AHS does have hazing history

AHS does have hazing history

Regarding the front-page story about the hazing and sexual assault involving members of the Ashland High School football team, I would like to say two things. First, I applaud Principal Zundel and the Ashland Police Department for handling this as the serious criminal matter it is. It is a genuinely refreshing change of attitude to witness.

However, secondly, the statement that the school did not have a history of hazing or sexual assault is false. How do I know? I was a student at Ashland High School from 1998-2001 and was both a victim and witness to this behavior, which was shockingly widespread.

I was not a silent sufferer; I told my parents, school administrators teachers, and even at my most desperate — when I feared for my life — the police. Nothing was done. When shockingly obscene, slanderous words were spray-painted on three different sites on campus, I was called down to the principal's office and asked "how are we supposed to pay to clean this up?" simply because my name was in it. As if I had been the one to do it.

I hope that this action truly indicates a change in direction. I would hate to see any student go through the daily hell I was subjected to and watched so many others be subjected to.

As far as sexual assault, ask any student (except perhaps the participants) who went to AHS in 1998 who the "98 Hards" were and what these senior boys (often men) did to freshman girls, and how they kept "score."

Jamila Elliot


Review PERS gun investments

My question is to all public employees and retired public employees who have spent most of their working years nurturing and protecting children in one way or another. Do we want a substantial amount of our investments used by the gun industry to provide mentally unstable persons and murderers with weapons that can lead to individual and mass killings in our communities?

It is time to have the Oregon Investment Council review our investments and remove those gun manufacturers such as the Freedom Group, maker of the .223 Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle used in the killing of 26 children and adults in Newtown, Conn. MidOcean Partners controls Bushnell Outdoor Products, which brings to the public accessories in the gun field: laser scope-equipped semiautomatic handguns, loaders for the AK-47, 10- and 20-round clips "that can be loaded in the blink of an eye," etc. Others in the gun market need to be investigated.

Our responsibility as investors is to direct those in charge of our investments to place our money with reputable companies that safeguard both the individual and community. There could be an initial cost to this directive, but it is well worth it to join other public agencies in withdrawing support to gun manufacturers who have failed to place public safety above profit.

If this is of concern to you, consider contacting the state treasurer's office at Oregon.Treasurer@state.or.us in making this change possible.

Ramona DeVaul


Thanks to Cow Creeks for grant

Southern Oregon Mind-body Outreach Project, a program of Yoga Blue, Inc. would like to express its deep appreciation to the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation for their grant award to our program. Their support will allow us to continue to provide weekly coping, stress-reduction and behavior modification skills to the teens at Community Works' Lithia Springs Residential Treatment Program in Ashland. We are also deeply moved to learn about the broad range of needs of children and families upon which the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation's mission focuses.

In addition to the support of our program, 57 grants were awarded to cover after-school programs, support literacy efforts, provide access to health care, support community gardens, stock food pantries and much more.

Laura Winslow, project director