Sacred trust violated | AspenTimes.com

Sacred trust violated

Dear Editor:

Like many others up and down the valley, I was shocked, bewildered, angered, and saddened to learn of the superintendent’s decision not to permit the live airing of President Obama’s speech to students in Re-1. I cannot add much more to the passionate eloquence of previous letters other than to say that on several levels a sacred trust has been violated.

First, to those few paranoid parents who whined to Judy Haptonstall: Have you no faith in your own child’s ability to filter the president’s toxic message on the value of hard work? And doesn’t Johnny have your skill to recognize the evil subtext of “personal responsibility?” Don’t you trust your own expertise in deprogramming your child at the dinner table each night to the background din of Beck and Hannity and put him on the bus the next morning with the peace of your own convictions?

And seriously, Judy, don’t you trust the hundreds of thoughtful teachers whose lives are dedicated to the intellectual and civic well-being of the valley’s kids? Thanks in part to you, I have known and worked closely with many of them, particularly the younger ones who are struggling to stay in the area, and I have no doubt that they would have handled the speech appropriately and made it one of those “teachable moments” that good teachers live for. I hope they made it one anyway.

This loss of faith will be difficult to restore. I hope your effort begins now and continues until your support of teachers is clear in all the ways possible. Support them in their salary goals. Agree with them by word and action that they should be able to afford a house in their own community and not just live in servants’ quarters. Listen to their curricular concerns and act on their behalf. Dispel any Big Brother feeling that they might have. Trust them. You hired them. If they succeed, you succeed. And then the kids succeed. Then everyone wins.

Jim Hontz

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retired Re-1 teacher

Tucson, Ariz.