Please send letters of up to 300 words and guest columns of up to 600 words to editor@newsobserver.com. Or comment on our stories online using a Facebook account. All submissions may be edited for space and clarity.

Let current board decide

The majority of the Durham Public Schools Board of Education members, in the belief that they voted in the best interest of our children, have fallen victim to the unsupportable complaints of two of the incoming school board members.

We have a situation here where the incoming board members have not even attended board and bommittee meetings with one exception and that of Matt Sears who attended several meetings prior to and after the elections. However, Mr. Sears is on record as supporting the current board members in their capacity to determine who shall replace Dr. Becoats.

When the school board was in the process of selecting a replacement for Dr. Harris, the two incoming board members, at that time, supported the existing school board in their deliberations and selection of the next superintendent.

The incoming board members bring very little wisdom to the interview and selection process by virtue of their failure to participate in both public meetings and board meetings.

I do hope that vice chairperson Minnie Forte-Brown, Pastor Frederick Davis and Omega Curtis-Parker will participate in the interviews, deliberations and final selection of our next superintendent. They all possess the experience, intelligence and knowledge we desperately need to move forward in the best interests of the children in Durham County. Please do not fail our children.

Allan Lang

Durham

A dissenting opinion

Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to the mayor and City Council, as well as to The Durham News.

We are commissioners of the City of Durham Human Relations Commission. This statement is made by us individually and does not represent the views of the Human Relations Commission.

We voted in opposition to the recommendations you received from the HRC. We are currently preparing a report detailing our concerns about the recommendations and will provide it to the Council as soon as possible.

However, as the recommendations have been presented, we want to identify two of the recommendations that most compel us to file a separate report, as well as our concerns regarding the commission’s methodology.

First is the recommendation mandating regular psychiatric evaluation for police officers. The recommendation insults the members of law enforcement and interferes with their privacy in a fundamental way. No members of the commission have medical qualifications to support such a recommendation. No evidence was presented to support such a recommendation. No research was ever done into what evaluations or counseling are currently used by the Durham Police Department.

Second is the recommendation calling for the very advocacy groups who asked the commission to find racial profiling in the DPD to partner with the city to present forums on citizens’ rights regarding police practices. The commission even rejected using language to call for “experts” to do the forums. If rights are to be explained, it must be done in a way and by people who recognize the inherent danger in resisting inquiry by law enforcement. An infringement of a right can be corrected in court. Death or injury cannot.

Our report will also address the lack of any research by the commission on racial profiling beyond receiving the presentations of the advocacy groups. It will also discuss the failure of the commission to subject the statistical data presented to review by any qualified statisticians or experts.

We have many other such concerns, of which we will make you aware. Thank you for your consideration.

Jeffrey Clark

Richard Ford

Misty Odell

Durham

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