Letters to the editor — Nov. 18, 2020

Reinstate our administrators

I recently retired after 38 years working as a teacher/administrator in three school districts. I’ve worked with numerous dedicated, talented, caring and compassionate educators. At the top of this list are superintendent Dr. Rob Clark and Sequim High School principal Shawn Langston.

These two leaders are deeply respected and appreciated and deserve to be reinstated to their positions immediately.

Dr. Clark arrived in Sequim when our district was experiencing tumultuous times. Under his guidance and leadership, he re-established trust, faith and belief in the superintendent position, developing positive, productive relationships with staff members. By dedicating time and effort to understand challenges facing our district combined with inspiring personal characteristics, he is the leader this district needs in these challenging circumstances.

Shawn Langston is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. I worked as his assistant principal for 14 years at SHS. As an example of his commitment to students and staff at SHS: At the beginning of each school year, with passion and energy, Shawn leads the Link Crew team in welcoming incoming ninth-grade students to SHS, and on the first Friday home football game he cooks hamburgers for them and anyone who wants one. This demonstration of kindness, dedication and work ethic is contagious with the SHS staff.

Superintendent Clark and principal Langston’s talents, skills and knowledge they provide to the Sequim School District is extremely valuable and deeply missed. I encourage the school board to resolve this situation immediately. The district and SHS need their leaders.

Mark Willis


Board should reinstate SHS principal

It has come to our attention, clear in Idaho, that Shawn Langston is being treated unfairly. Something that should have been resolved in an afternoon is dragging on and on.

It’s time to reinstate Shawn to the job that he loves and puts his heart and soul into! I have never met a man or family that had more admirable qualities than the Langstons!

I have also never had a better school principal for my children, ever!

Come on Sequim School Board, put Shawn back where he belongs! You are dragging this out and not standing behind the man who is so deserving of your support!

Sandy Briggs

Island Park, Idaho

Credible voting is key

We need clean and honest voting! It’s time to fight for our democracy!

Karen Whiteside


Disappointed in Sequim School District

It has come to my attention that Sequim School District has grossly mishandled a situation at the high school concerning the principal, Shawn Langston. It is concerning to me that the district would treat Mr. Langston so poorly after all of his years of service in the district as a leader and mentor to students.

As an educator myself, it also brings me great concern that the staff and students are going without a principal in the midst of a global pandemic. This is uncharted territory, and the school needs a leader like Mr. Langston at this time. Teachers should not have to navigate these times alone.

I would only hope that the district gets their act together and does all they can to rectify this situation.

Andrea Tjemsland

San Antonio, Texas

School investigation needs to be resolved

As a former Sequim School District student, I am disturbed by the mishandling of the complaint against Sequim High School principal Shawn Langston by the Sequim School District.

Their lack of a timely response and poor communication with the community about the issue has resulted in damaging the reputation of an educator and leader of our community for almost two decades.

I attended Sequim High School from 2005 -009 and worked directly with Mr. Langston as a Link Leader. He has always been a strong leader for his staff and students, and during my time at school he became a mentor. His goal at Sequim High School has always been to provide every student the chance to succeed by instituting the Link Leader program, the U-Turn Award, and the Kids at Hope program.

This perspective has shaped my own views and continues to inspire me in my day-to-day life. We need more school administrators like Mr. Langston, especially during this pandemic.

I urge the school board to resolve this situation. They need to take action to ensure Mr. Langston is treated fairly and bring our school administrators back to school.

Amanda Tjemsland


Don masks, good attitudes in battling COVID-19

For most people in our county, wearing masks into stores shows a desire to protect others from COVID-19. A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study indicates wearing a mask also helps to protect oneself, thus one’s family.

In our local stores, non-complying customers show a disregard for the well-being of other people. These rebellious people see mask wearing as part of a political ideology, with cynical disinformation widely spread by such online groups like ReOpenWA, rather than a real national and worldwide pandemic which they can help to end.

