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Smaller schools are safer schools Regarding "Safer Places of Learning" (Aug. 20): The new "militarization" of schools may do more harm than good. Tens of millions of dollars are now being spent, without much thought or planning, on security cameras, metal detectors, and police may make school violence the expected norm.

This trend also shifts the responsibility for teaching children away from teachers to counselors and police. When the shootings first took place, there was some serious discussion about the size and culture of schools. All the shootings occurred in large schools where kids outside the mainstream could easily fall through the cracks. Teachers and administrators claimed ignorance of the threat from neo-Nazi gangs and antisocial cliques.

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But now the discussion has shifted almost entirely toward militarization and regimentation of schools and side issues of student dress codes.

Calling on students to eat lunch with kids they don't normally eat with is a nice idea but it avoids many of the responsibilities that adults should bare, like school restructuring.

Over the next decade we will spend billions in the construction of new gigantic high schools and junior highs. This is a recipe for more Littletons.

If we are serious about safe schools, one of the first things we need to consider is the creation of smaller communities of teachers and learners where kids are known by the people charged with educating them. Michael Klonsky, Chicago

A US legal system for Turkey? Regarding "Has US become a nation of finger-pointers?" (Aug. 20): I was thinking about the devastation in Turkey from the earthquake and the public outrage at the poor quality of these newer buildings. Having grown up in India, a developing nation such as Turkey that also has problems with shoddy construction, I was wondering why public works in countries such as US are better than they are in developing nations.

The answer to this question could be in this very article about the US being a nation of finger-pointers. It is because the US judicial system allows individual citizens to sue corporations and the government for negligence that these organizations take all care to construct or build or provide services of high quality. Whereas in many nations with limited resources and judicial powers, such a thing is not possible, hence the builders and the governments cut corners or turn a blind eye on corrupt contractors or government officials. Interestingly, the ancient monuments in Istanbul such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and others have withstood the quake. Sudheer Marisetti, Piscataway, N.J.

More than hot air Regarding "Bringing home the sun" (Aug. 23): Falling costs and growing demand are the two main factors driving the recent bull market in wind energy.

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In the 12 months ended June 30, more than 1,000 megawatts (MW) of wind equipment were installed in the US, enough to serve more than a quarter of a million households and reduce emissions of air pollutants by more than 50 tons a day. It's also enough to cut emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the leading greenhouse gas, by 6,000 tons daily. To get the same CO2 reduction benefit by cutting auto use, we would have to take roughly 250,000 sport utility vehicles (or 800,000 fuel-efficient cars) off the roads.

Americans support clean energy, and the federal government should too. Reducing air pollution benefits everyone. Tom Gray, Norwich, Vt. Deputy executive director American Wind Energy Association

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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