Forum, Aug. 18: Lessons From a Tragedy; We Back Briglin; Keep Watch at Lebanon High

Lessons From a Tragedy

To the Editor:

The Unity crash involving four teenagers and the loss of three young lives was a topic of discussion in my driver education class. It is the worst of nightmares when someone pays the ultimate price for their actions. My sincere sympathies to the families and friends of those who lost their lives.

The loss of human life is always tragic, no matter the circumstances. Many things that happen to people are affected by and are a result of their choices. With every decision comes a consequence. Sadly, the situation in Unity was a result of an unlucky action that cost the lives of some innocent people.

A car is a weapon. It has the capability to do good or evil. Like a gun, it is neither good nor bad, but the way it is used determines how it is viewed. Modern transportation vehicles are a wonderful achievement of technology, but at the end of the day they are still dangerous. Every person who decides to get behind the wheel makes a silent agreement stating that they know the responsibilities and risks involved in using it.

A real-life incident like the tragedy in Unity is the ultimate lesson. Getting a license and driving is a serious matter and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If the only way for teenagers to learn how to act as responsible drivers is when a tragedy strikes, then there must be something wrong in our society as a whole; I am at a loss to figure out what it is. One can only hope that the families and friends will help and support others.

I have watched films in driver education class that tell you to learn from the mistakes of others so that you don’t have to suffer the consequences. I understand without pain, there is no joy, and without failure, there is no success. Our own survival depends upon the ability to make good decisions when they matter most.

Zac Chernin

Grantham

Support for Tim Briglin

To the Editor:

We think financing of healthcare and education are the two major issues in the upcoming Vermont legislative session that will determine the affordability of living in Vermont. Tim Briglin is uniquely qualified to serve in Vermont’s House of Representatives because of his experience in these areas: service on Governor Shumlin’s Advisory Council on Health Care Finance; service on the Vermont Economic Progress Council; co-founder of Tuckerman Capital, a business which invests in small manufacturing companies; trustee of Thetford Academy Board for 10 years, and president for three years. We encourage Vermonters in Norwich, Sharon, Strafford and Thetford to vote in the primary on Aug. 26, or earlier by absentee ballot.

Peter and Anne Silberfarb

Norwich

Keep Watch At Lebanon High

To the Editor:

Now that the Lebanon School Board has hired a new principal for Lebanon High School, and a new superintendent, we have some words of advice and encouragement for the School Board. The Lebanon Parents Association thanks you for your fine work in what has been a shortened and slightly stressful process. We are glad that the new school year will start with both of these positions filled.

Secondly, we would highly encourage the School Board to stay well informed of quality-of-teaching issues at Lebanon High School. Though the school has recently finished its two-year re-accreditation process, there is no actual assurance that all issues concerning sub-par teaching at the school have been addressed. We reiterate the fact that the great majority of teachers at the high school are either good, very good or excellent; we have said this at every turn. There remain, however, through the last school year, very real, discernible and important issues relative to the quality of education that students receive day to day. It is centrally important that the School Board recognizes that our concerns were never about minor or short-lived issues. They have been only about issues that went on for months or years, and were endemic.

We also highly encourage the School Board to, in its negotiations with the teachers’ union, push for unannounced observations of teachers. It is too easy for a teacher who is teaching poorly to plan a fine lesson if he or she knows what day and what period the administrator is coming in to observe.

My son, our only child, graduated from Lebanon High School, not this year, but in June 2013. I have worked hard with the LPA this past school year because I care deeply about educational quality. I am about to start my 34th year of teaching, and am still very enthused about all of it. I believe that teachers who are “burned out” should leave and pursue other interests. I will step down as head of the LPA at the end of the summer.

I would like to, in the strongest way possible, encourage parents to stay aware of problems their children may be having at the high school. The LPA found significant issues in all four “major” curricular areas, and these problems may persist into this next school year.

Should any concerned parent want to contact me relative to issues we worked on during the last two school years, I would be more than happy to meet with him or her. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with concerned members of the Lebanon community.

Louis J. Maresca

For Lebanon Parents Association

West Lebanon