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Free speech rights do not cover our bodies or our nipples

To The Daily Sun,

An open letter in response to July 9 authored by Fred Van Nest:

You, sir, should read the Constitution. Nowhere in that document are you guaranteed "freedom of expression" as you perceive it — namely nudity. Certainly, everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and the expression of that opinion; namely an act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. A breast is not a medium.

The First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

Free speech does not include one's body — or nipples. Even the court judgment you cited from New York had more to do with the decriminalization of nudity — not the legalization of nudity. This has nothing to do with tolerance whatsoever. This has far more to do with the ability of parents and others to be able to raise their children how they choose; to be able to be at ease and comfort in a public place. And we do indeed have a right to that.

Now, no one may legally enter a topless lounge under the age of 18 in any state in this country. And it isn't because of the alcohol. It is because there is an inherent adult dimension to nudity. The law recognizes that. But as a nudist, you clearly know this.

Yes, Mr. Van Nest, you left that part out. You are a nudism advocate. And for the most part, nudists are restricted to specific beaches, and private enclaves where they can go about their business as they choose. Nudism is a lifestyle choice. Period. And most reasonable nudists (or naturists as some call themselves) do not go about demanding the ability to strut their stuff in public. If this woman wants to go out and about, there are nudist parks in New Hampshire where she can do so.

This country is not better served by Ms. Burke having to tolerate bare-chested exhibitionists. I was at the beach that day, and I promise you that any and all of the photos taken with cell phones that day may not be put on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, in this newspaper, or any news broadcast earlier than 10 p.m. It does not serve us to. It does not advance this country forward. It does not advance this state. But you demean the cause of racial equality, gender equality, and marriage equality by your attempt to equate it to Free The Nipple.

Alan Vervaeke

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Community support was big reason I returned to Gilford schools

To The Daily Sun,

An open letter to Gilford residents:

I am the new superintendent of schools for the Gilford School District. Some of you may remember me as the Gilford High School assistant principal from 2003-2006. I learned a great deal in the three years serving the high school students from the towns of Gilmanton and Gilford. I departed Gilford High School at the end of the 2006 school year to become a high school principal. After serving in that role, I was an assistant superintendent, a position I occupied for the past three years. I have fond memories of my time in Gilford and am excited to return to this great school district.

While working in public education for the past 21 years, it is clear to me that community support for education makes a difference. I initially came to this school district because this community cares about its children and the schools they attend. This support was an important reason why I returned. The Gilford community and its three schools have a great reputation throughout the state for strong academics, top-notch performing arts programs, and outstanding athletic teams.

I am looking forward to getting to know staff and community members and building relationships as we define our work and establish goals to move the Gilford School District toward continuous improvement. Relationships are an important part of my new role as superintendent. As Gilford community members, your input is important in helping me learn about our community and working collaboratively to ensure that we provide a quality education to all students. There is nothing we cannot overcome if we work together.

My email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the SAU office phone number is 527-9215, please feel free to communicate your feelings about the strengths, challenges, and traditions of the Gilford School District.

Kirk Beitler
Superintendent of Schools
Gilford School District

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