To the editor:
Venerable teachers are now being required to arrange and pay for their fingerprints to be taken and submitted to law enforcement authorities. And the pretext? Supposedly to better guarantee the safety of Kansas children. Your editor’s recent justification for this demand (“Reasonable requirement,” Journal-World, Feb. 14) strikes me as both disrespectful to educators and shortsighted with regard to protecting children.
Imagine the veteran teacher, with 20 or 30 years of teaching experience. She arrives to school early, stays late, and every day, over countless years she attempts to impart knowledge and skills to the young children of Kansas. Her students learn not only the subject, but more importantly, how to think for themselves and to value education. In this process, these children also learn to admire and respect their teacher.
Now this same teacher, if she wants to retain her job, is being forced to not only hand over the most personal of information, but to pay for the privilege of being treated like a criminal. And the young children watching her wipe the purple ink from her fingers learn that it is dangerous to question the policies of the state. “Don’t worry, little children,” the teacher comforts them, “our government and our leaders would never think to abuse their authority. We must always follow their orders because they know what is best for us. Tomorrow, you too will get to share your fingerprints (and more!) with them.”