Letters: Leave politics out of Trailside anti-bullying debate
Leave politics out of it
Our country’s founding principles are rooted in individual freedoms and liberties as well as equal opportunity for all. Unfortunately, imperfect humans have not perfectly implemented these ideals.
Americans should be grateful to those who sacrificed to protect and ensure a more equitable application of these principles. Unfortunately, many are not. To end slavery, those labeled Republican put their lives on the line. For LGBTQ rights, those labeled Democrat led the fight.
All groups contain good and bad people. Yes, historically Republicans opposed LGBTQ equality. However, the hood-wearing Klansmen Andrew Caplan invoked who opposed blacks’ civil liberties were Democrats. Every modern-day U.S. president, even Barack Obama, stated unequivocally: “Marriage is between one man and one woman.” Both political parties supported positions now considered against our founding principles. Some faulted my recent guest editorial because I didn’t mention their favored oppressor or oppressed group. The point is, we have all been the oppressed or oppressors, some intentionally, others unwittingly. We all have crosses we bear. We pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and move on; hopefully, as better people as a result of the challenges we overcame.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes has implemented a suicide prevention program, which is available to anyone from any group who feels the need to reach out for help. The suicide prevention specialists do not know what the person looks like, with whom they sleep, how they identify, or their political affiliation when they answer that call or text. Yet, the program has been tremendously successful and suicide rates in Utah have begun to fall.
Bullying affects everyone. Time to stop choosing sides based on labels and identity politics! Some wrongly suggested that I support the exclusion of LGBTQ families from an anti-bullying agenda. While the Human Rights Campaign has done important work for the LGBTQ community, its Welcoming Schools program is too partisan. My opposition is to a political group training our teachers; not to this group nor its advocacy. This affiliation politicizes an issue that should be galvanizing our community, not dividing it.
Politics must be left out. Myriad apolitical anti-bullying programs exist. Let’s implement one!
Smiles for days
The National Ability Center provides adventure, recreation, relief, camaraderie and purpose to so many, many more than just their participants. We are so lucky and I am proud to have this organization in our community. I have worked and volunteered with the NAC and have witnessed firsthand the enormous impact it can have on individuals.
Nov. 8 is once again Live PC Give PC, and the Park City Community Foundation is leading this effort. Please take a minute, put a smile on your face, and support the National Ability Center, or the nonprofit that matters to you most. That smiles will last for days.
Mary Flinn Ware
We take care of our own
Since my husband Roger and I moved here 15 years ago I have been amazed at the magnitude of services provided to our community by the nonprofit organizations in Park City. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to be part of a community that does so much good, every day.
When members of the Park City community do not have health insurance, the People’s Health Clinic offers a critical safety net. When someone is being abused, they have a safe place to go in Peace House. When we find or lose a pet, there is Nuzzles or Paws. If you need a place to take your recyclables … and 100 other great examples. We are incredibly lucky to live in a place that gives back and takes care of its own.
This Friday, Nov. 8, Park City Community Foundation will once again be holding Live PC Give PC. This is a day you are given the opportunity to give back to all those organizations that touch each of our lives. I’m going to be supporting as many of these organizations as I can, I hope you will consider doing the same.
Your donation on Friday assures our ability to continue to provide excellent services in our community. Your generous donation during Live PC Give PC allows you to stand with incredible volunteer organizations to touch the lives of those who use their services.
Your donation is helping to make our community healthier, safer and happier. Right here. Right now.
On behalf of the People’s Health Clinic, our dedicated volunteer health care professionals, and most importantly our patients … thank you for your generous partnership and support.
People’s Health Clinic executive director
Welcoming Schools dispute is unsurprising
I would like to know more about the decision by the Park City School administrators to select the Welcoming Schools program ostensibly to deal with bullying in the Trailside Elementary School. There are lots of anti-bullying programs available for schools to choose from, many of which have a much broader scope than the Welcoming Schools program, which to a great extent focuses on gender and LGBTQ inclusiveness.
I would like to know what other programs were considered, what costs are involved and what factors led to the choice of Welcoming Schools over the other programs. How much time will be taken away from regular instruction for this program? How are the Park City schools cooperating with state and federal efforts to deal with bullying? The Utah Anti-Bullying Coalition has a wide range of programs that qualify for funding, and the federal government has programs available under its stopbullying.gov website which is managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Over the years a lot of anti-bullying programs have been tried and have failed. One of the most successful is a research-based anti-bullying program called KiVa, which is now Finland’s national anti-bullying program. That might be a good program to study.
I am not surprised that the selection of the Welcoming Schools program has been met with resistance. Every time in the past that I’ve seen a new program introduced in the schools that borders on, or deals with sex education, it has resulted in a noisy dispute. I can’t think of a better way to divide the community and undermine support for education than to introduce a new and potentially controversial program without explaining the alternatives and seeking public comment prior to making a choice. That is what experienced and competent school administrators do. In instances where an aspect of sex education is involved, Utah law requires prior written parental consent and prohibits reprisals against children who do not participate in sex education instruction. See Utah Code section 53G-10-403. The Utah courts will probably require such consents for the Welcoming Schools program to proceed.
F. Joseph Feely III
Connect is critical
Four years ago my son entered crisis mode and ended up in a psychiatric hospital for nine months. Until then, my husband and I had coined “mental health” as an occasional bout of depression based on our experiences from family and friends. What we have since learned is that “mental health” covers a wide spectrum of health conditions affecting our cognitive, emotional and behavioral well-being and it affects millions of humans in some way.
What we also learned back in 2016 was that a non-profit organization called Connect was being conceived by other locals with similar stories to that with our son. The founders, Ed and Lynne Rutan, and Shauna Wiest, worked tirelessly to increase awareness and reduce stigma around mental health issues in Summit County and beyond. Connect exists as a resource for folks like me and them, as the patient or the caregiver, who are suddenly thrown into an unknown existence.
Connect Summit County continues to grow and thrive with new staff, programming for 2020 and an excellent website designed to direct those in need to a resource. I am proud to be a board member for this blossoming and much-needed organization in our community and I hope you will consider donating to Connect this Friday, Nov. 8, for Live PC Give PC.
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