Letters to the editor: Remembering 9/11, school board

Remembering 9/11 heroes

I’m not sure where to start this. I will just dive in.
As we approach the 20-year anniversary of 9/11, a day that forever changed our country; I find myself preparing for the feelings that will come with its arrival.
Born in New York myself, though moving at a very young age, it has always made me realize how with one different choice made by my parents I could have still been there, living life and that these stories could have ended up even that much more personal to me.
I remember as a kid, for a school project once drawing and labeling my art as, “The World-Wide Trade Center and wearing my METS pajamas my dad got me. That was the thing about 9/11 though, no matter where you’re from, American’s all learned that something like this can happen to any of us at any time. Our nation shaken by that reality and feeling a loss of security.
I’ve spent recent weeks, reading old newspapers I purchased and saved from 9/11, scrolling through tributes and news stories on my phone.
I’ve also noticed an excessive number of documentaries to watch on my many streaming channels.
I choose one. “9/11 One Day in America.” It starts with a warning of viewer discretion advised. Somewhat expected one would suppose. In a short time of viewing, I found it was absolutely warranted, well placed. Heartbreaking images, stories and testimonials gathered over 20 years to be shared with us now adds up to a lot of heartbreak. Heartbreak that can not be forgotten or replaced.
However, on the other side of that heartbreak, something beautiful was shared through these stories and this powerful documentary I watched: unity in our country.
Though my eyes were filled with tears because of the tragedy itself we lived through called 9/11, they teared up for another reason also: seeing where our unity as a country is today, 20 years later.
Watching this documentary and hearing these stories we are reminded of what people can do for each other in the wake of a tragedy. In this documentary I watched men and woman carry each other to safety, hug, cry, share devices to call their loved ones in case they had to say a last goodbye.
No one cared if they were rich, poor, old, young, what language they spoke, how much they weighed, their political stance or what color their skin was. If they were a smoker or a health nut. If they were homeless or head honcho at the law firm downtown. All they knew was that they all bleed the same color, they all were afraid and their hearts all hurt.
Flight 93, a group of 40 innocent lives who joined together taking over the plane lost their lives and saved countless.
Out of the dozens of stories shared in this documentary series, there was only one story of leaving someone behind.
Briefly, here it is: Two men were trapped under the rubble. They exhausted themselves trying to dig themselves out in belief they will absolutely never be found. Under concrete, rebar and who knows what else, the middle-age man saw the smallest hole they created with light shining through.
Knowing he couldn’t fit, he assisted the younger, slenderer man in squeezing out the hole. The plan was to then remove debris getting the rest of the hole large enough to get his partner out.
Instead, he gets out and tells the man he is sorry but he is leaving him behind. The gentleman still in the rubble curses at him and then thinks to throw a piece of concrete at the young man but refrains.
“I don’t want to think about having to live with that the rest of my life, if I make it out alive.” he said.
So where are we 20 years later? Where do you feel we are?
I feel like we are all under the rubble. The unity is in trouble. We need heroes again. We need compassion, understanding without judgement, doing without wanting, patience, love without the knowing, teamwork and heroes.
I know I said that but I feel it’s needed again. Heroes.
I want to be the hero that digs my partner out. Not the one that left him behind.
In conclusion, when I was done watching this documentary series, I thought to myself, “I wish everyone would watch this just once.” Let these stories be shared for a reason. Let the lives lost be for those who still live to live their best life and pay it forward and be a hero to someone themselves.

