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Schools doing great service by not shying away from tough topics

To The Daily Sun,

I cannot, in good conscience, fail to respond to the sad and unfounded remarks pervasive in Mr. Doug Lambert's letter of Friday May 16. As a 2000 graduate of the Gilford School system, I must refute the ridiculous and truly pathetic claims offered by Mr. Lambert.

First and foremost, the Gilford Schools are staffed by capable, passionate, and dedicated educators, administrators, and support staff. Was it not for many of these individuals dedicating their lives to the development of Gilford and Gilmanton students, who knows where many of us would be? Certainly, each of our lives was made richer by the opportunities that our teachers and our schools offered to us on a daily basis. Sadly, like many small town rabble rousers and demagogues, Mr. Lambert seems to salivate at the opportunity to attack any public figure or institution without so much as a shred of fact-based evidence to support his ludicrous claims resulting in what is at best pathetic besmirching of some of the most dedicated professionals in central N.H., and at worst is borderline defamation. Perhaps if Mr. Lambert finds the community's efforts to educate his children so ineffective, rather than blame those highly trained and dedicated to public education, instead he should examine his own failings as a parent in helping to develop the basic skills necessary for success in any academic setting.

In addition to being a proud Gilford graduate, I am also a professional high school educator. And, it is through this training and professional experience that I have come to understand more and more how fortunate I was to matriculate through such a fine public school system. My Gilford education, along with the effective parenting I received throughout my childhood, not only prepared me to survive after high school but facilitated my ability to successfully navigate the post-secondary level at a world class university from which I graduated in 2004. I bring this up not to boast or self promote, rather simply to anecdotally demonstrate the effectiveness of the Gilford School District.

Now, while I certainly agree that GHS made an error in failing to send home a permission slip prior to exposing high school students to mature content, the claims asserted by Mr. Lambert that this material was inherently not appropriate or acceptable for academic use is utterly false. Asking students to read and analyze a respected tome by a well-known local author is typical and reasonable. Asking students to investigate real challenges and issues plaguing young people in the United States today is not only acceptable but necessary. Mr. Lambert sounds McCarthy-esque railing against a respected piece of literature simply for presenting ideas contrary to his own. Would he prefer to attempt to hide our young people from the many difficulties and social obstacles they face in our world today? Does he truly believe that knowledge with proper context can be a bad thing? In fairness, Mr. Lambert is correct in one regard. Teenagers today do not lack knowledge of issues related to bullying, drug and alcohol use, sexuality, and violence. In fact, they are more exposed to these ideas and behaviors today than children have been since the fall of the Roman Empire. However, for schools to not responsibly address these topics through discourse, literature, and analysis would be disastrous for our culture and for future generations. Gilford schools have a long standing tradition of addressing these difficult topics in a meaningful, thoughtful and responsible way. If Mr. Lambert is made so uncomfortable by such discussions, perhaps he should sit in on that 9th grade honors English class in the hope of learning to deal with these topics in a more mature manner.

In regard to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey results that Mr. Lambert weakly attempts to correlate to the other issue as some kind of evidence, I suggest one first compare Gilford's results to that of other New Hampshire towns, and second consider who should rightly be held accountable for those results. Is it the role of Gilford schools to ensure that its students are not engaging in risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol usage and sexual promiscuity? Don't parents have some responsibility in these circumstances? By addressing these topics in a responsible way, the schools are actually going above and beyond their traditional role to try to stem the tide of these dangerous behaviors because clearly these lessons are not being effectively taught at home. Gilford schools are doing a great service to their students by not shying away from issues and topics that are difficult or controversial.

I often suggest to my students that a very important life lesson to remember can be encapsulated in the old adage "it is better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt." Mr. Lambert clearly has overstepped the boundaries of his knowledge, experience, and insight in making so many ludicrous and unfounded claims in his May 16 letter. Therefore, when it comes to education at least, perhaps he can take a break from "removing all doubt" at least for a little while.

