Show Basalt High some love |

Show Basalt High some love

Dear Editor:

In her carefully crafted and thoughtfully written guest column, Basalt High School senior Jenna Linden accurately describes the atmosphere at the high school and even in our community since the situation involving a teacher and student became public knowledge (“Plea for respect, compassion from BHS,” March 6, The Aspen Times).

While media accounts were expected, the gleefully salacious nature of much of what’s floating around in cyberspace has been hurtful and disappointing.

One year ago a group of Basalt Middle School students went to our Town Council and asked that we as a community make a commitment to cultivating compassion together. The council unanimously declared the town of Basalt the second international Compassionate City. Since that time, residents, businesses, our schools and the council itself have sought to put that compassion into daily practice. It’s not always easy to choose compassion and respect over judgment and dehumanization. But we’re working on it and learning together.

And we’re not alone. Since the Campaign for Compassionate Cities began, seven communities have made a commitment to the Ethic of Reciprocity or the Golden Rule. Seventy-five other communities around the world are in the process of becoming part of this global movement. Almost 85,000 people have made a personal commitment to the Charter for Compassion.

Those middle school students and the adults who encourage them have shared the invitation to compassion with other groups in the Roaring Fork Valley. Our hope is that the entire region will intentionally embrace the challenge of mutual respect and understanding.

Right now is the time to extend that compassion to the students of Basalt High School. They are struggling to work through this situation with dignity. They will be wiser for that effort. But right now they deserve the encouragement and good will of their neighbors. For the sake of these wonderful young people, let’s lay aside the gossip and send some light and love their way.

The Rev. Marie Gasau


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