Jennifer Magnolia

Shool Board failing to protect children

I’m the mother to three children, one of which is a student in Lebanon.
It’s been an eventful month. I wish I could say that it has been a positive one.
In August the School Board met and heard the opinions of Lebanon School District citizens. I’m sure we were largely unheard. For the last month I have been following news and current events. We told the board that we will not stand for the masking of our children. It has not issued a policy redaction. The school year has started.
In my research I found a provision in the American Rescue Plan that allocates funds to states that will be distributed to the districts at their discretion. The catch? The states and districts must be CDC-compliant, which includes the masking of students and staff.
As usual, “follow the money” was right. The board has sold every child in your district for $2,600 this school year. There are 3,800 children in their care, providing the district an additional $9.88 million dollars.
In the state of Florida, there is an order from the governor preventing the masking of children, enforced by the withholding of salary from teachers that do. We will never be so lucky.
The Secretary of Education wrote a letter to the governor saying that they will make the state allocated funds available to the districts that defy the governor’s mandate. State’s rights? Ha!
It seems like school officials aren’t going to listen to us on the grounds of personal freedom or right to choose. So, let’s follow the money to a place called liability.
A distinguished man named Zak Ringlestein wrote an article for Forbes about the dangers of mask-wearing on children. Not once did he mention CO2. He approached the subject from an equitable position, something Mr.Yates should appreciate since he signed a racial equity pledge in June of 2020.
Ringlestein cited multiple trustworthy organizations in his article including The American Psychiatric Association.
Let’s talk about equity. Lebanon Community School district is 77% white and 38% of all students live in poverty. One in three kids. 1,300.
Are they excluded from the district’s equitable sympathies because of their skin color?
“You’re mostly white so your traumas are acceptable.”
I will share some information from Mr. Ringlestein’s article. Instead of having desks in rows, it is recommended to use round tables to encourage collaborative learning, which is better for the children.
COVID restrictions are more repressive than standardized testing. Kids can’t see each other’s facial expressions or learn critical verbal and social skills.
Mr. Ringelstein is an elementary school teacher and Ph.D student at Columbia University. As such, he is trained in trauma-informed education.
Instead of using “kids are resilient” as a justification for what we’re doing, we should be saying “masks and social distancing induce trauma and trauma at such a young age is developmentally dangerous, especially for kids that are already at risk.”
“Traumas are defined as events that result in or pose a threat to a person’s physical integrity and that cause intense reactions of fear, horror, or helplessness.” This definition comes from the American Psychiatric Association.
This is the kind of threat children perceive when they are told to distance themselves from other children and cover the part of their body with which they communicate, express their emotions, and feed themselves.
Forcing children to wear masks or distance themselves from peers not only signals that they are a threat to others and/or that others are a threat to them, but also takes away the most basic way children calm their nervous system. As Psychology Today reported, “Facial expressions of others help us to calm our nervous system, but if we don’t receive those signals, we might go into survival mode.”
Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome has illuminated that “stress and fear, in response to actual or possible threat, enhances the possibility of forming trauma-related memories.”
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, children without assurance of their personal security (e.g. social anxiety from masks and social distancing) are often incapable of making healthy social connections and may have difficulty building intimate relationships in their lives.
Neurological research demonstrates that kids who experience this kind of fear and trauma at a young age undergo structural and functional restructuring of their brain’s prefrontal cortex, resulting in emotional and cognitive processing problems.
But we must ask ourselves: Do the benefits of masks and social distancing truly outweigh the long-term psychological, physical, social, and academic harm we are inflicting on a whole generation of American schoolchildren?
If we care about equity and the most vulnerable members of our society, we at least can’t be afraid to ask. This article was published on Aug. 18 and was removed before Sept. 8 without explanation.
The author has published multiple times with Forbes since 2017 and his works are still featured on their site, leading me to believe that the choice to strike this article from their records without explanation was an attempt to bury the information.
WHEN studies are done on the traumas our children have suffered, who will we come for? The CDC, political leaders, and school boards.
There are people right now examining the personal liabilities of each board member by being complacent in these decisions. We will not let this slide.
My child will be missing no less than 26 days of school. If my math is correct, that will be $2,600 missing from the ledger on her behalf. This is notice that we intend to exercise our First Amendment right to peacefully protest selling our children’s mental health to provide the district with new frills and padded teacher salaries.
There’s a movement in Lebanon. The board saw it last month. It is only gaining ground and all board members are on notice that unless they start making decisions that defend our children, their seats will be given to persons that will.

Aspen Rogers

‘Fall’: Local poet celebrates season

 Cool, lively breeze,
Golden, filtered sun,
Vibrant shimmering pillars,
Rustle their leaves ‘til done.

Brown, yellow, red,
Sashay to the ground,
Their last colorful dance,
With nary a sound.

Warm days,
Frosty nights,
Apples to applesauce,
Pumpkins to jack-o-lanterns.

Melding of the seasons,
Colder days to come,
Winter’s doorway,
Waiting to be sprung.

A time to pause and reflect,
Savor the crisp, chilly air,
Remember the sunny summer fun,
Happily anticipate holiday cheer.

Doug Snell