Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Forget what they say about trial lawyers — they ain’t all bad.Last year attorney Glenn Armentor, who clawed his way out of poverty and juvenile delinquency and put himself through law school by working offshore — it’s true; it’s in his commercial — launched a scholarship program that awarded $10,000 to an underprivileged Carencro High senior. She’s now attending UL with designs on med school. On Friday, according to an article in The Daily Advertiser, Armentor announced that this year his firm will double the scholarships, choosing from among more than 150 applicants, and will double the number of scholarships awarded in each of the next two years. Call it what you will — giving back, paying it forward — Armentor is putting his money where his heart is.

Corporal punishment: the intentional infliction of pain as punishment for misbehavior and/or as a deterrent to bad behavior. The intentional infliction of pain. Unbelievably, 20 U.S. states including Louisiana still allow school systems to employ it, Lafayette Parish being a noteworthy exception. There’s a reason it’s illegal in schools in 30 states and most of Europe and is opposed by the American Psychological Association: violence begets violence and, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Education, students with disabilities are disproportionately the recipients of corporal punishment. The public school district that serves the city of Monroe, according to The News-Star, had an opportunity to join the late 20th century recently when Superintendent Kathleen Harris objected to corporal punishment during a policy review with the school board. Unfortunately Harris acquiesced when the district’s principals, itching to swat some adolescent buttocks, overwhelmingly supported the policy.

State Rep. Rickey Hardy, D-Dumbfounding, is again making a name for himself for the wrong reasons. Last year it was a silly bill to prohibit saggy pants. This year it’s wedding himself to the egregiously unfair, implicitly racist, perennially disgusting legislation by fellow Rep. John LaBruzzo, R-Metairie, that would require recipients of state welfare to take random drug tests. LaBruzzo is just doing what scores points with his racist constituents in northeast Jefferson Parish, especially Bucktown, David Duke’s former stomping ground. Hardy’s support for the bill has us scratching our heads, especially considering his constituency in north Lafayette’s most impoverished neighborhoods. The people affected by the bill’s intentions are among the poorest of us all. Are their lives not filled enough with difficulties and indignities that we must add another pointless layer to it? To humiliate them further, as this would do, is outrageous. How about random drug tests for the CEOs of the corporations that siphon off more than $7 billion annually from the Louisiana treasury through tax exemptions? We’ve supported Hardy and endorsed many of his positions. Not this one.

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