I read with sadness today (June 14) about the Department of Corrections plan to lay off almost one-half of the teaching staff at Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland due to budget concerns.

The situation is particularly disheartening to me, as it brings back my teaching experience at the old Maine Youth Center. During that time I was a hold-for-court teacher who truly felt I had found my calling there. My job was constantly dangled as a negotiating chip by then Gov. John McKernan during a previous budget crisis. It was very unfair and stressful. In an 18-month period, I was given three layoff notices and finally was bumped by another employee who was laid off.

I fear that those teachers, regardless of how the budget situation turns out, will have to find another calling. With the present situation, we all lose. The best security is a young person engaged in a meaningful learning environment that creates opportunities for the future.

I fear that new hire Molly Fitzpatrick will earn her money putting out fires as non-engaged youth will have plenty of time to bully each other.

Todd Whitcomb, Windham

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