Immigrant children, educators should not be targets of protest
Area school superintendents were briefed last week on the possible effects of child immigrants from Central America on Texas schools.
Even after the briefing with the Texas Education Agency, there remained more questions than answers about how many of the young refugees might be in East Texas schools when classes begin later this month, or where they might enroll.
But we're pleased educators are seeking information and making preparations. Their job is education, and they're going to get it done.
Those dealing emotionally with this issue are another matter, and we worry they might take action not befitting our loving, Christian community. We've seen photographs and videos of some in California protesting immigrants and, frankly, the images are appalling. We do not wish to see such hateful displays in East Texas.
Please do not misunderstand. We are not suggesting everyone must agree on this or any issue. Nor are we arguing against protests. We only ask that such not be done in the faces of children seeking education, nor at the schools where administrators and teachers are simply doing their jobs. That causes more harm than good.
Many forebears of today's Americans came here fleeing violence as much as they did seeking freedom. This will always be a part of who we are as Americans.
To refuse to be a place of refuge for these young people fundamentally changes what the United States stands for, and we should not allow that to happen.
Lawmakers get it wrong with West legislation
This newspaper has called for common-sense rules since the April 17, 2013, explosion in West — most of them regarding the handling and storage of ammonium nitrate, the hazardous chemical behind the blast. For example, we support the idea of warehouse operators adopting industry best practices to avoid the kinds of lapses that contributed to West's disaster.
But voluntary practices alone can't substitute for the mandatory safeguards that the Texas Legislature still must enact to reduce ammonium nitrate's significant dangers. So we are concerned that lawmakers went overboard last week and weakened a bill designed to make warehouse owners more legally accountable for lax practices.
Legislators might be lulled by a friendly industry advocate who calmly counsels, "Heh, heh, now, let's not get carried away with this bill." But what they need always to keep foremost in mind are the horrific images from West.
Voluntary compliance leaves the option not to comply. That's exactly the option chosen in West Fertilizer's case. If the memory of a mushroom cloud over a devastated Texas town isn't enough to jar legislators into action, what will it take?