The Free Press, Mankato, MN


January 19, 2013

Our View: Deputy acted outside of ethical boundary


Thanks for the advice, Abby

Thumbs up: To Pauline Friedman Phillips, alias Abigail Van Buren, who died Wednesday in Minneapolis at the age of 94 after decades of penning the “Dear Abby” syndicated newspaper column that captivated readers for so long with homespun wisdom and thoughtful advice.

“Dear Abby” is a long-running institution. Van Buren’s advice made common sense, it cut across barriers and it entertained. Readers were often shocked at the twisted, mixed-up lives led by those who asked questions of the columnist, but we were also captivated by the straight talk revealed in “Abby’s” responses.

Phillips will be remembered not only for the advice, but for her tolerance. She was a trailblazer in that way — just one more reason she was appreciated.

Leave this teacher behind

Thumbs down: To the Ohio teacher who has sued a school district because of her phobia of children.

Yes, you read it right. A teacher claiming she can’t be around young kids.

The suit was filed after she was reassigned to teach junior high after being a high school teacher a number of years. Now, anyone who remembers junior high, or has or had kids in junior high, knows it can be a funky time. Lots of hormones surging, lots of energy, lots of peer pressure — all passing up brain development. It can add up to some challenging moments.

But a teacher’s objection to the assignment has been turned into a silly lawsuit that makes a mockery of her profession. She said her fear of young children falls under the federal American with Disabilities Act and that the district violated it by transferring her in the first place and then refusing to allow her to return to the high school. That is not the kind of protection the ADA was designed for.

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