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Letters to the Editor

Focus on bullying a long time coming

I am so very thankful that bullying is finally being addressed in our valley's schools. In 1998, my son was in middle school in Ashland. At a Teacher/Parent/Student team meeting looking for input on school improvement topics for the year, my son brought up the issue of bullying and suggested the school look at adopting this issue for the year. I did not know it at that time, but he was being bullied himself then. He was summarily dismissed in front of the entire group in attendance by his math teacher who said "you're in middle school now, you just need to grow up and solve these problems for yourself now." No other teacher or parent responded in any way. Everyone seemed embarrassed, and the bullying topic was dropped immediately — despite national news reporting bullying resulting in suicides in other parts of the country.

Now, finally, after many assaults and deaths nationwide, we are taking the issue seriously in the Rogue Valley. The Tidings article talked a lot about how the students are being educated to deal with bullying explaining the roles of allies, bystanders and aggressors. I hope we eventually will get to the point where the schools will honestly deal some of the teachers who are "bystanders" and the few, rare teachers who are "aggressors" themselves.

I would like to see the teachers and administrators follow the same practices as the students, peer to peer, to promote all teachers becoming allies rather than bystanders. I highly commend the districts for taking this on, but want to remind them that old philosophies of "suck it up and grow up" die hard — it is the teachers and staff themselves who may need the most help in changing their attitudes and behaviors about childhood bullying.

Susan Bizeau, Ashland parent 1997-2005


Don't tolerateuncivil behavior

One hundred years ago dysfunctional, aberrant and unsocial behavior was understood to be a threat to the survival of the community — it simply wasn't allowed to happen. This kind of deviant, sociopathic behavior was unheard of even 50 years ago. This kind of troublemaker used to be few and far between, as society was too fragile to allow for them.

To confuse the issue of Ashland's degenerating downtown ethos with mankind's ongoing struggle for basic cilvil liberties is to forget some fundamentals. We will not clean up this town with sociologists, substance abuse counselors or mental health professionals at the front of the challenge. First, we need to deal with the problem fundamentally.

Currently, an entire culture of incivility is taking root in Ashland. This is to be expected if we, for whatever good reasons, just stand by as if it is not our problem. This culture of incivility will surely breed even worse problems if we don't deal with it now.

I applaud the Ashland City Council for taking a step in this direction. I applaud the young homeless men who tackled a purse snatcher, and the policeman who tackled a bank robber. Please let me ask those who oppose this protocol to direct your efforts to those who could use the help.

The drunks need a drunk tank. The homeless could use a little understanding, maybe an opportunity and some direction. The true bad apples, and the ones that might be leaning that way, should be dealt with convincingly. We owe it to our ancestors.

Randy Dolinger


Carnegie Hall right here in Ashland

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

One way on Friday, June 8, was to accompany the brilliant trio co-creations of classical musicians Morgan O'Shaughnessey (viola), Lisa Nichols (flute) and Aaron Moffatt (violin), who presented their debut recital as "Trio Nocelle" at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Fellowship.

The audience was dazzled throughout. The level of individual and collegial musical artistry was exceptional — indeed, like being at Carnegie Hall, in the familiar setting of Ashland.

From Telemann to contemporary composers, from lyrical beauty to virtuosic near-madness, the three musicians held the inaugural audience captive, in rapt attention. The trio's commitment, command, the expressive communication were enthralling.

The next recital of "Trio Nocello" is 8 p.m. Saturday, July 14, at the Unitarian Fellowship, 87 Fourth St. This recital will include Trio and piano, featuring pianist Daniel Swayze, who has enriched Ashland and Rogue Valley audiences with his challenging repertoire and deep desire to share the intention of the composer in his interpretations.

Mark your calendar for 8 p.m. July 14, 8 at the Unitarian Fellowship, 87 Fourth St., Ashland. You will experience beautiful music by superb performers, taking you to "Carnegie Hall" in the quiet, lovely ambience of Ashland.

Daniel Murphy