School District Bullies
I am sadly disappointed with the Meridian School District's decision to be bullied by a loud minority of parents into disallowing a vast majority of students the opportunity to hear the president of the United States speak directly to them.
The district policy on bullying includes in its definition:
"Bullying means any intentional gesture or any intentional written, verbal or physical act or threat by a student that a reasonable person under the circumstances should know, will have the effect of:
"e. Is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment for a student; or
"f. Unreasonably interferes with an individual's educational performance; or
"g. Otherwise adversely affects an individual's educational opportunities."
Substitute the word parent for student in the first paragraph, and you have the definition of what took place between these loud, bullying parents and the district representatives that did not uphold their own policy.
Our kids missed out on the opportunity to be inspired. To listen with their peers and teachers to an orator who, I believe, is as rich and gifted a speaker as John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. Rarely, in this day and age, do we experience anyone in the public arena with a command of the English language, the ability to wield it so deftly, and a sincere interest in the future success of our kids. Most of them wouldn't bother.
Shame on the Meridian School District for making this decision without any consideration for the majority of parents and students that aren't afraid of their president.
Meridian High School has extended an olive branch in the form of replaying the president's speech on Monday, Sept. 14, during lunch, but only to those students that have a signed permission slip from their parents. As I understand it, there will be three classrooms available for viewing. I guess the assumption is that there won't be many students either interested or allowed. What a sad commentary on the school's assumed aspirations of our future citizens.
In closing, let me say the definition of democracy is: government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system. I say it's time for the students at the high school level, particularly juniors and seniors, to stand up and be counted. You deserve to be inspired, for only then can you really make a difference.
--Malinda Siemsen, MHS parent,
Cover Art for the Eyes
How delightful to see a well-done, well-conceived piece of art on your cover (Sept. 9, 2009). I have grown accustomed to seeing little but the kind of "art" produced by self-proclaimed "artists" who appear to think that anything they put on paper qualifies as art. Veiko Valencia has produced the best cover you have printed in quite a while. Thanks for making Boise Weekly easier on the eyes for at least one week. I look forward to trying to buy this at your next sale of original art covers.
On behalf of Janie Harris and myself, I'd like to thank everyone involved with the cancer survivor benefit concert my friends and I staged for her at the Egyptian Theatre in Boise Aug. 22. It was a tremendous success, raising nearly $16,000 for Janie, who faces hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt because her health insurance company ruled her cancer a pre-existing condition and refused to cover it.
The widow of my mentor and dear friend--the renowned jazz pianist Gene Harris--Janie has brought so much to the Treasure Valley with her generous support of live music. It was a beautiful thing to see her friends and fans come together and help her through her recovery. The Treasure Valley really knows how to rally around a great cause and a great woman.
In addition to all our generous patrons and donors, including the businesses contributing auction items, I'd especially like to thank the evening's performers, many of whom gave up good-paying gigs on a Saturday night to join us. These talented artists include Cherie Buckner, Billy Mitchell, Harry Lawless, Phil Batt, Bill Cope, John Jones, Pete Petersen, The New Trio, the Frim Fram Fellas, and of course Jim Kassis and Rod Wray, who round out my trio. I'd also like to thank the news media for helping spread the word, the Egyptian Theatre for giving us a more-than-generous discount on the theater rental, Dunkley Music for the beautiful piano, and Jane Naillon and Cody Evans for creating such a wonderful poster. Auctioneer Larry Flynn, publicist Tony Harrison, and sound engineers Craig Campbell and Ken Morton were also invaluable.
It is also worth noting Pete Petersen and Seattle-based Pony Boy Records are putting together a compilation CD that will benefit Janie. The disc is due out in stores this winter. Check my Web site, Pete's site, or Pony Boy's for updates.
Those who could not attend the concert can always make donations directly to Janie at 5699 Fortress Ct., Boise, ID 83703. Again, thank you all!
Nathaniel Hoffman's Sept. 12 citydesk post titled "Tea Party Inspired by Racial Fears," stirred up a hornet's nest in Boise Weekly's online comment forum. Here's a selection of comments from the more than 50 posted as of press time, including this week's gold star "Comment of the Week" comment.
You and Dowd are fools (or worse) to speculate on why someone would want to know the truth about Obama's citizenship. I want to know, too.
I'm not a racist. POTUS is required to be a natural-born citizen. The same type of COLB document that Obama posted online is available to non-natural-born citizens (adopted, native, etc). How do we know if he meets the criteria? We don't.
We need to see his long-form or "vault" birth certificate. He works for you and for me. You may not care, but I do. Who are you to say I don't have an honorable right to know that our POTUS is constitutionally eligible?
Hey Captain Steve, Hawaii doesn't have a long form birth certificate and the entire supposed controversy has been proven false. You probably know that. But his citizenship isn't actually the issue, is it? You are simply trying to continue to smear Obama for whatever reason.
Good grief ... What has happened to my Idaho? I am born and raised in Burley and lately the misinformation and race baiting coming out of Boise leaves me speechless. What sort of nonsense caused you to write this drivel? Perhaps the successes of the tea party folks is getting your kind nervous. Racism? Cow manure.
I thought this article was very good and an accurate analysis of the racism that exists at the heart of the tea bagger movement. I was shocked by the hateful comments in response to this article. You people are un-American and hate mongers. I love Boise but when I read this type of hate speech I am so glad that I don't live in Idaho anymore. My town did not hold a tea bagger (KKK) rally thank God.
--Beth from Boise,
Nathanial [sic], you are such a biased douche.
Editor's Note: Tom Tomorrow returns next week.