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Cultural gap exists

Published October 27. 2010 05:00PM

Dear Editor:

The Borough Council of Jim Thorpe at a meeting October 14, 2010, passed an ordinance amendment making skateboarding against the law. It seems a cultural gap exists between the public and private sectors of the community causing a controversy and conflict. The skateboarders are being prevented from free choice to select a sport activity of their own choosing. In my opinion this is wrong and needs to be righted.

Skateboarding has been considered a countercultural sport since it's inception around the 1970s. Local laws intend to prohibit or control skateboarding. The police no not make laws but they are required to enforce them. Since the fine for violation of the law is three hundred dollars, an excessive amount for teenagers, local enforcers reluctantly are not very supportive of the amendment.

The safety factor is also of extreme concern because of how dangerous it is. Studies find that skateboarding is no more dangerous than the accepted sports such as football or basketball. The person using the skateboard must know how to use one, wear the proper safety gear, be aware of crashes which may injure the rider as well as bystanders. Since laws and signs vary from town to town, skateboarders must be aware of these factors. During the 1990s competitions allowed skateboarders to gain a sense of legitimacy. Laws became less strict. Some skateboarders use graffiti to mark their skateboarding territory. Serious skateboarders do NOT engage in such tactics, as cults, using graffiti, drugs and etc.

Students relate and learn skateboard tricks and relate these movements to physics concepts, "such as Newton's three laws, gravity, momentum, trajectory projectiles circular motion and friction (four types: tolling, sliding, static and air resistance).

Private property owners have the right to protect their property. Respect the person and chances are they will respect you. Fight the fight that can win. If you believe you have the right to use a public space, then ask for permission to do so. Petition and get as much support from your local community as you can. State parks may be a good place to skateboard. Get your local news media on your side. Keep media presentations mature and on the level. Know the local laws. Need parent support when meeting with board.

In summary: the outcome of this meeting should be in favor of skateboarding. The board should support the sport.

Thank you

Kathleen Jones,

Jim Thorpe

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