News & Opinion » Letters & Guest Essays

Letters for February 10.

Readers sound off on immersion learning, father custody cases, and roadkill.


"Learning in Chinese," Feature, 1/6

The Wave of the Future

Thank you for this excellent article. Jaylen Mitchell is my grandson, and not only is he learning Mandarin, he is excelling in English and math. It is the same with my granddaughter, Jayla. They are not losing their culture they are gaining a worldview. I hope this is the wave of the future.


Enriching for the Whole Family

Thank you for this article on Shu Ren. My son Roman attends the pre-k class and is one of the three African-American students there. Prior to attendance, we worried about his being stereotyped, about his being overwhelmed with the language, and about him losing previous gains with language and math. Many of my mornings were spent watching his interactions with peers and staff from windows to ensure "my baby is okay." What I observed was teachers being patient and consistent when he struggled, kids interacting with him based on his personality not his skin color, and a child thrilled when came home and had learned something new he could share with mom and dad. We sent Roman to Shu Ren to build his future but found that it has enriched our whole family's present.

Andie Butler

He Loves School

We have all read the information about children in foreign language programs have tended to demonstrate greater cognitive development, creativity, and divergent thinking than monolingual children. This information was one of many reasons we decided to put our son in an immersion program. We looked at many immersion schools and found that Shu Ren fulfilled our language goal and just as important helped to develop the whole child — an emotionally and physically healthy, civically engaged, responsible, and caring young boy. Our son has been at the school since it opened and loves going to school!

Andrew Meilan

"A Father's Quest," Feature, 1/13

Playing Into Sexism

Erin Gilmore did a fine job exposing the dysfunction of family court here, which is not unique to Alameda County and is happening all over America and beyond. But she does a HUGE disservice to the tens if not hundreds of thousands of mothers who are losing custody of their children to abusive fathers, which dozens of peer-reviewed research studies are overwhelmingly clear on. By quoting only fathers rights organizations spewing about how Dads are being victimized and how Moms are being favored, Gilmore plays right into the deep-seated sexism that the media has repeatedly shown on this issue.

Just in the past three weeks, 20/20, Nightline, and NBC Dateline have ALL done major stories about Dads losing custody, but when literally thousands of mothers have tried to get their cases exposed by talking with reporters about the very same broken system, the media repeatedly turn a blind eye and claim that they don't get into "he said, she said" squabbles between ex-spouses. Enough of the sexist coverage already!Anyone who thinks that women have an unfair advantage in family court is extremely uninformed, and you should be sure to check out the web sites of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence, Center for Judicial Excellence, California Protective Parents Association, Mothers of Lost Children, Child Abuse Solutions, Inc., Stop Family Violence, Justice for Children, Battered Mothers Custody Conference, California NOW, New York State NOW, Protective Mothers Alliance, and the list goes on.

What Arianas is going through is downright criminal, and it deserves to be exposed, yet this story does a real disservice to the thousands of mothers who are losing custody of their precious children each and every day in family court because they are reporting sexual and physical abuse of their kids by their fathers. How hard would it have been for Gilmore to be more balanced in her article by mentioning even ONCE that mothers are being screwed by the system as well, instead of always quoting fathers rights activists? I expect more from the East Bay Express. I strongly urge you to give equal coverage to the stories of East Bay moms who are suffering at the hands of unaccountable judges.

Moms Screwed Too

Don't Bash Hendrickson

I practice family law in Alameda County and although this is a sad story, I felt that it was very one-sided. I agree with the point that the legal system is not designed to address custody issues in a way that best supports families, but I do not agree with the bashing of Commissioner Hendrickson. Commissioner Hendrickson is an excellent judicial officer and I am certain that she had good cause for her rulings. Commissioner Hendrickson takes the time to understand the case and the parties. She listens to parties and attorneys. She reads the filed court documents prior to the hearing. She knows the law. I am certain that if this father asked for a statement of decision in his case in a manner that followed proper legal procedure Commissioner Hendrickson would have provided him with it. Commissioner Hendrickson is a grounded and intelligent person.

Donna Gibbs

A Tragic State

My wife and I are co-directors of a large preventive intervention project sponsored by the Office of Child Abuse Prevention in California. The goal is to help fathers, especially low-income fathers, become more involved and stay more involved with their children. It is tragic that while one arm of the state is attempting to encourage fathers' involvement with their children, another arm of the state is making it as difficult as possible.