Open Forum for week of April 24

EDITOR’S NOTE: Letters will be accepted for the Open Forum for publication in the next available issue after receipt. Letters may be sent to Forest Lake Times, 880 SW 15th St., Forest Lake, or by e-mail to [email protected] Letters should not exceed 250 words and must be signed with the writer’s name, address and telephone number. Deadline is noon Monday. The newspaper reserves the right to edit letters and assure that rules of libel and good taste are not violated.

Not a Magic Cure

In a letter to the editor dated April 17, the writer states that nine suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin school district and countless others across the state were avoidable because school districts had no formal ability to prevent the deadly bullying. There seems to be a perception that school districts are doing nothing to prevent bullying.

This is simply not true. Districts across the state, including the Anoka-Hennepin district, have anti-bullying procedures in place.

Those of us who work in the schools know that we work hard every day to provide a safe environment for students. To believe that a mandate from St. Paul will dramatically change this is incredibly naïve. Policies and procedures are and have been in place.

Any real change on this difficult issue will come from a continuous effort on the part of the individual districts.

Linda Knyphausen

Forefather’s Wisdom

Our nation’s problems today are not unlike some of the difficulties that faced this nation in 1863. Our nation was in the midst of a terrible Civil War that threatened to destroy this country. Lives were lost from enemy bullets, soldiers were left to live with the ill effects of the battlefield, family fought against family, and crucial decisions needed to be made that would affect every American throughout all future generations.

Abraham Lincoln was the president during that war. What was his solution to these problems? He declared a National Fast Day on March 30, 1863 and stated, “It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” (Abraham Lincoln: Quotes, Quips and Speeches, 2009).

Our nation and communities are in need of prayer, just as they were in the Civil War days. Today lives are lost to crime, drugs and suicide; political parties fight against each other; and decisions are made that will have serious consequences for future generations.

Why not try Lincoln’s solution to “humble ourselves and pray” to our merciful God?

Please join area Christians as we pray for our nation and communities at this year’s National Day of Prayer from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 1, at the Forest Lake American Legion.

Holly Payer
Forest Lake National Day of Prayer co-chair

  • Devon Holstad

    Linda, you are absolutely right that real change with regard to bullying in schools will come from work on the ground. You are also right, I’m sure, that some districts have done a lot of good work in preventing harm to this point. But that does not eliminate the fact that Minnesota’s standards on school bullying were until now among the worst in the nation. It’s not that schools have been doing nothing – of course they have. But they can, and they must, do more. And they must do so in the same zealous manner across the state. The “mandate from St. Paul” does not take away school district freedom. It simply sets a better, stronger base line that will ensure that districts do everything possible to keep our children safe. For anyone who would like to read more on how this issue actually occurs on the ground, read this story: (warning: profanity included in the article).

    Devon Holstad
    Forest Lake, MN