A student offers a firsthand perspective on the difference between bullying and teasing. Another reader, meanwhile, talks medicare and healthcare reform.

Another Inside View on Bullying

I would like to comment on your article about bullies in the issue dated Nov. 7 (Cover, “Bullied”). I am a new fifth grader at Soquel Elementary, so I feel like I could be a prime target for bullies. But I haven’t been bullied. I’ve been teased, yes, but I haven’t been bullied. But being teased and being bullied are not the same thing. The website American Heritage Dictionary defines a bully as “a person who is habitually cruel to smaller or weaker people,” while defining tease as “to annoy or pester.”
Nowadays, I think people are thinking that if someone calls another person names, they are counting that as “bullying.”

Now, I know I wasn’t here last year, so I don’t know what happened with the “Quentin touch” then. But I know that this year they did something about the touch issue. A lot of kids made a big “no more cheese (or anything) touch”, and every single teacher talked about not doing any more “cheese or anything” touch.
Here’s another thing. I know you said that Principal Cata Fitzgerald declined your newspaper’s offer for an interview. But, if you really wanted an insider interview, why didn’t you contact somebody else? Why not ask another teacher, student or parent?

Ben D.

5th Grader

Soquel Elementary School

Thanks for writing, Ben. As you can imagine, bullying in the schools is a sensitive topic. Several parents connected to the Soquel Elementary story declined to be quoted or have their children involved in the article. Though a teacher wouldn’t be an appropriate source to represent the administration policy on bullying, Henry Castiniada, Soquel Union District superintendent, would have been. Unfortunately, he too declined to go on record about the issue, or to make available other administrators who would. — Editor


Held Hostage

I appreciate the letter on “The Facts About Medicare” (Nov. 21), but it’s more revealing to look at costs to the individual.

Before age 65, my wife and I spent tens of thousands of dollars on private medical insurance, and wasted resources we luckily never used.

Our cost went up 10 percent to 15 percent a year, and insurance didn’t cover many conditions.

Now we have Medicare, which pays 80 percent of medical expenses but comes with a high cost. Monthly, we pay $210 for Medicare, which only covers 80 percent of some costs. In addition, we need supplemental private for-profit Medigap insurance, which costs $294 to cover the 20 percent Medicare doesn’t cover. Medicare Part D pays for prescription drugs, which we don’t need, and costs $94 a month. Vision, dental and hearing-problems that every older person faces are not covered at all.
That’s $600 a month, less than the $1200 a month we paid for private for-profit insurance, but still a substantial sum. And costs continue to rise.
What happened to the promise of medical care coverage for seniors?

It’s been privatized, so we pay more for 20 percent of the coverage than we pay for 80 percent of the coverage. Why are huge private, for-profit corporations allowed to make money off our illness?

Everyone needs education, highways and electricity and these essentials are paid for by taxes. Medical care is even more fundamental. When will we have a universal single-payer system paid for by everyone? Why aren’t we moving toward a better model instead of being held hostage to insurance companies, the medical establishment and investors?

Don Monkerud