Letters to the Editor: May 19 – 25, 2011

Mason Drug Check Stomps On Personal Freedoms


On Monday, Principal Ty Byrd practically trumpeted the “get tough” policy at George Mason High School as he trampled all over the rights of innocent students without probable cause to search all students regardless of any hint of illegal activity. With a lockdown, a forced inspection of all backpacks, and K9 units from various police forces, our students were shown the dark side of the “war on drugs” where personal rights and freedoms mean nothing, as well as a complete denial of the right against self-incrimination and search and seizure. Below is the response I sent the principal:

“The problem with this scenario is that it assumes guilt. It targets all students, regardless of any probable cause, with any who might have broken the law. With the lockdown and search, the rights of the innocent were violated. By forcing them, as well as other students, to put their backpacks out for search, were their rights against self-incrimination violated? A hallmark of our legal system, in fact our very nation, is the concept of innocence until proven guilty, probable cause, and reasonable doubt. And what of the students who are 18 or older? Were they offered legal counsel and ‘mirandized?’ Were they given the right to refuse? I am very troubled at the perceived need to institute these sweeps to try and catch a few violators at the expense of the rights of the vast majority of innocent students.”

I believe the problem with drugs is very real, as is alcohol abuse, and cigarette abuse, among high school students. But the answer is not Gestapo-like sweeps that target everyone without regard to innocence and guilt, but better prevention and information to inform and treat this very real problem.

I am saddened that my son and daughter had to be abused in this way. I hope other parents can see beyond the simple facts and understand that this is a real crisis. If your son or daughter was 18 or older, this could not happen at their place of employment or on the street. Only in our schools could they be treated as guilty until proven innocent and be forced to have their personal property searched without access to legal counsel or consent.

Michael Baker

Falls Church

Len Represented What Was Best About City of F.C.


I’ve only lived in the area for a few years and was unaware of Len Michalowski. Having just read the two pieces written about Len in the May 12 News-Press’ editorial and letters part of the paper, I feel I’ve missed an opportunity to meet someone as stubborn and aggravating as myself.

I like people who dig in and get results.  I seek out individuals like these. A player, not a spectator. They have a sense of history and community which create unity amongst the residents. Citizens such as Len don’t just live here, they’re alive here. They participate because they can and they do.

Correct me if I’m wrong but Len seems to have been a passionate individual who lived his life so others could live theirs. Sharing his freedom of expression to the fullest and blending them with public and private involvements, which made all of our lives meaningful.

Both pieces talk about the diminutive size of our city, its pluses and minuses in knowing your neighbors. Maybe we should rebrand ourselves as; Falls Church: The Intima‘City’.

Paul M. Levy

Via the Internet



Not Speaking Out Doesn’t Make It Just


In Wayne Besen’s column in the May 5–11 News-Press, he quotes Michelle Bachmann as saying, “In 5,000 years of recorded human history neither in the east or in the west has any society ever defined marriage as anything other than between men and women. Not one in 5,000 years of recorded human history. That’s an astounding fact and it isn’t until the last 12 years or so that we have seen for the first time in recorded human history marriage defined as anything other than between men and  between women.”

Is Representative Bachmann aware that female circumcision has been practiced for 5,000 years in some parts of the world and until recently not one person has spoken out against that?

Merely because one doesn’t speak out, or speak out loudly, doesn’t mean an injustice is moral, ethical or legal – it just means the majority, like Ms. Bachmann, is undereducated in the understanding of human rights.

Scot Walker

Falls Church



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