Zak Babcock

Last Updated on Monday, 19 May 2014 08:04

Hits: 317

Town met its grant obligation by putting amendments to a vote

To The Daily Sun,

Good news for Sanbornton residents — by voting down all of the amendments put forth by the Planning Board regarding workforce housing and other changes, many of our residents wondered if that would mean we didn't finish the demands of the HUD grant we received (though it was from the N.H. Housing Finance Authority, they get their money from HUD). At Thursday night's Planning Board meeting, our Town Planner, Bob Ward, assured us that because the amendments were PROPOSED, even if they weren't passed, we still completed our part of the grant contract.
However, he mentioned something about now we need to update our roads so they are uniform throughout the town. We have a LOT of dirt (unpaved) roads and this would be an egregious expense for the town to update them all. He also mentioned we have until June 14 to complete that project. The grant was for workforce housing, but one project deliverable is "to amend our existing road design and construction standards. What does that have to do with RSA 674:58-61? Townspeople, just be aware that the government and NGO's, which includes the Lakes Region Planning Commission, never stop pushing, and we must push back!

Peggy Graham

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

Hits: 271

Please return flower urns that were taken from husband's grave

To The Daily Sun,

When I went to my husband's grave at Sacred Heart Cemetery to place flowers down, the flower urns were gone.
I wish who ever took them to please bring them back!
It so sad people have to take things from the resting place of our loved ones.
Carol Sargent

Last Updated on Friday, 16 May 2014 06:28

Hits: 276

Low wages means government is subsidizing Walmart & McDonald's

To The Daily Sun,
Recently we have heard the side of those who are against raising the minimum wage. It has come from state senators who voted against it and from people who write letter to the editor from the position of management. It is true that raising the minimum wage has a negative impact on some small businesses and will result in the loss of some jobs.
Please note, there is another point of view. This is from the position of workers making low wages. Consider a family of four with two workers together making less than $30,000 a year or a senior in high school trying to earn money to help with college.
People working for low wages are consumers who will put the extra money back into the economy. In some cases it will create some jobs helping to balance the job market. Extra money will also be going into Medicare and social security helping these programs.
Presently, low income families need food stamps and earned income credit to help them out. That means that the government is subsidizing companies like Walmart and McDonald's. In the case of Walmart they will have to raise the price on the products from other countries including purchases from Asia. Could this make our products more competitive?
Let me conclude by pointing out that it is true that the worker would be earning more money and working the same hours. It is also true that the worker would be gaining back buying power to replace what was lost by inflation since the last increase in minimum wage which was a long, long, long time ago.

Paul Bonneville
Lochmere (Tilton)

Last Updated on Friday, 16 May 2014 06:18

Hits: 281

Unforeseen circumstances had me relying on 'system' for survival

To The Daily Sun,
Thank you for the opportunity to voice opinions. It is by being open minded and listening to each other outcomes of peaceful compromises benefiting all can happen.
After reading Mr. Corliss's, letter directed to Mr. Young, I felt the need to use my voice. I was widowed after my late husband, Pete Morrison, passed away in 1988. Being left with five children, the youngest being seven and 10-years-old, Social Security benefits helped stabilize me financially to support my family. Projecting into the future and wanting to be independent financially, I entered college earning a Bachelor's degree and Master's while working full time. Financial assistance in the form of Pell Grants assisted me with student loans. When my two youngest were no longer eligible for government assistance, I had transferred into a full time job teaching, no longer dependent on a system for stability.
I was caught, due to unforeseen circumstances, relying on a system for survival as many others are also.

This story is a testament to hard working people who contribute to the economy and do not want to rely on a "system". Mr. Corliss is an example of this also. As we know, there is no perfect system. Healthy systems need open-minded people who are active listeners receiving, processing, discussing, and then acting on information with a plan that will benefit all. All systems and programs need constant revisions and upgrades with the progression of our economy. It seems unfair to judge the viability of a program such as welfare or Social Security based on some of the population whose value systems erode the program intentions. Hopefully my story will present the side of good intentions and my gratefulness for assistance from the government at a most difficult time in my life.
In appreciation of our military system, including Mr. Young's father, I have an art exhibit at the National Guard Headquarters in Concord. There are 15 pieces of original art honoring all veterans.
Again a thank you to The Daily Sun for allowing me to have my voice heard.
Elaine Morrison


Last Updated on Friday, 16 May 2014 06:15

Hits: 128

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