Support student mental health

For years, the Saint Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE), parents and community members have been clamoring to increase mental health support services in our public schools. One of the side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a sharp increase in the need for basic mental health services for students of all ages. At a time when the need for mental health services in our schools is at its greatest, it is ridiculous that the Saint Paul Public Schools administration refuses to fund this critical need at pre-pandemic levels with available federal American Rescue Plan funds.

One of the saddest statistics about the “COVID generation” is that they are or will be more likely to struggle with their emotional well-being, something inadequate mental health services in our schools fail to mitigate. Mental health staff-to-student ratios of 1-to-400 or more, and month-long waits to see a counselor, are no way to run a school whose mission is to help children make the transition to adulthood.

Budgets are tools to manage resources. Public school budgets need to reflect the priorities of the communities that fund them. Available resources need to be budgeted accordingly. When the house is burning is not the time to skimp on the water budget. While resources are being used to provide leadership pay raises, it is time to marshal some COVID-19 response resources to begin to meet this urgent need.

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Educators partner with parents and the community to raise the next generation. In addition to looking out for our children’s academic growth, educators look after our children’s physical, mental and emotional health with dedication day in and day out. Now more than ever they are sounding the alarm. It is time for the community to join them and demand preventive measures to minimize future problems. Support SPFE in their negotiations with the school district for the sake of future generations.

Miguel Lindgren
Highland Park

Editor’s note: The writer is the parent of a student in the Saint Paul Public Schools.

Better way to stop
abortions

Roe vs. Wade was a necessary step in the ongoing process of allowing women to become full and equal partners and citizens. However, ever since that logical Supreme Court decision, anti-democratic forces have spent countless billions of dollars’ worth of human and financial resources to deny women the right of bodily autonomy and self-determination. What if those billions had been used to address the reasons (lack of affordable health care, struggling to make ends meet, a planet increasingly inhospitable to human life) why a women would decide to end a pregnancy? Would not our society be much better off?

Scott Raskiewicz
Macalester-Groveland

Rubber-stamping urban sprawl

The British realized in the 1930s that London’s urban development would eat up most of southeastern and central England if something wasn’t done to stop it. An isolated park here or there would not accommodate the hundreds of thousands of people hungering for places to enjoy the natural world and the mental health benefits that accompany it. So they proposed a green belt of land around London to preserve some of the nature that was being devoured by developers and investors. In a capitalist society, money, development, asphalt and cement usually win. But in London, there were some successes, and unnecessary development projects were prevented in favor of appropriate development.

The Twin Cities, western Wisconsin and Minnesota have nothing resembling a thoughtful, cohesive development strategy that would force us to save what little bit of greenery we can. We sorely need to slow down or eliminate the rubber stamp that developers get, which helps to create urban sprawl and diminishes our quality of life. Our area is a natural paradise. If we’re going to try to keep it this way and have something to leave our children, we must be a lot smarter in our approach to development.

Greg Nayman
Highland Park

For fuller view of vaccine data

Not only did MyVillager print a letter with incorrect data about COVID-19 vaccinations (“Cities’ quality of life is slipping,” Inbox, February 9), but you then compounded it by misstating the data in your own editor’s note after the letter, “Taking issue with vaccine data” (Inbox, February 23).

Your editor’s note stated that in December, “more than half of the Minnesotans who tested positive for COVID-19 had been vaccinated and a third of those who were hospitalized or died of COVID-19…had been vaccinated.” While fully vaccinated patients may still get ill, be hospitalized and die from COVID-19, the important reality is that those who are not fully vaccinated are at increased risk of becoming infected, being hospitalized and dying from COVID-19.

The Minnesota Department of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Weekly Update breaks this all down. For December for all age groups older than 12 years old, those who were not fully vaccinated had more cases, more hospitalizations and higher rates of death than those persons who were fully vaccinated. It is absolutely clear that being fully vaccinated reduces the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19. I would urge everyone to get vaccinated.

Dr. Sheldon Berkowitz
Summit Hill

I realize MyVillager operates with limited space. That being said, it still has a responsibility to make editorial responses to letters to the editor factual (MyVillager Inbox, February 23). When the Mayo Clinic reports results of a study, any thinking individual would instantly say, “There’s no way Mayo has results without CDC having equally authoritative results.” For MyVillager to cite studies without context is spreading misinformation.

Nearly all of us have been vaccinated in our preschool days. The anti-vaccine people conveniently remain silent on that. Few of them have suffered from the vaccines required for entry to public schools. MyVillager, for journalistic integrity, should be citing that reality. Don’t use your newspaper to polarize opinion if you wish my continued readership. That’s the job of social media. Your job is to be an antidote to the massive harm to the world from social media.

Jim Mork
Cooper, Minneapolis

Editor’s note: As we so often state, MyVillager welcomes letters to the editor. Our Viewpoint pages are an open marketplace of ideas; although the views expressed are not the views of MyVillager. With all due respect to Dr. Berkowitz and Mr. Mork, our editor’s note in the February 23 issue did not address the relative risks among the vaccinated and the unvaccinated of contracting COVID-19 or being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19. The only data to which that editor’s note referred was the total number of fully vaccinated and not fully vaccinated people who were contracting COVID-19 or were being hospitalized for COVID-19 according to the Minnesota Department of Health’s weekly updates for vaccine breakthrough cases.

Waste not? Why not

“Zero Waste” is plastered in large letters across the recycling trucks in Saint Paul. I practice that. But the city implemented mandatory trash collection for all of us regardless, and punished those who practice zero waste. Go figure.

Elizabeth Ellis
Summit-University

MyVillager welcomes letters to the editor and longer guest editorials. However, all commentary must be signed, indicate the neighborhood in which the writer lives and include a phone number for verification purposes. Please, send your letter to MyVillager, 241 S. Cleveland Ave., Suite V, Saint Paul, MN 55105, email it to letters@myvillager.com or submit it via our website at myvillager.com/editorial.

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