Some angry shoppers are actually verbally abusing, intimidating and threatening local store managers and employees if asked to wear a mask, even when given one for free.

This behavior must stop. We must stand up for our working people who provide us services, and whose stores, from local to big box, are trying their best to provide employment during hard times.

The University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation recently predicted COVID-19 deaths to reach more than 438,000 by March in our country if infections persist at current rates. This body helped guide Gov. Inslee’s leadership in the spring and summer to stem our state’s spread of COVID-19. Researchers say the virus is expected to worsen with colder weather.

We each now must responsibly participate together in a national endeavor to end this deadly, easily-spread coronavirus. Keeping our stores safe havens to work and shop is an important effort in which we all are able to contribute.

Gayle Brauner

Port Angeles

Voters in charge of term management

In regard to the letter urging term limits (Peninsula Daily News, Nov. 15, page A-10): The constitution limits members of the legislative branch to one term. There is no limit to the number of times they can be re-elected. The president is limited to two terms and cannot be re-elected after that. Senators serve six-year terms and representatives serve two-year terms; neither have any limit on the number of terms they serve as long as we choose to re-elect them.

The constitution is not the problem — we are.

True, incumbents have significant advantages when running for re-election: name recognition, taxpayer paid “newsletters” citing their efforts on our behalf, paid travel, etc. If they have been loyal to their party’s interests, they can enjoy the party’s political and financial support. Challengers have an uphill battle.

Despite all of this, the real problem is us. Our constitution provides term limits and gives us power to vote for whomever we choose. More often than not we choose the incumbent. Parties rarely run a candidate to oppose one of their own, limiting the choices we have, and many of us vote “party line.”

An electorate that takes an interest in government and educates itself on the issues is willing to judge performance without party blinders, requires politicians to earn re-election and is willing to vote for the best candidate presented, can go a long way toward making our system perform as it was designed if we have the will to make it happen.

Thomas F. Coonelly, Jr.


Respect the parking spot regulation

I was in front of a local store recently when two big pickup trucks, the kind you need a ladder to get over the monster tires, pull up into two handicapped spaces, and two healthy young men jump out and go into the store.

Repeatedly I see cars with no designation, no handicap license plates or placards, parked in these reserved spaces. Two mid-40 ladies, when confronted, told me, “Oh, we’ll only be five minutes,” as they went into a nail salon.

What is the matter in Sequim? Can’t you people read? Or do you think the laws apply to everyone but you?

The fine is $250.

The police need to take names and write tickets.

Ellida Lathrop


Editor’s note: A change in state law has, as of Nov. 1, added an additional $200 fee for illegally parking in a disability space or for any unauthorized person to obtain an identifying license plate, placard or identification card in any manner not established by law. — MD

Pandemic perspective

As one grows older, one notices that certain tragic events seem to recur periodically. Happily, with the knowledge bequeathed by age and experience, one can keep these incidents in perspective no matter how dire they seem to be at the time.

For instance, I remember the Asian Flu of 1958, which killed some 116,000 Americans and which, at the time, was about .07 percent of our population (definitely serious, but certainly not the end of the world; life went on and we did not cower).

Not to forget the Hong Kong Flu of 1968, which killed some 100,000 Americans and which, then, was about 0.05 percent of the population. Again, significant but life continued and we did not cower.

Today, the big killer is the coronavirus, which is constantly in the news and, indeed, should be taken seriously. But, hereby invoking my well-deserved age-related perspective, I wonder just how serious is it? And should we, as a nation, cower before it.

Because it would appear that, in 2020, some 243,000 deaths are attributed to COVID-19 but, given our present population of 331 million people, that would be .07 percent of our population and in keeping with those deaths attributed to these other “gifts from Asia.”

Moreover, it appears to target mostly those with age-related and/other co-morbidities. So, is it necessary to cower this time?

We have never been a nation of “cowerers” — or is that “cowards”? — and I don’t think we are now.

Or, at least, we shouldn’t be …

Dick Pilling

Port Angeles

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