The contents of this column reflect the letters we had received by the time we went to press, April 6, 2009. Letters are limited to 300 words or fewer. All submissions must include the author's name and location. Opinions expressed are those of the authors.

Regarding the Social Side of School

I find it disturbing that so much is made of the social side of school. To be sure, we should all treat others in a loving manner always. My disappointment is that our society generally invests the social scene with such immense importance. I was the first totally blind child in my public school system, starting in the first grade, in the 1960s and I ran into some bullying in the fourth grade, but Mom said that, if we just left it alone, it would probably go away and, if not, she would step in. That proved unnecessary. When attention was not paid to the bullying parties, they stopped their behavior.

Also, I was always taught by my parents that school is for learning, not for socializing. I therefore saw my classmates as fellow learners, not as social magnets. My parents also taught me to march to my own drum. Caring what was "cool" or "in" did not appear on my radar screen. If every student, blind or sighted, was taught these core principles, bullying would all but cease and the focus would truly be on education, where it belongs.

-- Beth Terranova, Newport News, Va.

Re: New York Commission for the Blind

I was rather disappointed when ACB praised the New York Commission for the Blind (CBVH) in the March 2009 issue. My experience at their Manhattan office was nothing like the wonder described. My counselor would do the usual praise and never refer me to the job person for career guidance. It was "my fault" that I grew up where there weren't any resources for the partially sighted.

I have a B.A. in history from the University of Wisconsin. I studied in Europe for a year, and lived in the Middle East for eight years. At the time I became a file at CBVH I was studying art. I faced routine discrimination. The petty politics was horrendous. After five years, this man decided I belonged in a sheltered workshop, in a low-paying, dead-end position where my SSDI check and eventually my life are controlled by so-called "professionals." I told his superior, who promptly promoted him.

The good news is, I think my file is closed. Let it stay that way.

-- Devorah Greenspan, Grand Central Station, N.Y.

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