To the Editor:
Mr. Klaus makes an interesting claim regarding the fact that poor parenting led to the tragic drowning of Assunda Rotolo and Les Davis Jr., more so than the lack of public support for access to the Lewisburg community pool (Letter to the Editor, April 20, 2012). Unfortunately, we find this point of view one that is commonly leveled against low income parents alone. For instance, newspaper accounts from the June 2002 abduction of Elizabeth Smart, the affluent 14-year-old from Salt Lake City, do not mention her parents’ lack of responsibility with their failure to set their home alarm prior to bedding down for the night as a cause for Elizabeth’s subsequent kidnapping. We know from our interactions with the families that every day, Assunda and Les’s parents feel guilt over the loss of their children and what they might have done to prevent it.
As a community, we have little oversight over the parenting practices of individuals. We do, however, have the ability (and we might go so far as to say responsibility) to construct the kind of healthy, supportive community we envision. We imagine a community where children have opportunities for safe and accessible play with their families. That is why we organize the Pool Pass Project. Each recipient makes a financial contribution to their pass–-whatever they can afford. Last year, we helped 16 families safely play. We hope we have helped to create a system where a parent does not have to choose between providing food or supervised family play. We go to bed feeling good about this commitment. We hope that Mr. Klaus is equally as comforted by his position.
Sue Ellen Henry, Associate Professor of Education
Selected members from EDUC 318/618, spring 2012