No follow-up for racial taunting incident at BH-BL

Saturday, November 2, 2013
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No follow-up for racial taunting incident at BH-BL

Six to 12 Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake students chanted “Amsterico” to offend the largely Hispanic Amsterdam football team and community during BH-BL’s homecoming football game [Oct. 16 Gazette]. The derogatory term was meant to insult Amsterdam, but it only hurt BH-BL’s reputation.

Now that the initial storm has blown over, things seem too quiet at school. From my perspective as a BH-BL freshman who wasn’t at the game, it appears district administrators have shown an insufficient response.

Two days after the game, during the last hour of school, an announcement was made, a description of [what happened] and an apology. Then some upperclassmen entered my classroom and told us to sign a sheet of paper which would be mailed to Amsterdam. Over 900 signatures were [collected]. After that, rumors only echoed down hallways about what happened to the students who [made] the slur. And after that, it was barely spoken of.

That’s not right. According to the Burnt Hills website, Superintendent Patrick McGrath wants to take advantage of the situation by “turning it into a teachable moment.” Which is all fine and dandy, except it isn’t happening.

The BH-BL student populace was left practically clueless after that announcement. There was no assembly, no telling of [what transpired] behind closed doors at the district office. And this bothers me.

As a student, it is my role to actively pursue knowledge and to use it to better my life. That’s why we go to school, after all. But in this case, I’m not allowed access to the knowledge I need. We haven’t learned anything since the homecoming game.

Jacob Ettkin


Red Sox exemplified team play in laudatory manner

It is a truly wonderful thing. Oh, not that the American League East won the World Series (though I do like that), but that the Boston Red Sox won it.

They certainly deserved it. They played well enough despite not hitting very well overall. They scrambled, though, hitting when it counted, and seemingly, from my perspective, out-pitching the St. Louis Cardinals. My congrats to them and to their stalwart, long-suffering fans, albeit that’s now three titles in 10 years.

I’ve said it often enough, although a fan of the Sox’s arch and historic rivals, born and bred a Yankee, I’m more a fan of the game and its complicated drama. During the season, the playoffs and Series, as my team faltered and failed, I had that much going for me, which was nice.

But there’s one more thing that sincerely warms my heart about it all, one preeminent thing — the indubitable fact that the Sox are truly a “team.” No matter your routine affiliation, you gotta love that. Got to because it’s a grand and a great thing to see such a unit of selfless, hardscrabble ballplayers sweat through the strife of battle to earn their just reward. And to see it happen in a storied venue in my lifetime, if but from afar and electronically, was special.

I guess that, given my love of the game over all else, the Boston Red Sox are, today, also my champions!

Tom Hefferon


Proposition 5 land swap merits a no vote

Proposition 5 to amend the state constitution is a bad deal. It is poorly written and sets a precedent allowing a corporation to buy a valuable protected resource from the state.

NYCO Minerals of Willsboro wants to acquire 200 acres of forest preserve land estimated to contain 1.2 to 1.5 million metric tons of wollastonite. NYCO Minerals Inc. is owned by the Greek-based multinational, S&B Industrial Minerals S.A., which operates in 75 countries on five continents and posted a profit of about $54 million from $470 million in sales during 2012. Based on current wollastonite prices, this mineral deposit would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for [the company].

As Proposition 5 is written, New York state would receive some unspecified land with a value of at least $1 million. This is the equivalent of New York state selling mineral resources for pennies on the dollar, practically giving away a piece of its natural heritage for the profit of a foreign corporation.

New Yorkers deserve a better deal. Vote no on Proposition 5.

Henry Kinosian

Ballston Lake

Keep gambling, like prostitution, illegal

Gambling has been around as long as the so-called oldest profession, prostitution.

There is a reason both were outlawed. It is because the detrimental effects outweigh the benefits. If we deny this and legalize gambling, we might as well legalize prostitution since the benefits purported for gambling could also be applied to prostitution — increased jobs, revenue from taxes, all in all a boost to the economy.

Of course, that would make us all pimps.

Sandra Natale


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November 2, 2013
2:52 p.m.
tonijean613 says...

BRAVO Jacob Ettkin ! A leader in the making !!

November 2, 2013
3:16 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Jacob Ettkin and tonijean. Those students are minors and it is illegal for the school to speak of whatever if any punishment they received. BTW this is still America and there is still the 1st amendment. I have children in the military and I have children that deployed to war zones. The Westboro Baptist Church protests at military funerals saying thy deserved to die. It is something that I find distasteful and I am part of the Patriot Guard Riders who block these protesters from the family of fallen heroes, but the Constitution gives them the right to peacefully protest and thousands of our military died for their right to protest. That is a line you do not want to cross regardless of how distasteful it is. On the bright side, thank you for writing a letter to the newspaper Jacob. I'm always glad when our younger generation get involved.

November 2, 2013
4:21 p.m.
ChuckD says...

Hoo boy, it is NOT illegal for "the school to speak of whatever if any punishment they received". Cite the specific law please to prove me wrong.
And you clearly don't see the hypocrisy in blocking another from exercising their first amendment rights. Whatever you may think of the church people (I happen to think their "expression" falls into the realm of mental illness), you may think your blocking of them falls under your first amendment rights, but your first amendment rights don't allow you to block another's. That's a kind of censorship, and that's unAmerican.

November 2, 2013
5:09 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Well ChuckD, since you are very simple let me do the research for you.
Accessing Records-Third Parties

FERPA prohibits the dissemination of personal information to third parties in most circumstances, subject to several exceptions set out specifically in the act. These exceptions are narrowly interpreted. A notice of each request for access and each disclosure must be created and maintained with the student's record. Any disclosure must be made on the condition that the information will not be redisclosed unless it is authorized and will be used only for the purpose for which it was acquired.

November 2, 2013
6:19 p.m.
ChuckD says...

And I stand gladly corrected, wmarincic, although the pertinent part of the Buckley Amendment can be found under "Records of Disciplinary Actions". Let that be a response to Mr. Etkkin as well, if he reads this.
Also let the record also show you cited EPIC, a well-know liberal website, no doubt run by dirty, pot-smoking hippies. Just saying...

November 2, 2013
8:45 p.m.
wmarincic says...

ChuckD, thank you for admitting I was correct for once, there may be hope for you after all. I do mean that. As for EPIC, no doubt :0)

November 3, 2013
9:25 a.m.
Ahmjrcpa1 says...

The punishment should include the offending students (with their parents at their side !) standing before the entire student body, faculty and any taxpayers in attendance in the auditorium, or gym, apologizing individually for their offensive behavior--AND it should be repeated at the Amsterdam high school !

November 3, 2013
11:38 a.m.
ChuckMitchell says...

It was just a few kids being smart a****. It is OVER-DONE, let it be! Some of you people sound like a broken record!

November 3, 2013
11:58 a.m.
Ahmjrcpa1 says...

Your definition of being a smart a** is a bit different than mine. OVER-DONE say who, you? I know what my punishment would have been had I done this 55 years ago - would not have been pretty, either at school AND at home.

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