Saturday, July 26, 2008

Board thanked for parks bond vote

A letter to the editor by Jackie Belwood and Dennis Krusac of the Georgia Coalition for No Child Left Inside, published in the Marietta Daily Journal on Saturday, July 26, 2008

In the July 15 MDJ Letters to the Editor, writer Peggy Weymouth suggested there is no need for a new parks bond because parks would draw perverts to prey on our children.

She states, "Just look at the statistics and vote with your brain instead of your emotions." That is exactly what we plan to do and here are the statistics.

FBI statistics show all categories of crime are down. Between 1993 and 2003, sex offenses against children ages 12 - 17 decreased 79 percent. Assaults on children of all ages decreased by 39 percent. Kidnapping and sex crimes against children are 10 times more likely to be committed by parents, relatives or acquaintances then strangers. Sixty-four percent of violent crimes against children occur at home, while only 19 percent occur outside. GBI crime statistics for this time period show similar trends.

Health statistics indicate childhood obesity, diabetes, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are all up. Last week the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested screening cholesterol levels of children as young as two. Evidence suggests unstructured play in natural settings improves children's physical and mental health. We suggest reading "Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder" by Richard Louv and viewing the PBS documentary "Where do the Children Play" for more information.

We thank the Cobb County Commissioners for placing another parks bond on the November ballot, and encourage the public to vote for it. Our children's future and our quality of life depend on it.

Jackie Belwood
Dennis Krusac
Georgia Coalition for No Child Left Inside
Acworth

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