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Matter of Opinion

A pair of Sunday edits

From the first Sunday edit:

The Washington Supreme Court decided unanimously and wisely against giving its immediate attention to Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown's legal challenge to a couple of tax-restricting initiatives on the state's law books.

That gives us a little time to reflect on the differences between a democracy and a republic and shed some light on the actions of Brown and her primary antagonist, initiative maven Tim Eyman.

In a republic, the people select a relatively small group of representatives to write laws and set policies on their behalf. In our case, that would be the 147 people who constitute the Washington Legislature.

When did you learn the difference between a republic and a democracy?

From the second Sunday edit:

Spokane Public Schools officials say notifying parents before a police interrogation at school would cause delays in important investigations. And police say parents could interfere with their questioning. Both arguments are valid. But a common-sense argument trumps this reasoning.

These are 12-year-olds being questioned by police – at school. This isn't just a field trip (which requires parental permission, by the way). This is serious stuff, with civil liberties involved. And even in embarrassing, serious stuff, young people often want their parents' advice. For instance, without any legal compulsion to do so, more than 50 percent of adolescents consult a parent about contraceptive use, according to the American Psychological Association.

Adults who deal with preteens on a daily basis know how tough and manipulative some youngsters can be. But they are still very young. Their brains and bodies are in flux. They can't legally drive, drink, smoke, vote or marry, thank goodness, and they shouldn't be asked to sign away rights they might not understand or even know they possess.

The default position here should be clear for adults who run our school districts: Notify parents first. Ask questions later.

Do you remember life at 12?

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