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    Letters to the editor of the Boston Globe Magazine

    Readers respond to school safety issues, the status of the Old Corner Bookstore, and more.

    Outside of the Box

    Many thanks to Michael Blanding for laying out the range of ways students of all ages can step out of traditional schooling and discover themselves as natural learners (“Free Radicals,” October 7). Worn down by public school, my son chose to spend his fifth/sixth grades at Bay State Learning Center, and his happiness, reading level, and comfort with math and science took a surprising leap. He’s navigating public high school well so far and spends free time teaching himself vegetable gardening, cooking, nutrition science, and guitar. The perspective of being outside the system helped him better understand his personal responsibility for his own education.

    Monica Velgos Cambridge

    School Safety

    When I concluded reading Meaghan O’Neill’s piece regarding safety and worry for our children in schools (Perspective, October 7), I could only think of one thing. How is it that we proclaim to be the greatest country in the free world while finding it necessary to have police, metal detectors, instructions to students on what to do when there is a shooter in the building, and now bulletproof backpacks for the students just in case? Are there any other countries in the world, free or not, that find all of this essential?

    John J. Grimes Watertown

    Have we ever discovered that an assailant in a school shooting is a stable individual? Families, professionals, and communities must pay more attention to this segment of the population, as well as their ability to procure weapons of destruction. Let’s get to the cause of the problem so that our schools do not become fortifications.

    Kathleen Drane Plymouth

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    Forgotten History


    Bravo for Paul Lewis’s article (Perspective, October 14) and its [calling] out of the haphazard memorialization we put up with in Boston, most glaringly the subjection of the Old Corner Bookstore to becoming a fast-food venue when it ought to be celebrating the astounding literary legacy of Boston that took place [there].

    Thomas M. Paine Wellesley Hills

    Ticknor and Fields morphed into Houghton Mifflin , where I worked for eight years in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The publisher missed an opportunity to save a major literary landmark when it abandoned 2 Park Street — the birthplace of the company — in the early ’90s and moved to Boylston and Berkeley.

    Greg Mroczek Framingham

    Historic Boston Inc. appreciates Lewis’s reverence for Boston’s considerable literary history and recognition of the Old Corner Bookstore as an important place in that story. Readers may not know that revenue from the leases in the bookstore’s building have also helped Historic Boston rehabilitate scores of endangered historic buildings across the city for new uses. The Old Corner Bookstore’s 300-year heritage is one of commercial enterprises, including publishing houses and bookshops, and it has survived because it has always supported itself, unlike so many small museums and historical sites that struggle to stay financially solvent.

    Kathy Kottaridis, executive director of Historic Boston Inc.

    The piece by Lewis on the Old Corner Bookstore was an eye-opener. I hope Lewis’s words will prompt a groundswell of support for pressuring Historic Boston into maintaining this important structure as a historic landmark. Put to historically proper use, the bookstore could be a gateway to Boston’s literary heritage.

    Chester Brigham Gloucester

    The writer seems to have a narrow view of historic preservation and the ways to honor our heritage. Most historical buildings were not built or used as shrines to the past, and turning the Old Corner Bookstore into one seems unnecessary. As for recognition of its literary history , the site is celebrated as a stop on the Freedom Trail.

    Earl Taylor Dorchester


    Beantown hasn’t always done a commendable job of memorializing its tragic historical milestones, either. Nearly 76 years after the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire that took 492 lives, people are still trying to get a memorial built that pays tribute to those who were lost.

    Judy Bass Stoughton

    Every time I pass the Old Corner Bookstore building, I cringe. Such a beautiful, cherished Boston landmark allowed to become a fast-food joint, of all things, really bothers me. I eagerly await its return to dignity.

    Betsy Woods Wilmington

    CONTACT US: Write to or The Globe Magazine/Comments, 1 Exchange Place, Suite 201, Boston, MA 02109-2132. Comments are subject to editing.