Letters to the Editor

Letters: Thanking a 20-year school board member; An exercise in contemplation

Thanking a 20-year school board member

Twenty years ago, Robert Lumley-Sapanski was first elected to the Bellefonte school board. The world of public education was in a period of great change. Over the past two decades, public education has seen profound changes, from coping with the fear active shooter drills instill in students to the challenges and wake of No Child Left Behind.

That same year, I sat in the sixth grade preparing for the state’s first PSSAs. This was when teachers, administrators and school boards alike started living in fear that “below basic” scores would lead to loss of funding, not increased assistance, due to new legislation, and Pennsylvania teachers were forced to teach to tests. As time progressed, even greater challenges came to public education with the fear generated by the 9/11 attacks, countless school shootings, and budget cuts, among others.

Over the 20 years since his election, the middle school renovation project was completed with state-of-the-art improvements. Bob was elected vice president of the board, and then president. During his time as president he led the district in radically improving facilities including Marion-Walker Elementary renovations, high school renovations, and the Rogers Stadium, Jeremy Herbstritt and Jonas Panik track.

Bob was elected and served as Pennsylvania School Board Association president, working to advance legislation including vastly improving mental health services provided in our public schools.

Please join me in thanking Bob, my father, for his dedication and tireless efforts championing public education over the past two decades on the school board.

Jonathan Lumley-Sapanski, Morristown, New Jersey

ISIS leader should have faced international criminal court

Mr. al-Baghdadi made violent war on secular modernity. His assassination satisfied measure for measure justice : as the Hebrew Bible says, “You take a life. Your life is forfeit.”

But neither in his case or Bin Laden’s before him does this satisfy me.

No. Extraordinary efforts should have been made to capture each of them alive, then to turn them over to the international criminal court to be tried for crimes against humanity.

In the jungle it is kill or be killed. But we are not in the jungle but in the city where law and right apply.

By name we are called into this city by God. Mr. Al-Baghdadi would like me putting it this way. But the God I mean abhors violence and does new things every day in joy.

John Harris, State College

Exercises in contemplation

I want you to try something. I want you to try evaluating two things, comparing and contrasting them, and resolve where you stand between these things. One combines two ideas: “love your neighbor as yourself” and “do unto others as you would want done unto you.” I want you to imagine fully applying these to all of humanity and indeed to all life on earth, not adding “except for” as a qualifier. Then I want you to think about some individual or group of people, ones you may have dismissed as unimportant, been unkind to, mistreated, feared or hated. How do these ideas conflict? This is one contemplation.

In another contemplation I want you to use the above golden rule and compare it to the mass extinction we are causing among God’s creation on earth, the wiping out of animal species.

These are separate but no less important issues we all must face. I want you to walk in the other being’s shoes. Hold these ideas together, and come to some understanding of where you stand on these issues.

It may take you some time to decide between these core religious and humanitarian principles versus destructive aspects that we have adopted, what we find we are doing within our groups, cultures and beliefs that adversely affect other human beings and life on this earth.

We all have our biases, our unconscious bigotries and destructive aspects of our cultures. If this exercise was helpful to you please pass it on to others.

Doug Keith, State College
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