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Letters to the editor — Wednesday (8-20-14)

Teachers get 7 percent raise, really?
“A step in the right direction.” “It’s a start.” These things have been said recently about the announced average 7 percent raise for teachers. It sounds great, but in true political form the public has been led to believe something far from the truth.
The operative word is “average,” and what that means to most teachers is far from a raise. Our newest teachers benefit most with raises up to 18 percent. They deserve it, have struggled without it and we are lucky they have hung in there after five years frozen at starting pay.
The hard-hit are our veteran teachers, myself included. I am in the 25+ year zone and will remain frozen at that pay until I retire in 10 years — no matter how hard I work or what I accomplish. I will not receive a mere cost of living increase! Since my current pay has been frozen for five years and will remain at that level, I will finish my last 15 years with no pay increase. And, by the way, I am grandfathered at my level. Those reaching my level behind me will make far less.
A step in the right direction? Really? I am afraid the direction veteran teachers are being invited to step is out of the profession. We have devoted our lives to the education of young people and are leaders in our schools. Do we really want to tell our most experienced teachers that they are not valued? Is this what we want to offer prospective teachers? Or to young teachers to encourage them to stay? I worry that our step in the right direction may not be so in the long run, and I thought you might want a clearer view of what the “average raise” really means.
— Lynn Haynes
Salisbury

Patience needed
Ferguson, Missouri is a disaster looking for a place to happen. While the death of Mr. Brown is a tragedy, it may pale in comparison to what may lie around the bend. Some points of interest are: (as I write this, Aug. 18)
1. People are impatient. Rioting in the streets without disclosure of the facts has now brought deployment of the National Guard. Citizens want Officer Darren Wilson’s head on a platter — short of an investigation. If guilty, we’ll know in due time.
2. The fires of rage have been stoked — not soaked — by the involvement of Obama, Holder, Al Sharpton, and the U.N. (Believe that?)
3. After six years as a stellar police officer, Darren Wilson didn’t just go rogue overnight. A serious threat (adrenaline burst) to oneself can prompt unconscious reactions, like completely unloading one’s weapon, without realizing it. I have many relatives and friends — retired and active duty officers — from the Kannapolis Police and Cabarrus Sheriff’s Office. Chief Woody Chavis, (Kannapolis Police, an old friend) and Sheriff Brad Riley, along with their officers, are exemplary men and women! I’m sure Concord and Rowan County are blessed as well. Their lives are on the line protecting citizens every day. Walk a mile in the shoes of Missouri law enforcement before condemning.
4. Contrary to the liberal media, officers protecting themselves and the innocent cannot be too heavily armed. Period! Law enforcement has shown great restraint.
5. Three autopsies of Mr. Brown are a monumental mistake. Depending on pavement blood stains in relation to body location, along with possible disagreements within the three autopsies, and witness statements which already seem to display contradiction, convicting Officer Wilson of any charge may make catching ground fog in a coke bottle seem easy. What happens then? Rodney King ring any bells?
— Randy Biggerstaff
Kannapolis

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