A series of unfortunate events

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A series of unfortunate events

I would like to make an important correction to David Moltz’s article about the charter school application in Albemarle County [“County considers charter school,” Government News, June 5, 2007]. The city schools did not “pass on the school” as the headline suggested. There was a confluence of unfortunate circumstances including the departure of the superintendent who supported the charter, a turnover in board members while the application was being considered, no long-term strategic plan to fit into, no knowledge about chartering a school and no process in place to do so. We withdrew our application because of the complexity of the process. I was quoted incorrectly attacking the previous school board. I suggested to Mr. Moltz that the whole process was dysfunctional and added our own mistakes to the failure of the chartering of a school in the city. School people, including board members, work too hard on behalf of our young people to be chastised for difficult times and challenging situations.
 
Bobbi Snow
Charlottesville

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Many, many thanks

Many thanks to Will Goldsmith for his fine article on the Eastern Connector in the May 29, 2007 issue of your newspaper [“Locals float idea for Eastern Connector,” Development News]. As the chairperson of the River Run Committee to Preserve Pen Park, I am just one of many people who has obtained over 1,000 signatures from citizens opposed to the proposed road being built through Pen Park.

I also want to express my appreciation to all the folks who support the preservation of Pen Park and attended the first public meetings on the Eastern Connector May 22 and 24.
Finally, it was a joy to see the enthusiastic participation of our community and the second Potluck Pen Park Preservation Picnic, June 2. It was grand of our local CBS Station, 19 News, to cover the event.

Sarah P. Hendley
Charlottesville

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Don’t go to extremes

I‘m a fan of the Advice Goddess and was happy to read her response [“Sexual abuse sans sarcasm,” Mailbag, May 8, 2007] to Joyce Allan’s often-repeated claim that “at least one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18, most often by a parent or step-parent.” Amy Alkon is apparently as adept at critical thinking as she is at humorous advice-giving. No randomized, controlled study has ever shown this “statistic” to be valid. It is an outrageous attack on men and families.

Brad Perry’s response to Alkon [“Grief for Goddess,” Mailbag, May 22, 2007] is transparently inept. He restated the above “statistic” as “between one in four and one in five women have experienced a completed or attempted rape at some point in their lives.” That statement may be true, but it is not what Joyce Allan said. Joyce Allan said that children are being sexually assaulted at that rate by their parents, and that statement is not true. It is not true that a huge percentage of fathers and stepfathers are raping and molesting girls and boys in their homes while mothers and stepmothers and other family members turn a blind eye.
In fact, some government studies have shown the rate of sexual abuse in childhood to be less than 1 percent, and others have put it at around 5 percent (see http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/factsheet/pdf/CSA-FS20.pdf). We cannot know the actual percentage because of the nature of the crime and the different ways the crime is defined, but certainly we need to speak up when extremists like Allan and Perry make outlandish statements about its prevalence. That kind of rhetoric demeans the actual sufferers of childhood sexual abuse and makes it virtually impossible to accurately identify and help them.
 
Kathleen Manuel
Albemarle County


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