W ITH regards to Ronnie Polaneczky's story on Christina Sankey, I was saddened and angered to hear that neither our government agencies nor Casmir Care Services is investigating this case.
Why? We are supposed to protect and care for the handicapped. What is wrong with everyone? Doesn't anyone care about people? Why is Christina's death being pushed aside? Why isn't her caretaker being held accountable for Christina's death, and why isn't she answering any questions? Why isn't the CEO of Casmir Care Services responding to questions? Why isn't John White, president of the Consortium Inc., answering calls or demanding an investigation? Why?
Because, like Ms. Polaneczky wrote in her article, Christina was poor and handicapped. Is that why? Are we as humans going to stand for the way authorities handled this case and how they are treating Christina's mother? Or are we as humans going to stand up for Christina?
My prayers and deepest condolences go out to Mrs. Sankey and her family. God rest your beautiful pure soul, Christina - I am so sorry our city failed you!
Janice Di Joseph
A young autistic woman disappears from the mall in Center City and is found dead the next day, and her mother cannot get any answers from the D.A.'s office. First of all, why is the woman in Center City at a crowded mall with her caregiver and then she disappears without the caregiver knowing why and how she walked away, without any concern for Christina's well-being?
Christina is poor and lives with a parent who does not have the resources to provide for her daughter, but what does that have to do with her being treated as a human being? Christina should be treated with the same respect as the young man who lived in Bucks County and died in a heated van and his caregiver was sentenced to prison for involuntary manslaughter. Is it because he lived in an affluent community and Christina lived in a poor West Philadelphia neighborhood?
The caregiver responsible for Christina should be questioned by the D.A.'s office so that her mother can get some closure about the death of her daughter. Christina's mother needs to know why her daughter was taken to the mall and why she walked away from her caregiver and how she was found in West Philadelphia if she is not capable of traveling alone.
vs. bus drivers
For those of us who choose to enter urban public education, we don't expect to get rich. The fact that we serve our fellow citizens and, in some small way, contribute toward alleviating society's ills is often reward in itself. In exchange, we also like to see every now and then that society appreciates our efforts and our sacrifices.
Unfortunately, the city of Philadelphia, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the School Reform Commission continue to denigrate and degrade us every chance that they get. When we ask for librarians to nurture a childhood spark of inquisitiveness, we get layoff notices and shuttered doors. When we ask for counselors to help guide society's most vulnerable members through the treacherous waters of American inequity, we are given platitudes about how the money was given away in tax breaks in order to spur economic growth. When we dare point our finger at a government that refuses to invest in our children, they shrug their shoulders and tell us it's our fault for seeking a decent living wage.
And what of our "ludicrous" wages? Wages so high, they claim, that the SRC is seeking to forego any cost-of-living adjustments and, in fact, demanding that we give back 13 percent of it.
If salary is a measure of one's worth, then society must despise the educators of our city's youth. Recently, TWU Local 234 was offered an agreement by SEPTA that would give the city's bus drivers a 5 percent cost-of-living wage increase over the next two years. If approved, this means that the average bus driver in the city of Philadelphia would now earn over $68,000. Meanwhile, the average city school teacher currently earns $70,790. If the SRC has its way, that figure would drop to $61,587.
SEPTA, like the School District of Philadelphia, gets a large proportion of its funding from Harrisburg. SEPTA also continuously runs deficits, like the school district, because the job of transporting commuters in one of America's largest metropolitan areas is a Herculean task - as is the job of educating its children.
What, therefore, are we Philadelphia educators left to believe? What should we think when one predominantly state-supported entity gets so much funding that it can afford to offer its public employees a 5 percent pay raise over the next two years, but the other expects its public employees to take a 13 percent pay cut?
Clearly there are priorities and these priorities do not rest with our children.
Perhaps it's time that the teachers of this city abandon their sense of civic duty and their desire to inspire the next generation. Perhaps it's time for them to exchange their numerous collegiate diplomas for a driver's license and a place behind the steering wheel.
Maybe then we'll finally get some appreciation.