I taught school in Fort Worth. Nothing threatens kids’ education more than smartphones | Opinion

It’s the phones in classrooms

As a former substitute teacher at several Fort Worth middle and high schools, I offer this observation about consolidating schools and the issues confronting education officials: Until administrators and elected officials heed the dire warnings about smartphones in the classroom, public education outcomes will continue to deteriorate.

Experts such as Jonathan Haidt and Scott Galloway contend that only a complete prohibition of cellphones during the school day can reverse the decline.

Children’s brains are harmed by excessive screen exposure, and they’re losing social skills that evolve through personal interaction, play and learning conflict resolution.

- Silas O. Hughes Jr., Fort Worth

Jail is not the right place

Does anyone think it reasonable or safe to put those with severe mental illness in the Tarrant County jail? (May 23, 1A, “Mother of man who died in Tarrant jail describes video”) Jail personnel have little to no expertise in caring for such people. We should not be surprised when death results, and the fault lies with all us Texans.

The state has a woefully inadequate number of psychiatric hospital beds, so severely ill patients languish in jail for months to years. American health care starves psychiatric care, resulting in severe shortages of mental health professionals.

Until voters demand investment in mental health, the blame for these deaths falls on us all. By default, we sentence the mentally ill to horrible deaths.

- Robert N. Stevenson, Fort Worth

Israel has its own capabilities

Does Ryan J. Rusak honestly believe Israel needs our bombs to win its war? (May 19, 4C, “How much havoc will desperate Biden wreak before November?”) Israel is more than capable of finishing what Hamas started without more American bombs. Compassion for the innocent is merited, there and elsewhere.

Blame President Joe Biden if you must, but I will blame Republicans for the continued killing in Ukraine. Where’s the compassion for these good people trying to hold on to the dignity and imperfect freedoms associated with all democracies?

- Scott Laver, Fort Worth

Finally Trump is telling the truth

Ryan Rusak insulted my intelligence when he wrote, “If you’ve portrayed the other guy (Trump) as representing the end of America, as the Democrats have, no flip-flop or hypocrisy is too big a reach.”

As a lifelong Democrat, I don’t think Trump will end America simply because he sexually assaulted women, stole top-secret documents, paid off a porn star and denied that he lost the 2020 election. Trump will try to end America because that’s exactly what he’s promised to do.

I’m afraid this might be the only time in Trump’s life that he’s telling the truth.

- Sharon Austry, Fort Worth

Protesting students are acting morally

The famous aphorism, “America is great because America is good,” is being tested today. America is financing the war in Gaza, the conduct of which is increasingly immoral. The killing of thousands of innocent Palestinians is unacceptable, notwithstanding the rightness of the war as a just response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks.

Unless America’s claim to greatness is reaffirmed by present conduct, it is this threat that our insightful and courageous young people express by their protests on college and university campuses. Yes, there are excesses, outside agitators and destructive actions. These don’t negate the vital contribution our students are making to ensure that America will continue to be great only so long as America continues to be good.

- Rev. Bernard Kern, North Richland Hills