Alternative discipline strategies are needed

As the school year begins, parents, teachers and students have a lot at stake. We all have a role to play in supporting schools and keeping our neighborhoods safe.

As members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, we recently released a research report, "Classmates not Cellmates," which shows that students kept out of the classroom too often find their way into the criminal justice systems.

The report shows that more than 700,000 out-of-school suspensions were issued in California during the 2010-2011 school year; over half were for relatively minor nonviolent, non-drug-related incidents.

Research shows that middle and high school students with one or more suspensions/expulsions for misbehavior were twice as likely to be held back a grade and almost three times as likely to have had contact with the juvenile justice system within one year.

Alternative disciplinary strategies have been proven to improve student behavior and academic outcomes, while maximizing classroom instruction. We applaud administrators and teachers who, even in tough budget times, are holding students accountable for behavior while keeping them in school.

We urge policymakers to support these efforts to help keep more of our young people in school and on track toward graduation.

Chief Scott Seaman

Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Department

Sheriff Keith Royal,

Nevada County Sheriff

We need to depend only on ourselves

Regarding the Sept. 16 article, "Gas prices bow to no one:"

I remember when George W. Bush was president, most of the media and newspapers always blamed Bush for the gas prices escalating. Now that President Barack Obama is in office and prices are escalating, the media say no president is responsible for high gas prices.

Obama's green energy is not working. We're not there yet. What we should be doing is drilling for oil. We don't have to depend on foreign oil at all.

We don't have to depend on any country for anything.

We take care of ourselves, instead of taking care of everybody else. I want my tax dollars staying in this country. Those Mideast countries can't stand us. We shouldn't give them a dime.

Cathy Ledbetter

Newark

Must get the dream back in my America

The America I grew up in is gone. However, the National GOP Convention gave a prelude to the America where I flourished. America is the story of opportunity, dreams, hard work, success, pride, respect and strong faith in a creator and each other.

My America is not President Barack Obama's America, where there are no jobs, no opportunities, little hope and no problem-solving. There are only empty promises and drowning debt. My America believes people can achieve much if given the opportunity to have a job. But where are the opportunities? Where are the jobs?

We do not need the government dole; we need jobs. With a job comes dignity, self-respect, self-confidence and the belief that one can accomplish and achieve whatever they dream.

A government subsidy is not a job or hope or opportunity. It is existence and nothing more. Let's get back to the dream, to a hope-filled revitalized America before it's too late.

Edna Pucci

Oakland

Obama has run a dirty campaign with attacks

From the 2008 positive campaign of "hope" and "change," President Barack Obama has descended into a negative campaign of attack and smear in 2012.

The Obama campaign attack advertising started in May, against Mitt Romney and Bain Capital, causing longtime Obama ally and campaign surrogate, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, to deplore as "nauseating" the negative campaign against private equity financing.

But the negative attacks on Romney and Bain, coming from a White House-connected super PAC, have continued and intensified.

They've run a series of ads awarded "four Pinocchios" by the Washington Post's fact checker -- its worst rating for truthfulness. The most egregious ad was an attempt to link Romney's tenure at Bain (ending in 1999) with a steelworker's wife's death from cancer in 2006, without any plausible connection.

On Obama's behalf, Sen. Harry Reid made a Joe McCarthy-like unsupported slander that Romney didn't pay any income taxes for 10 years, based on a "source" he won't identify.

Then, there's Vice President Biden telling a largely black audience Romney wants "to put y'all back in chains."

I can't recall a dirtier campaign than Obama's re-election.

Jim Hartman

Berkeley