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Letters to the editor (6/18/12)

Patients are ill, not criminals

Psychiatric hospitals in Alaska have developed a disturbing trend. The hospitals are treating individuals with mental illness as if the patient has committed a crime by becoming mentally ill.

In the old state-run Alaska Psychiatric Institute hospital, a family member could spend $3 and eat a meal with the patient in the cafeteria and make a connection for family time. There is no room in the new API cafeteria for family members.

In the old hospital, family members could meet with patients on the hospital unit where the patient felt comfortable. In the new API it is very difficult.

According to API staff, the new API can be loud and distressing to patients. The new API has less floor space for patients than the old hospital

The new API is more like a prison than a hospital.

We need to reverse the trend of making psychiatric patients feel like they have committed a crime by increasing dignity of patients, more rights, better care. By doing so, the state will increase patient recovery.

-- Dorrance Collins / Faith Myers

mental health advocates

Anchorage

Kids deserve full school board

I am a teacher in ASD. My life and those of my students and colleagues have been affected by the recent cuts to art and world language programs in ASD. I was in attendance at this week's School Board meeting; Mr. Higgins was not.

As teachers, students, parents and School Board members continue to grapple with the current realities of school funding, I think it behooves us all to come together and work harmoniously to serve the needs of our children. In my opinion 4,000 miles is simply too far away for Mr. Higgins to participate in this discussion in any meaningful way.

Perhaps one of our now part-time educators could step up to that position and make up part of his or her lost income? Mr. Higgins, I implore you to do the right thing and resign your position. The children of Anchorage deserve our best effort.

-- Debra Abshier

Eagle River

District cuts will cost children

130 teaching positions cut from ASD; only 4.5 reinstated. The protest to try to save some of the 35 teachers being laid off from the ASD has brought the situation back into the media light.

Unfortunately, many of our children will be returning to larger classes and fewer choices next fall. Most of the 130 losses are being absorbed by retirements and other forms of attrition. At Service High, 12 percent of the regular education staff has been cut (10 teachers). This included English, science, PE as well as world languages. This process happened all over the district in the middle and high schools. So students will have fewer options to get the classes they need and they will have 300 more students divided into those classes.

ASD expects to have the same problem next year. The expected shortfall is $20 million. It would be great if Ms. Boots or another reporter would do a comprehensive article on the whole situation.

-- Joel Rardin

Anchorage

Judges must not get out much

As I was looking at the front page of Wednesday's (June 13) ADN sports section, a thought came to mind. Remembering front row seats at a major sporting event are not cheap, the magazine that named Anchorage the worst dressed city in the U.S. has never been to Oklahoma City.

-- Jay Lawrence

Anchorage