The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 9, 2007

Student defends social studies teachers

To the Editor:

As a senior at CCHS, I am grateful for the "psychological tools some teachers utilize to effectively twist the impressionable minds of their students in directions they see fit" described in Liam McNeill's letter in the February 2 issue. Every social studies teacher I have had the esteemed privilege of learning from has used their mind games to "corner" me into becoming a better person; more politically and socially aware, able to think for myself and ready to analyze every issue.

Students leave CCHS aware, eager, curious, excited, and more than willing and able to defend everything they believe. I feel proud that I have strong convictions about the world and I attribute my involvement in current events to the remarkable social studies teachers at CCHS. Between understanding the magnitude of the terror of Joseph Stalin, to debating who started WWI, to learning how immigration has shaped America into its many layered identity, to studying the presidency of Richard Nixon, and to working together as a team to raise thousands of dollars to diminish one of the world's many crises, I have realized just how important it is to avoid ignorance and to step up and make a difference in the world. Far from manipulating students into a one-sided view, all C-C history teachers only discourage apathy as they are committed to pass on the appreciation of the nuance of opposing ideas.

"Absolute equality" in the treatment of ideas, without exception, has led me to discover my own opinions. Yet, it was also my history teachers who inspired me to register to vote as an Independent to remind myself that no one is ever done learning.

I am confident that I voice the feeling of an overwhelming majority of CCHS students when I say that through the time of greatest curiosity, eagerness, and vulnerability to losing our true identity, these wise adults give us the greatest gift of all; ourselves, whole and untainted, ready to embrace the world of difference.

Emily Fritz-Endres
North Road

Guantánamo lawyer a moving speaker

To the Editor:

The First Religious Society was full on January 28 when Attorney Stephen Oleskey spoke of his experiences representing six Bosnian prisoners at Guantánamo. He began with an overview of the constitutional issues involved, in particular the fact that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 denied his clients the right to habeus corpus; that is, to ask a judge to review the circumstances of their imprisonment and determine if it was lawful.

From the abstract, he shifted to the personal. His clients, citizens and residents of Bosnia, were doing relief work there among Muslim victims of the war that had wracked the former Yugoslavia. They were arrested by Bosnian authorities in January 2002 at the direction of the American chargé d'affaires Christopher Hoh. Fitted with sensory deprivation gear, they were hustled onto an American military transport plane and flown to an American base in Turkey. Mr. Oleskey provided chilling pictures of their in-flight conditions, apparently taken clandestinely by sympathetic U. S. soldiers.

In Turkey, still blindfolded but now able to hear, they were stripped naked in the January cold, beaten, taunted and threatened with snarling dogs — by American military personnel. After this they were flown to Guantánamo, where they recently marked the fifth anniversary of their imprisonment. They have never been charged with any crime, and under present law may never be.

Mr. Oleskey acknowledged that he was an advocate for his clients, which is his job — one he undertook for no pay and at considerable financial sacrifice. He did it to uphold the American values which we insist on offering as an example to the world.

There are two sides to every issue, of course. Vice President Cheney and Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Stimson (the one who urged U. S. corporations to boycott law firms that represent Guantánamo detainees) are articulate spokesmen for the other side. I believe the time has come for us as Americans to decide which side we are on, and take appropriate action.

Roger Goulet
Westford Street

Shocked at proposed SPED cuts

To the Editor:

As a Carlisle resident, a parent whose children went through the Carlisle system, and a former SPED teacher at CPS for 17 years, I was shocked to see the proposed cuts in the support staff at school (2 Sped teachers and 6 aides). One of my former colleagues put it very succinctly when she said that the existing inclusion model is "effective, responsive and forward thinking" . . . resulting in an educationally and fiscally responsible program.

· The existing program effectively services the children who have been identified as needing an IEP [Individual Education Plan]

· The inclusion model allows children to be "serviced" in the classroom within the regular curriculum.

