All must be vigilant to prevent elder abuse
June 14, 2012 3:20PM
Updated: July 16, 2012 6:24AM
Entire community must be vigilant to prevent elder abuse
Today is Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and as our population ages and the baby boomer generation begins to retire, it is important that we support our elders and do all we can to ensure that they are living a comfortable and safe life.
We all must be vigilant in the community to pay attention to the signs of elder abuse. Simply checking in on an older neighbor or family member who is living alone can be very helpful.
If you ever suspect elder abuse, call the statewide, 24-hour Elder Abuse Hotline at 866-800-1409 or visit www.elderabusecenter.org and click on “Where to Report Abuse.”
Also, I encourage residents to stop by my fourth annual Senior Fair on Saturday at the Dundee Township Senior Center, at 665 Barrington Ave. in Carpentersville. At the fair there will be more than 20 senior service providers giving out free senior specific information, including materials about elder abuse.
State representative, 43rd District
Better education, not more prayer, needed in schools
Fifty years ago on June 25, the Republican-dominated U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-1 in Engel v. Vitale that state-mandated/sponsored prayer was unconstitutional.
This case was brought by families of public school students in New Hyde Park, N.Y., who complained that the voluntary prayer to “Almighty God” contradicted their religious beliefs. Several plaintiffs were Jews. They were supported by groups opposed to the school prayer including rabbinical organizations, Ethical Culture, and Judaic organizations. Madalyn Murray O’Hair brought a similar case that reached the Supreme Court in 1963, supported in part by the National Council of Churches and several Jewish organizations.
Since that time, many people and organizations have tried to reimpose that mandatory prayer in our schools and elsewhere, claiming among other things that because there is no prayer in our schools, the SAT scores are lower. The actual fact is that prior to 1962, the SAT was only taken by upper-class, well-educated students from wealthy backgrounds. As more students from lower socioeconomic levels began taking the tests, the scores dropped.
More and better education in our schools must surely be the answer, not mandatory prayer.
It has also been claimed that prayer was very common in our schools. That may have been true, but there were only five states that mandated it. Illinois was not one of those, ruling in the beginning of the 20th century that mandatory prayer/religion did not belong in taxpayer-supported schools.
According to Justice Hugo Black, “(W)e think that the constitutional prohibition against laws respecting an establishment of religion must at least mean that in this country it is no part of the business of government to compose official prayers for any group of the American people to recite as a part of a religious program carried on by government. It is a matter of history that this very practice of establishing governmentally composed prayers for religious services was one of the reasons which caused many of our early colonists to leave England and seek religious freedom in America.”
Earl G. Bley Jr.