Bravo to Dr. Peter Galvin for his comprehensive and well-researched column on the alleged benefit of supplements. As a PhD Biochemist and Professor of human anatomy and physiology, I have discussed with many individuals over the years how there is absolutely no physiological reasons why most supplements have any benefit. Furthermore, I have been advocating that individuals using absurdly high levels of supplements might actually be doing themselves harm. The supplement industry is the modern day equivalent of snake oil sales. These are conclusions based on actual rigorous scientific studies, so perhaps take that money you spend on supplements and buy a pair of sneakers and a brimmed hat. Get out and walk and protect yourself from the sun. There's an actual plan that will result in better health!
Mary Beth Dawson, PhD
New Group Recruits
The article on bullying by Katie McFadden was great. My daughter went through hell at St. Francis with bullying. Two punks (girls) were constantly bullying her. My greatest regret: I DID NOTHING. I thought they would make it worse for her. Every time I see them around, I look at them with great anger. It is a big problem. Thank you for addressing the issue.
P.S. I should have done something. At least the parents at PS 114 are doing something.
Bullying Blow Up
Please excuse my ignorance on bullying and taking it so outrageously public, schoolyard fights happen all the time! I am confused by the broad definition of bullying. In the midst of the cloud looming over PS 114, and its protocol I would like to share our story. My daughter was taunted, and yes I said taunted, not bullied. A student who herself admitted she was bullied (her words), threatened my child would be next. It went on for two weeks of unacceptable aggressive behavior before my daughter told us. When I noticed her timid, and afraid to go to school, she finally bravely shared what she was experiencing. We discussed the issue at home first. In our lengthy family meeting we gave deep descriptions of poor behavior, and where it comes from, as well as how to handle it. We then spoke to her teacher who I think is the true superhero. She shared that she had no tolerance for bad behavior. It was swiftly addressed and taken care of, and guess what? They’re amicable friends.
I reluctantly add, and I say this with great caution because we do not take this comment seriously, nor did it cause any permanent damage. Personally we like the sticks and stones approach for this one. The child in question repeatedly called our child white trash. Not horrible I know, plus I don’t think he knows what he is saying, we do live in a pretty comfortable neighborhood. Not too much white trash here, or maybe we’re all white trash to him, haha. Not sure what his interpretation of the comment was, but nevertheless no great harm, we never addressed it. It did start a conversation in our home on tolerance and how much is too much. We discussed boundaries and when it’s worth reacting.
This year our daughter was taunted again, but worse. She was punched by another girl, who by the way, surprisingly enough, is very introverted. I did speak with the teacher, and did not get the same attention as last year. In her defense she is also an amazing teacher and extremely overwhelmed. They have shoved four third grade classes, into three fourth grade classes. In my opinion this has remained the route of the problem. The children have suffered behaviorally and academically. It has been a great strain on our teachers, and our underfunded school.
Going back to the girl taunting our child this year. I decided to call the parent teacher coordinator and ask what school protocol was. She directed me to the school social worker. The school social worker was quite familiar with this student. She was on her radar and took quick action. It stopped immediately and while they are not friends, they are cordial and respectful to each other. Let's look at the big picture here: this is about a strong community of very protective parenting.
What happens at school is the principal’s problem, and what happens at home is the parents’, this is my opinion of course, use your own discretion. I do not purposely wish to insert myself into the issue. I just felt compelled to share two well-handled incidents at PS114.
Parents acting aggressively and taking issues public are hard for a principal to accommodate. I’m not defending him, I’ve had my differences with him, but respect this is his school, and we have worked our personal differences out, without a lot of words, I might add. He is not the easiest to talk to, I agree, but we are a neighborhood of productive and efficient parents, so the job get’s done.
I am not sharing this for commentary, I do believe there are many sides to this story, and it will blow over, but not without a scar. Kids fight, they’re learning that we are here to teach them to resolve their issues respectfully. No need for a public outcry. We don’t have it that bad. Let’s remember social media is a great platform for expression, but this is not a reality show, it’s our school and our children’s lives. Be prepared to put a target on all of us. Remember what you put out there cannot be erased.
And what is the objective? To have him removed? He is retiring. Is it to end bullying globally - good luck, or just to protect your child? Whatever it is, point taken. Now please work it out privately. The school doesn’t need such negative attention. This doesn’t speak for all parents at PS 114. Watch what you wish for. Sometimes it’s not always the better outcome. I shared a story of another side of another incident with a completely different outcome.
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