Et Cetera …

New cameras for buses

Fairmont Area Schools is teaming up with Minnesota Motor Bus to equip all route buses with security cameras next fall. The new equipment will include audio capability.

Schools across Minnesota are responding to a new anti-bullying law passed by the Legislature. Buses are one place where bullying occurs.

Even without the new law, the new cameras make sense. And the price, $10,400 for the school, seems well worth it, especially compared to costly lawsuit.

Great day of learning

Blue Earth Area sixth-graders recently spent the day at Faribault County government buildings and sites. The experience was meant to introduce and reinforce their understanding of local government, and was precursor to their trip to St. Paul to visit the Capitol.

Our American system of government is special because of its close ties with citizens. Seeing future voters and taxpayers get a first-hand look at what they someday must fund and oversee is good.

We also send kudos to all the good county employees who devoted time and energy to educating these youths.

New law makes sense

Minnesota has passed a law to help people permanently seal criminal records, for low-level offenses that occurred years ago. The reason? Old crimes can hinder those seeking jobs and housing, even though they have long ago outgrown their wild days of youth when they committed their indiscretions.

Wisely, the new law deems some crimes too severe to expunge. But nonviolent felonies as well as misdemeanors would qualify. People would have to wait until several years after probation to petition for sealing their records. We think this makes sense.

Early learning is vital

Early childhood learning matters, says expert Art Rolnick, who visited Fairmont this week. Early learning and involved parents give children the start they need to seek future learning. And children who develop an interest in education become good students who require fewer interventions later in life. This saves taxpayer dollars by reducing crime, the need for prisons and welfare payouts.

We believe a question remains about how best to encourage early learning. Should it all be government-driven, or should government create fewer burdens (taxes, regulations) so that families can afford to invest more time in their kids, rather than having to focus solely on income to make ends meet?