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Letters to the Editor

An Urgent Request

We are writing in regard to your September coverage of the city’s proposed East Area Plan that would potentially triple the density for several blocks north and south of Colfax. In addition, the proposed Bus Rapid Transit project would permanently reduce car traffic along Colfax to one lane in each direction.

Thank you for being concerned about the changes that the city of Denver and RTD want to do in our neighborhood. We don’t think the people that live here realize what this can do to hurt Park Hill and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Park Hill is the most beautiful neighborhood in the city. Please put out an urgent request for the people to stop this by contacting their city council member. Everyone needs to be very concerned with the additional people that will be put in our neighborhoods, and the traffic. This will affect all the streets in Park Hill and Montclair.

Kris and Gary Jackson, Denver

Note: Read the original story at greaterparkhill.org/2019/09/not-so-fast/. An update on the plan will appear in next month’s issue.

Values Clash At East High

As my three kids and I returned from the mountains Labor Day weekend, my daughter announced that she needed to work on a homework assignment. She’s 15, and a sophomore at East High School. The assignment was for her theater class.

According to her, she’d been told to listen to the performances of a few stand-up comics, and choose three minutes of a performance to parrot back to the class. She said that beyond that, there was very little direction from the teacher about where to find material.

About 45 minutes into the drive, I began to think about my daughter’s theater assignment. I looked over at her as she quietly absorbed whatever passed from her iPhone, through her ear buds, and into her head. It had taken awhile, but I’d finally processed what she was likely listening to.

“Pull your earbuds out so I can hear what you’re listening to,” I said. She complied, and within a minute and a half, I was hearing a raunchy shtick comprised of what can only be described as penis jokes.

My daughter looked horrified as she anticipated my response. “You can shut that down right now,” I said.

I called the school the next day, and with some effort, finally had a face-to-face conversation with one of the assistant principals. He said something to the effect of, “We have an obligation to teach in a way that satisfies a wide range of views and values.” He then suggested that I speak with the teacher directly.

Since then, I’ve spoken with the teacher, then the principal (with the teacher in attendance), then a person on staff with the school board, then the principal again, and then the person on the school board staff again.

Through these conversations it became clear that the principal is not open to either discontinuing use of this particular assignment, or modifying it significantly. The only thing I heard, through all these conversations, that justified this position, was the principal telling me that his own daughter would likely soon be in this class, doing this same assignment.

Now I’m not so naïve as to believe that this was the first time that my daughter had heard something inappropriate, for her age, on YouTube. My position is simply that I don’t want my kid’s school to shove her in that direction.

The principal indicated that he has rules to handle pornography and dress that’s deemed inappropriate. So why should they not do a better job filtering out this sort of material from being utilized within the classroom? Even Comedy Works refuses admission to people under 21 years of age, for many shows. The content is exactly the same, the only difference is that it’s live at Comedy Works. Sheesh.

Yes, it’s true that the teacher didn’t specifically tell them to listen to material that’s intended for adults. But come on; we know that that’s one of the first places they’d logically go given this assignment.

I understand that there are plenty of parents that are okay with this content in the classroom. I also believe that many are not.

Back to the perspective that schools have an obligation to teach in a way that respects all values and views, I’m not seeing that at East High School in regards to this issue.

Bill Sudmeier, Park Hill

Editor’s note: When contacted, East High Principal John Youngquist said he did not have an interest in submitting a written response to this letter.

We love your letters, and give preference to those that address an issue that has been covered in the newspaper, or a topic that is Park Hill or Denver-specific. Send letters to editor@greaterparkhill.org, and include your full name, and the neighborhood in which you live. Deadlines are the 15th of each month, for the following month’s issue.


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