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Answers to the questions

1/6/2016

I read the article of the cover-up in Johnston schools (Letters, Dec. 24). The reason the special needs kid was on a regular bus is because most school districts do not have a bus just for special needs kids, just like most school districts do not have special needs classes. Any more, they only have what is called “resources.” So, the special needs kids are put on buses and in classrooms with non-special needs kids. There are only two special needs schools in Iowa, and they are Smouse and Ruby Van Meter. As of last year, the Des Moines schools made it very hard for parents of special needs kids to even enroll their kids in either school. Smouse is supposed to be for kids with behavioral problems, such as the kid in this case. But obviously he does not fit the criteria to go to Smouse or Ruby. According to the state, it costs too much for special needs-only schools or buses. But that cannot be true. The only reason that I know this for certain is that, for each special needs kid that the state of Iowa has in regular schools and classes and riding regular buses, the state receives a payment from the government. The schools get some of that money also. I hope this helps answer Gary Thelen’s questions.

Vicky Field
-Des Moines

Spending bill vindicates Planned Parenthood
The recently-passed bipartisan $1.1 trillion funding bill included funding for Planned Parenthood. The vote to continue federal funding of PP was an endorsement by Congress (Republicans) of all the good works PP does in support of women’s (and men’s) healthcare. It’s also a rejection of the doctored and deceptive videos produced by an anti-Planned Parenthood (PP) group. Those bogus videos created a firestorm of anger and hateful speech directed at PP. The Republican-controlled House Oversight Committee called Cecile Richards, president of PP, and subjected her to a hostile grilling, but it turned out to be an embarrassing debacle for these angry Republicans. The hearings produced no evidence of wrongdoing by PP and exposed the fabricated videos as pure propaganda by anti-PP haters. The hearing provided no evidence to support the Republican calls to defund PP. The killings at the Colorado PP clinic by an individual who parroted much of the angry anti-PP rhetoric may have cooled the Republicans’ anger as well. They don’t want to take responsibility for whipping up hate speech that may have motivated the massacre by a deranged individual at the PP clinic. In hindsight, we could have avoided all this division, distortion and death by following the facts rather than accepting bogus video propaganda.

Rick Smith
-Urbandale

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