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Mailbag: Stop punishing and use the scandal to teach

February 03, 2014

As a public school teacher for 30 years, I have been interested in the recent Corona del Mar High cheating scandal.

Some letters have taken the stance that the students expelled from CdM should not be allowed to attend Newport Harbor High. (Full disclosure: I am an alumnus of Newport Harbor).

So where should they go? If they live in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, they have the right to attend public school and must go somewhere. For those who complain that it would make Newport Harbor a lesser place if some, or all, should be sent there, then maybe people want them sent to one of the Costa Mesa campuses, which are not considered good enough for Newport Beach.

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After all, who cares about Costa Mesa? Better yet, maybe we could put them on a bus to Compton every day.

Yes, what these students did was wrong. The case was high-profile, and now indignant residents, including other students, demand that the guilty be punished and the good name of CdM avenged.

Punishing these students by expelling them from their home school is a huge consequence and one that I do not necessarily disagree with. For these kids, and that's what they are, I can think of no worse consequence. What more must we do?

It comes down to how many pounds of flesh must be extracted from the guilty for what could be a defining moment in their lives. Must we utterly destroy them and set them on a life-long trajectory of shame and repercussions?

Having taught thousands of students, I can tell you that if we kicked every kid out of school for cheating, a huge class-size reduction would result. This situation can be seen as an opportunity instead, a teachable moment for all students in the district, one of honesty and ethics.

After all, isn't learning what schools are all about?

Lenard Davis

Newport Beach

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Remembering real estate agent

The recent passing of Danny Bibb went without notice by the news media, but Danny was a true residential real estate pioneer in the Newport Beach area.

With several partners, he formed Coast Newport Properties in 1990, and the boutique real estate brokerage became a smashing success, paving new paths into residential real estate marketing. Moreover, split-offs from Coast Newport Properties created several powerful boutique firms.

I well recall Danny inviting me to speak to his assembled Realtors over the years, and all of them were always jazzed. This was a firm in which the brokers were having great fun, in addition to closing great deals. Danny will be missed from the Newport Beach scene, and not merely for his golfing capabilities.

Martin A. Brower

Newport Beach

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