News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor... 10/30/2019

To the Editor:

Attended the Sisters Science Club presentation about bees. Been looking forward to this talk since announced. Wanted to see what else we can do to help our bee population. Been growing our own food and freezing it all summer as well as many, many wildflowers and bird seed, feeders, etc.

Instead we were charged the usual $5 admission which we expected, but because we sat upstairs we did not get the 3D glasses required to see the pictures.

And we learned that “the only place in the U.S. that did not experience climate change was the White House...” and “That Republicans don’t eat!”

I did not know that bees were political!

I’m sorry, but I will not attend another science club lecture, I came to hear about bees, not political views of one person whose opinion is more important than facts.

Roger Engstrom


To the Editor:

Hello. I really, really think you need MORE letters printed to the editor from Mr. Mackey. Or, is it that you get so few letters to the editor you HAVE to print what you receive? I will go with No. 2.

Gary Pogue


To the Editor:

This is my second letter to your publication. I have rarely written to newspapers in my past, but I am very concerned about both the lack of transparency and the lack of support provided to children in the Sisters School District.

It is my understanding that the SSD completed an in-depth investigation about bullying, harassment, and abuse by coaching staff, and allegations were found to be true. To quote a portion of the investigation “...I do find that the coaches’ conduct meets the definition of harassment, intimidation or bullying set forth in the District Policy JFCF. Their actions interfered with the educational benefits, opportunities and performance and created a hostile educational environment... and psychological wellbeing” of five Sisters High School athletes.

It is my understanding that these coaches were not fired, and that at least one of them remains on the SSD payroll as a teacher and coach. I have so many questions about this decision and the related concerns, but of primary importance is the question of transparency with the parents of the children in the classroom of this teacher. How much of this information has been shared, and have the findings above been duly noted?

Most surprising to me is some information that I have learned recently.

Although I am not privy to all the information going into decision-making about the daily workings of Sisters High School, I do know that plans have been put in place for the safety of some students related to this issue, and that those plans require children to modify their behavior to avoid the adults who have been found guilty.

This continued messaging from the school and district shows that the girls are responsible for protecting themselves, and that the perpetrators do not have to change their behavior.

As an educator, I find this abhorrent.

All educators are to modify our behavior to keep children safe.

No exceptions, except in this district.

I have heard the argument that “the coaches didn’t bully or abuse every girl on the team.” That is not pertinent. There isn’t a threshold for how many people have to be hurt to count anyone as hurt. That, in a nutshell, is how bullies operate. They pick and choose. One would be enough; although in this case there are at list five victims. Some are seniors, who rely on their athletic abilities and participation as part of their college application process. The hurt is wide and deep, and has lasting effects that have yet to be addressed.

When asked to provide a follow up independent investigation, the SSD agreed, but then presented the parents with an agent of their own legal team, posing as an independent investigator. This information has been shared with parents and The Board, and clearly shows the lack of integrity and commitment to the truth held by the leaders of SSD and SHS.

I close my concerns with one prevalent request: Make your findings transparent, detailed and committed to the protection the children you are legally and ethically required to serve.

Elizabeth Burns

Editor’s note: The Nugget sought clarification from High Desert Education Service District attorney Melinda Thomas regarding the role and status of the independent investigator. Thomas’ response follows:

“As the District’s attorney, I engaged the services of attorney Danielle Lordi to investigate allegations made against District employees. Although her investigation is confidential due to the nature of the allegations, it is nevertheless independent. Ms. Lordi has planned her own investigation and will follow the facts wherever they lead, regardless of whom they may favor. She will report her findings back to me so that I can provide legal advice to my client.”


To the Editor:

My wife and I attended the community discussion last Thursday night at the Sisters Fire Hall. The topic open for discussion was “Where Does Free Speech Begin and Civility End.”

Although I found the entire conversation very informative and professionally assembled, it tended to be more of a civic lesson on the First Amendment, rather than addressing the advertised topic. The questions and comments presented by audience members were enlightening and noteworthy, but again lacked topic inclusion.

I was kind of looking for something more like; where do you draw the line between Free Speech and Speech? Was the couple that harassed Senator Rand Paul in a California restaurant last week practicing free speech? Unfortunately they have that right afforded them through the First Amendment. That same amendment also allows groups like Antifa and the KKK to exist under the protection of free speech. The current state of affairs, this lack of civility and hate-filled rhetoric, is not about free speech, it’s about opinion and your right to having

your own.

Republicans are hated because of the ignorance on the far left and their misunderstanding of democracy. Republicans will continue to be the recipients of this barrage of hatefulness as long as they stand idly by.

In all my years of voting, I have never seen such a lack of outward support for any political party as witnessed during the 2016 elections and midterms. People were and are still afraid of coming out in support of the Republican Party for fear of getting egged, or worse yet, shot.

STOP IT, quit hiding, let your neighbor know, through a civil conversation, where you stand. But most importantly vote in every election, do not give Congress back to the Democrats, vote Republican and be

proud of it!

I for one wish we had a better choice for President, but, let’s see what happens!

Terry Coultas


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