Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday morning: mothers from hell, bullying, public apologies, welfare motels

No stranger killed a six week old infant in a West Springfield motel; the three year-old sibling did it, when he and the infant were left alone for three hours by their mother.  That's what Hampden County District Attorney Bill Bennett announced on Friday, also saying it was likely that charges would be filed against the 21 year old mother, Erica Luce.

The "welfare motel" aspect of this tragedy is raising nearly as much ire as the death of the baby.
"The policy fails on all levels,. it fails for the taxpayers, if fails for the communities that are taking these families into their communities and at the same time its failing the families, it’s not placing them in a situation where they can succeed," said Representative Jim Welch.

Representative Jim Welch and Senator Stephen Buoniconti are pushing legislation to change the current system, hoping to change the way the homeless are housed, something they believe will help prevent the tragedies of late.

"Enough is enough we need to change this policy, this policy is a failed policy, " said Representative Jim Welch.  CBS3.
I'll have to spend at least part of today finding out what this new legislation is, but I'm worried.  Last year Sen. Buoniconti had a piece of "welfare reform" legislation that was punitive and showed a lack of understanding of conditions "on the ground" for poor families.  I've said before that the only thing worse than housing homeless families in motels is not to house them at all.

In Boston, the trial continues for a Hull woman accused of killing her four year old daughter with an overdose of psychotropic drugs.  Oddly, the doctor who prescribed these drugs for the child when she was only two years old, and who approved increasing the dosage, has not been indicted and has returned to her practice.

Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen wrote passionately this weekend about the bullying of Pheobe Prince, a South Hadley High freshman who killed herself five months after a specialist in bullying spoke at the high school to a mostly empty school auditorium.  Massachusetts lawmakers are now hurrying to get proposed anti-bullying legislation out of draft form and to the floor for a vote.  I wonder if it's crossed the mind of Springfield mother Sirdeaner L. Walker, whose 11 year old son killed himself last year after unrelenting bullying by other students at the New Leadership Charter School, that it's seemed to take the death of a white student from a middle class community to get the anti-bullying ball roll again?  It's certainly crossed mine.  The local blog Granby 01033, whose author teaches at a local high school, has a great description of how bullying can be tackled by school administrators-- but it takes the political will to do so.

This morning's Boston Globe reports that a public apology for years of dumping sewage from its cruise ship into Salem Harbor may be part of a plea agreement for the Rockmore Co. with federal prosecutors.  I didn't know this sort of thing took place, but apparently it won't be the first time in Massachusetts that those found guilty of violating environmental laws have had to put an apology in the newspaper or on a billboard.  According to the Globe, "some defense lawyers and scholars say the ads represent a throwback to the stocks and pillories of Colonial times and are designed less to educate the public and more to humiliate wrongdoers."

Would they rather be in jail instead of having to publicly humiliate themselves?  Sorry, if done fairly, I've got absolutely no problem with this.  How about you?

Photo from kpishdadi's photostream at Flickr.

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