· The current model allows regular education students who are experiencing difficulty to access additional help within the classroom. In my experience, many of these students can be effectively serviced within the existing inclusion program without being referred for an IEP.

· Support staff in the classroom allows more individual attention and the resulting ability to react to more students who are struggling before they give up and display resulting behaviors such as acting out or hiding.

· SPED teachers in the classroom allow more on-the-spot modifications and accommodations to lessons to assure that all students can access the curriculum.

· Dedicated support personnel for each grade level can effectively modify known curriculum for the variety of learning styles that the students on IEPs display, helping to reduce "out of district" placements.

In the 17 years I was a member of the SPED staff, we employed a number of different models to organize staff to meet educational and monetary requirements. The existing model meets the high standards that the town requires educationally, while saving the town money in the long run by keeping down "out of district" placements and the number of children on IEPs. Reducing support staff will cripple this model.

Ann James
Baldwin Road

Hult to run again

To the Editor:

With this letter I would like to announce my intentions to run for a third term as Carlisle Selectman. I generally believe that turnover on town boards is a good thing, bringing fresh perspective and energy. Thus, my initial inclination was not to run again. After careful consideration, however, I have decided that the experience that I have with our town government and current issues might be helpful in the next few years.

I believe our town is facing some difficult issues. We will continue the difficult process of confronting the affordable housing issues brought on by the 40B legislation. Protecting the health and safety of our current residents while attempting to add affordable housing units that are well integrated and planned is a major challenge. In addition the town must determine how it can support the very real capital needs of the schools and town departments while we are seeing increasing operating expenses and high tax rates. As the town becomes more developed and suburban and our population ages we must continue to adapt our town government to meet new and different demands for services.

As we face these challenges, I believe that we need to remember those values that we have always held dear in Carlisle; the community nature of a small town, the preservation and protection of our environment, support for outstanding education, respect and care for all of our citizens and the practicality to achieve these things in a reasonable way.

I love Carlisle. If I am elected again I will do everything that I can to maintain and protect the outstanding and unique quality of life that we enjoy in our beautiful little town.

Tim Hult
Audubon Lane

Correction from Girl Scouts

To the Editor:

This letter is to clarify that the Mosquito incorrectly changed the Girl Scout troop numbers addressed in the letters of U.S. service people thanking the girls for donations of Girl Scout cookies, in their February 2 Mosquito article.

As I stressed when very briefly interviewed by the reporter, sending donated cookies to U.S. troops is an area-wide program available to all the Girl Scout and Brownie troops.By the reporter's choice of focusing on just one troop for the article, it should in no way diminish the fact that many girls in troops of all ages in Carlisle and surrounding towns have supported this noteworthy program.While the Mosquito was given all the letters and photos that were received town-wide by Girl Scouts, it erred when it chose to put in my daughter's troop number in the letters it published.

All the Girl Scout troops in Carlisle and the area who support this program should be commended, for this and for all the good work they do.

Linda Myers-Tierney
Lowell Street

Thanks for citrus sale support

To the Editor:

The members of the Carlisle Senior Band and Middle School Choir wish to thank you for supporting the Winter Citrus Sale. We are thrilled to announce that over 750 boxes and bags of fruit were sold this year. In addition, we are extremely appreciative of the many online orders and generous donations. Thanks to your generosity, the funds raised will contribute to new repertoire, instrument purchase and repair, travel expenses, and scholarships for students taking private music lessons.

Please note that due to the devastating orange freeze in California, we have substituted juicy Valencia oranges in your bags and boxes and Temple oranges in your Citrus Samplers and Fresh Medleys, in place of California navels, at no additional costs to you. Thank you for your understanding. Any questions, call Pam Blair at 1-978-369-6269.

We hope you enjoy the fruit. Thank you so much for supporting the Carlisle music programs.

Carlisle Senior Band and Middle School Choir, Deana Saada and Megan Fitzharris, Directors

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito