A Lesson in Scamming

Letters published August 10, 2005

Cactus 12 CD-release party Beachland Ballroom Friday, August 5
A former TIPS staffer escapes: I am a former teacher at TIPS, and I am so glad that you wrote the article ["Dream Killer," July 27]! Like most teachers there, I was afraid of getting involved because it could mean losing my job. Fortunately, I signed a contract yesterday at a new school and don't have to return.

To me, it is one of the worst violations of children's rights and needs I've seen in Cleveland. It has made me so sad to know that the families of the students are trying to make good choices for their children and, like us teachers, are scammed from the beginning. I would love to see the state investigate, but that doesn't seem likely. What can be done?

Editor's note: The writer requested anonymity because she's still hoping to get back pay from TIPS.

Young and wasted: I am a parent whose son used to attend the International Preparatory School. I was first drawn to the school due to the foreign languages, but my son's first year -- he was in kindergarten -- was hell.

They were so unorganized, and nobody seemed to care what went on. I tried to give them another chance the following year when I was approached by the owner's daughter, Khadeeja Sherrell-Morse, who was then the superintendent of the schools. She told me about all the exciting changes coming up and wanted me to give them another chance. I was disappointed a second time. My son's education and learning were being played.

They went through three principals that year. His first-grade teacher was only there for the first two months. The second teacher came along and gave a repeat of homework. TIPS messed up the Terra Nova tests by grading them in-house, knowing they were supposed to be graded by the state, forcing the children to endure another full week of testing before school was dismissed. I went up to the school and raised hell.

This was just a horrible experience altogether, and I truly regret ever putting him in there. Fortunately, my son is six years old. But what about those students who don't have time? I will not refer anyone to this school. The administration has no clue what it takes to run a school or to educate children. It is about time something is done, instead of allowing them to continue to mislead people.

Antoinette Walton

Paddling upstream: You hit the nail right on the head with this article. You should win the Pulitzer Prize! However, not all administrators were bad.

I was the high school principal at TIPS during the 2002-2003 school year. Even though my contract was not renewed, I wasn't planning on working there a second year. It was the worst, most dismal experience I have ever had in a school. I tried in vain to help build a world-class school, only to be badmouthed, second-guessed, slandered, and constantly overridden by incompetent board members.

Does TIPS still have security personnel in battle fatigues armed with paddles? This place was, and apparently is still, so bad it is almost comical.

Jim Varrone

Scene vs. the Zombies
Unfounded allegations of respect:
I've been an avid reader for 15 years, and I was skeptical about the shift from 100 percent music to actual news. But doubts have been erased once and for all. Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Scene.

The day after "City for Sale" [July 20] broke, The Plain Pretender decided that they wanted to be the ones to break the news on how corrupt Mike White really is. What I don't understand is that, if it was Scene that got the FBI affidavit on Mike White and broke the story, then why is everyone telling me that it's The Plain Pretender that gets the credit? Unfortunately, Scene gets no respect.

Let me tell you something, all you Plain Pretender zombies: Scene did something, all right. 1) Scene has beaten our very own "Great Metropolitan Newspaper" to maybe the biggest story of the year. 2) Scene has forced said "Great Metropolitan Newspaper" to play catch-up. 3) Scene has earned the respect of its readers. Now if we could just work on the other Plain Pretender zombies.

Felix H. Brown III

Ashamed of Ohio?
Fresh new reason for embarrassment:
Your story on the morning-after pill was quite an eye-opener ["Bitter Pill," July 13]. I was probably one of the first users of the morning-after pill when I showed up at the emergency room, a scared 18-year-old, after being raped in January 1998. (The hospital was not in Ohio.)

All I knew was what I'd heard through a combination of gossip and media about this pill. I told my story to nurse after nurse and doctor after doctor, all of whom blew me off, but, through my persistence, I was eventually given the prescription I sought.

At a follow-up appointment with my gynecologist, she was appalled at the trouble I'd had getting the pill and even instructed me to call her at home if it should ever happen again. I naively thought the difficulties I ran into would be long gone by now. As much as I love my adopted hometown of Cleveland -- and the state of Ohio -- this report makes me embarrassed to live here.

Name withheld

The ol' conception question: I found your article "Bitter Pill," and the letters that followed, to be disturbing and misleading. They presented as undisputed fact the opinions that pregnancy begins when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus, not at fertilization, and that morning-after pills, which prevent implantation, are therefore not abortifacients, but are contraceptives that prevent pregnancy.

These opinions have been widely refuted within the medical and scientific communities. At least 10 medical dictionaries define pregnancy as beginning at conception. Instead of engaging in semantic gymnastics, which deny that abortion and emergency contraception take human life, Scene should write about support available to women that enables them to take control of their lives without having to sacrifice their offspring. Organizations such as the Nurturing Network, for example, provide practical assistance with housing, college transfers, work assignments at sympathetic companies, "phone buddies" who've been in the same situation, psychologists to work through the separation process of adoption, and pre- and post-natal medical care, all free or at sliding-scale fees.

Marilyn Kopp
Feminists for Life

Don't wait for emergencies: Rebecca Meiser's recounting of a young woman's frustrating and nearly futile attempt to access emergency contraception was depressing to read the first time. Now, while I type this letter, I am listening to talk radio debate the announcement of conservative John Roberts as Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement on the Supreme Court. Beyond depressed, I am now scared.

Scared about how much more oppressive this "freedom-loving" country will become as abortion and access to contraception become even larger targets for right-wing ideologues. Scared about extremist pharmacists who refuse to fill birth-control and emergency-contraception prescriptions that were issued by her doctor. Scared about a government that mandates "abstinence-only" education over a comprehensive sexual-education curriculum.

Because of the uncertain availability of emergency contraception in our area, I urge all women to contact their nearest Planned Parenthood (800-682-9732) to pick up a dose now. Keep it in the medicine cabinet, right next to the bottle of aspirin. This is the only way to be sure you will have it when you need it.

Denise Kipfstuhl

Baby unavailable for comment: Your article quoted Bill Winsley, executive director of the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, as saying, "A pharmacist's first duty should always be to his patient, the second duty to his employer, and the third to [himself]." If there is an unborn baby, whose duty is it to protect that baby's rights? And why is the party with certainly the most to lose (the baby) left out of Mr. Winsley's analysis?

John Gilliland
North Royalton

Scroll to read more Letters articles


Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.