LETTERS: Lack of soap; Knowing English

Lack of soap in schools unacceptable

The placement of soap in restrooms is a necessity. As a native of McAllen, I am astounded by the lack of soap in restrooms in public buildings. Some school districts in the Rio Grande Valley have refused to stock restrooms with soap, with the unacceptable excuse that students will abuse the soap, play with it, steal it, or eat it.

From a public health standpoint, the thought of students touching desks, chairs and supplies (not to mention their food) without washing their hands after using the restroom at the very least is disturbing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC, reports that keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps to avoid getting sick and spreading germs. Many diseases and conditions are prevented from spreading by hand-washing with soap and clean, running water. Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects like tabletops, eventually infecting someone.

Hand-washing education reduces the amount of illness, including respiratory illnesses and diarrheal illness. Additionally, hand-washing reduces the amount of antibiotics taken by people, as illness is reduced. By reducing the usage of antibiotics, antibiotic resistance is less of a threat and illnesses can be more effectively treated.

Parents, please educate your children on the importance of hand-washing by setting a good example. If you discover a public or business bathroom without soap available, complaint about it! If your child’s school does not afford soap in the restrooms, make a complaint and demand that the situation be remedied. Your child’s health and the public health depend on it.

Joshua Dale, San Antonio, originally from McAllen

The need to know English

This is a response to the front page story, “Hidalgo County to begin translating meetings,” by staff writer Naxiely Lopez-Puente.

I do believe we live in the United States of America, and I do believe that we should all speak English. If you live in this country you should learn English. This will be a major benefit to you for a lifetime.

But I also know that we have many people here that do not understand English. I commend the fact that a LUPE coordinator is available to help. I also think it is a good idea for helping with translation of the minutes, but if a program is started, it will never stop.

I would hope that concerned residents would eventually learn English with the help of the LUPE organization, and executive officer Valde Guerra by teaching our Spanish-speaking friends English. This is a very important part of becoming an American citizen. And I hope that is the long term goal of us all.

M. Theodore Brown, Mission

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