Letters, Feb. 16-18: Hate speech in schools requires strong action from district
Hate in our schools
This past week someone drew a swastika and the n-word in the classroom of a Jewish teacher at Park City High School and at other locations on campus. We wish we could say that this is the first time that our students have experienced bigotry in the Park City School District. In recent years, responding to anti-Semitic verbal abuse in the schools has been a regular part of life. We can only imagine what the LatinX, African-American and Filipino students are experiencing. The teacher who was the victim of the hate speech has documented nearly 50 recent incidents.
This is not an isolated occurrence or simply the actions of a teenager trying to be cool and edgy. We have a cultural problem in our schools that allows such behavior to continue relatively unchecked. The district and the school board remain respectively ineffective and silent to our calls to treat this as a larger problem.
Roger Arbabi, the principal of Park City High School, has met with teachers, students and leaders of minority communities to address this problem. While the Superintendent, Dr. Gildea, has met with me, and I acknowledge that she is trying to address this issue, there are still no plans that effectively treat this as a systemic and cultural problem. The school board has reiterated their commitment to responding to individual events, while not presenting a coherent vision of how to change the culture of our schools. This is not enough.
We call upon Dr. Gildea to institute district-wide changes to address this problem. A starting point would be anti-bias training by a nationally recognized organization — a form of student and faculty engagement with these issues that does not involve curricular change. The district also needs to pursue a K-12 diversity curriculum. This is not a Jewish community problem. This is a Park City problem. We all have a responsibility to take real, concrete steps to stop hate in our schools.
Rabbi David Levinsky and President Casey Lebwohl
Temple Har Shalom
Put a charge into the community
I am a seventh-grader, and I love the outdoors. I think we all want to preserve the amazing outdoor resources we have in Park City, but I want to share my concern about the limited number of electric and hybrid vehicles here. I really like that Park City already has electric buses and that we can ride them for free. That is an awesome service for all of us. My family uses the buses to avoid driving when we can. The problem is that traffic is bad now, and most of those cars are polluting, which is damaging the air and making it hard for us and animals to breathe. We don’t want Park City’s air to become like Salt Lake. For this to happen, we will need to have more places for electric car chargers and maybe more parking just for electric and hybrid cars. These cars are more affordable than they used to be, so hopefully if people read this, they will be encouraged to consider an electric car next time they buy a car. I hope my mom and dad are reading this, too!
It’s all about the money
Old timers in Park City bemoan the “good old days” but seem to get stuck when it comes to a solution. Since they forgot to shut the door after discovering paradise in the form of building regulations, they’re stuck with an overcrowded small town. For the last few weeks, I have lived in Park City, experienced the mash of crowds, lines of traffic and mediocre overpriced food. I’ve read the stories of $9 hotdogs that take 45 minutes and letters to the editor about bringing back the days of glory.
What I’d suggest to the “old timers” is to put your money where your mouths are by creating an ad campaign that rivals Vail Resorts’. One which makes skiing at PCMR look like a trip to some war-torn country. From the stories I’ve heard, it wouldn’t be much of a reach. Using social media, ski magazines, newspapers, etc., to get the word out that skiing on the ant hill PCMR has become is an overpriced proposition would cut into Vail Resorts’ profit. Then and only then will the Colorado megaresort hear the concerns of Park City locals.
It is a fool’s errand to believe Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch or PCMR’s Mike Goar are worried about the reputation of town over profits of the company. Yes, the best answer would be to work with the corporation to improve all aspects of life in Pack City, but I fear the only answer you’ll get from Vail Resorts until you find a way to hit their bottom line is, “Shut up and ski.” When it comes to what the ski industry (I worked in it for years) you must recognize that it’s all about the money. Choke off the money and things will change.
Devon D. Fuller
Ducks are lined up
My letter to the editor in the Feb. 9 edition unfortunately had to be cut short because of a lack of space. The editor suggested I complete my thoughts for the readers regarding traffic issues involving Park City, Summit County, Wasatch County and UDOT.
“The Ducks are lined up” … Some of these projects, if they stay within the “original” planning approvals, can stand on their own. PCMR/PEG has so many “exceptions” requested that I have lost track. The Dakota Pacific project in Kimball Junction is in the same category. The arts district is yet to be heard from, but I am betting more exceptions/variances will be requested. The “duck” flew the coup on the Mayflower project. The high school project I think will be clean. The Deer Valley project so far has not asked for exceptions/variances, so that is clean for now. The film studio project is in its early stages, but will request exceptions/variances. Addressing all the traffic issues is not an exception/variance, it’s a necessity for the residents of Park City. Put all these together and we will have a disaster on our hands if action is not taken. If they all happen, they will start in the next 1-3 years at roughly the same time. We have an untenable situation now and the governing bodies of these areas have not addressed the problem in “totality.” It’s one “duck” at a time!
The last Park City administration spent over $1 million in taxpayer dollars in addition to what UDOT spent to deal with the mess on S.R. 248. That administration didn’t like the answer so, they walked away! If I count right, Park City has at least two “transit centers” — i.e. PCMR and Deer Valley — on the planning menu and a possible third at the film studio, with no plan on how they would all interact.
In conclusion, it’s past time for a plan! We are getting nibbled to death one duck at a time.
With Erin’s leadership, we find comfort knowing more families like ours will have the privilege to give their own kids a solid foundation of lifelong learning for generations to come.
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