2015-12-31 / Opinion


Real Action Needed at St. George's

To the Editor:

Let me open this open letter by commending St. George's Headmaster Eric Peterson for being an effective and well-liked headmaster at one of the premier boarding schools in the country. Talent and popularity, however, no matter how great, is not a shield from accountability for violations of trust and lack of integrity in his handling of repeated and recent efforts by students to seek redress for sexual abuse that occurred while attending St. George's School prior to the lawsuit brought by Anne Scott, '79.

In light of what has emerged over the past days since the publishing of The Boston Globe story and what I have learned from my former classmates and St. George's alumnae who have bravely posted online, I feel compelled to write to him. This whole affair, obscene as it is tragic, demands real action and not carefully parsed and manicured language that reads as if it was written by the slickest of 5th Avenue PR men. That action should begin with him as the head of school.

First, I believe that it's incumbent on him to strip the Tony Zane plaque off the girls dorm where it was mounted. This should be done immediately to demonstrate that he is serious about addressing the gross wrongs and harm the school has inflicted on the victims of sexual molestation and abuse.

Second, concede to the demands of the three victims who have put their name to the current petition circulating on the web, which has accrued over 500 signatures.

Third, commission an independent firm to produce a national conference on sexual abuse, hosted at the school in the summer of 2016.

Finally, in light of Peterson's mishandling of more recent cases of sexual abuse at the school, his attempts at redress, and hiring a lawyer with clear conflict of interest, he should submit his resignation. It's time for the school to clean house and he should show the courage to begin that process by removing himself. If he feels that fault lies with the board of trustees, and that case can be clearly made, then let the housecleaning begin there.

Only with prompt, serious, and no-nonsense direct action beginning with Peterson can the way be made clear to justice and accountability. We are counting on him to be accountable, to the victims of abuse at St. George's, to himself, to the mission of the school and its community, and to future victims of sexual abuse who will be saved or protected by aggressive and forthright action now.

Kyle F. Hence

ALN Seeks Support

To the Editor:

The new year holds much promise for Newport: the anticipated arrival of a new city manager; multi-year contracts now in place for police, fire, school and city employees; a Triple A bond rating; the completion of the Broadway streetscape; exciting plans for the North End Resilience Hub, Open Space, Gateway Center, and Health Equity Zone; and the completion of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the first in 10 years. Elections in the fall will determine the make-up of our local, state and federal representatives.

The past year proved challenging and often controversial – but like the brutal winter, we survived, planting seeds (and daffodils) for a bright future.

With 2015 now a memory, the Alliance for a Livable Newport would like to thank our ALN constituency (members, Newport neighborhood associations and the Newport County Chamber of Commerce),

Newport’s state representatives, city council, commissions and boards and school and city employees who labored tirelessly throughout the year to improve the quality of life in our fair city, helping set the stage for a promising 2016.

The Alliance for a Livable Newport will continue its mission of bringing issues of critical importance to Newport’s citizenry through our many public forums, website and social media platforms. We ask that you join in and support our efforts by becoming an ALN member. Newport is our city. Your involvement determines our future.

Here's to the bright new year and a fond farewell to the old; Here's to the things that are yet to come and to the memories that we hold. ~ Unknown.

Isabel Griffith, Ron Becker,
John Hirschboeck
ALN co-presidents

Stop the Insanity

To the Editor:

Are Rhode Islanders insane? According to the pop definition of insanity– doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome–we are. We can help break the insanity cycle by voting for a Republican for a change, John Pagliarini, in the special election for Rhode Island Senate District 11 on Jan. 5.

One political party has dominated Rhode Island’s legislature for more than half a century. Our unemployment is chronically among the worst in the nation, as are our taxes. We rank as one of the least business friendly states in the union. Our cost per school student is among the highest, while student performance is below average. I suggest 50-plus years of oneparty rule hasn’t put us in a good place. It seems to encourage corruption and complacency and stifle new ideas for solving the state’s problems. Yet we insanely keep electing one party to the legislature in overwhelming numbers, making us the most one-party state in the nation. Of the 38 members of the Rhode Island Senate, less than half a dozen are Republicans.

How about breaking the insanity cycle by voting for John Pagliarini, an outsider with a strong record of achievement who is not part of the supermajority old-boy Smith Hill clique, with its back-room deals that favor politicians, not the people. Nearly everyone seems to think diversity is a good thing. It seems to me more political diversity in our legislature would be a good thing for Rhode Islanders.

The planks in John Pagliarini’s platform look to be good for the people of Rhode Island. He is against tolls, for abolishing the Bridge & Turnpike Authority, opposed to RhodeMap RI that threatens local control, in favor of exempting military pensions from state income tax, a believer in more state aid for capital improvements in District 11 schools, not in favor of bringing in large numbers of Middle Eastern refugees, and serious about solving the critical economic issues that could turn the state around by not wasting the legislature’s time and taxpayer money on less-important matters.

A vote for John Pagliarini is a vote for solutions, for honest government— and for sanity.

Bill Welch

Event Huge Success

To the Editor:

On behalf of Christmas in Newport, thank you for the wonderful coverage of the 45th annual Christmas in Newport Historic House Tour. To have front page exposure and publicity prior to the event was a major factor to a highly successful tour. Almost 1,800 people came through the five houses during the two days. Many indicated that they had read the article in Newport This Week and this compelled them to come out and see for themselves the interesting homes on tour.

Your support of all Christmas in Newport's programs through the years has been a major contributor to our success. As we move on to 2016 and our 46th season, we thank you for your involvement and continued support in what we do.

Kathy MacKnight
Christmas in Newport president

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