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Forum, Aug. 19: Lessons from 1943 Denmark


Sunday, August 18, 2019
Lessons from 1943 Denmark

The American Civil Liberties Union sent a warning in late July about a new wave of Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests expected in at least 10 cities across the country. “ICE raids are nothing new,” the ACLU wrote, “But for over two years now, the Trump administration has been terrorizing our communities at a new level — tearing thousands of families apart, spreading fear and hate.” That warning made me remember ...

On Oct. 1, 1943, German police knocked on the doors of almost all the Jewish families in Denmark. Very few were home, and the ships waiting in Copenhagen’s harbor to take 8,000 prisoners to concentration camps left with only a couple of hundred on board. Where were the Jews? They were hiding with non-Jewish neighbors, friends or even mere acquaintances, who were eager to shelter their fellow citizens from their persecutors. During the next few weeks, nearly all the Jews were helped to reach safety in neighboring Sweden. The people of Denmark, not all of them but a great many, achieved a noble feat of solidarity against evil.

In 2019, the ACLU is “fighting back by suing to stop mass deportations of refugee families,” that message continued. It is doing its job; the ACLU is a legal organization and lawsuits plus education are its weapons. But what about the rest of us, U.S. citizens with far less to fear than had the Danes under Nazi occupation? There was good news from that first wave of arrests; more than 2,000 migrants were targeted while just 35 were captured, and there were some fine stories of resistance.

But there is a huge struggle ahead, as shown by ICE’s Mississippi roundup of 800 workers on the first day of the school year that left scores of children crying for their parents. I hope we Americans will meet today’s challenge the way the people of Denmark met theirs, protecting their Jewish neighbors in 1943.

JOHN LAMPERTI

Norwich

Student safety is top priority

It’s hard to believe, but fall is almost here. For many parents, this means getting your kids ready to go back to school. As a mom, I remember this always being a bittersweet moment. All parents go into each school year with goals and priorities for their children. As a member of the New Hampshire Senate Education Committee, I have my own goals and priorities, as well.

My first priority is, and has always been, the safety of our students. Children cannot be expected to learn if they do not feel safe at school. SB 141, a bill that I co-sponsored, was recently signed into law by Gov. Chris Sununu. This bill establishes a committee of experts to study the best ways to prevent violence in our schools. In order to keep our kids safe, we need to make sure that the most up-to-date information and tools are available to us, and we need to work together to ensure the best ideas are implemented.

Additionally, I sponsored a number of bills dealing with bullying, which has become a much more complex and prevalent problem, and co-sponsored and supported a number of bills that provide for training in both suicide and bullying awareness and prevention, including SB 282, which was also signed into law.

We also need to ensure that towns have the resources and flexibility to provide the best education for our children. This is why I supported an increase in stabilization grant funding and sponsored legislation that increases school choice and allows school districts to develop plans for becoming innovation schools.

I believe parents know what is best when it comes to their children’s education, and I have tried to spend as much time as I can speaking with them. If you have any ideas or comments on how we can provide our children with a first-rate education, I would encourage you to contact my office. I hope to hear from you and I hope that you all have a wonderful rest of the summer and start to the school year.

RUTH WARD

Stoddard, N.H.

The writer represents District 8 in the New Hampshire Senate.

Sununu’s veto renders him unfit

Whoever would have guessed that it was a good idea to welcome the general public to bring guns onto school grounds in our state? What sort of conclusions do high school students draw when they learn that they may not do so, but that any adult lawfully in possession may? What stops a student from thinking: “If it’s OK for Dad or my uncle to bring a gun to the school grounds, why shouldn’t I carry one to protect myself?”

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has decided this matter for us. “Do as we say” will be the rule, for he has vetoed a bill that would ban firearms from schools. He feels it is a good idea to allow the general public to come armed into public schools. Two years ago, he stood by and watched as his attorney general threatened the Lebanon School Board with a lawsuit for acting to prohibit guns.

Federal law prohibits guns within 1,000 feet of any school in America. But Sununu feels that New Hampshire need not — and should not — observe federal law on this subject.

The upshot is that by vetoing a bill that would bring New Hampshire into conformity with federal law he has acted to defend existing state laws, which fly in the face of this federal mandate. In so doing, he has violated his oath to uphold the constitution and the laws of these United States, for these, and not New Hampshire’s, are the supreme law of the land.

What can our students conclude from this contradiction? We can only conclude that Sununu is unfit to remain governor of New Hampshire.

TYLER HARWELL and
SUZA LAMBERT BOWSER

New London