Academy adds choice

The May 22 column by Paul Hansen is the latest in a series of local public outcries regarding the state level legislation enabling the necessary zoning approvals for the new Jackson Hole Classical Academy.

In my view, the essence of the Classical Academy, in classic American fashion, is to provide parents who so choose an educational choice other than that provided by the public schools, as truly fine as that choice is in Teton County. That is a precedent set long ago by Teton Science Schools and, subsequently, by others.

Moreover, that choice, unlike in jurisdictions with charter school programs, is offered without draining per-pupil funding from public coffers, arguably impacting the quality of local public schools. Thus, because of the more level playing field provided by newly enacted state legislation, parents are now provided with an even broader array of educational options to choose from.

While the local reaction to the new legislation has usually focused on its principal sponsoring family, all parents who might have an interest in a Classical Academy education have benefitted.

On this point, others may differ. We recognize and respect their right to do so.

David Walsh


Time to SHIFT

I am here to support the womxn and nonbinary POC (People of Color) I had the privilege of meeting at SHIFT 2018 in the Emerging Leaders Program. I am a witness to the violent, traumatizing events they experienced and are still living through.

The May 8 Guest Shot, “Offering support for Beckwith, SHIFT” states: “Inflammatory and badly damaging allegations have been made with no concrete examples to support the claim.” I don’t believe the individuals who signed that letter have taken time to read the experiences of womxn of color published on the Medium website.

The letter does not accurately or adequately acknowledge the concerns of 17 individuals who signed a letter seeking Beckwith’s resignation. It also misses the issue in question — How capable is a white person to preside over a conference that “explore(s) issues at the intersection of outdoor recreation, conservation, public health and cultural relevance?”

The core concern is not a question of Beckwith’s character, who I’m certain is fundamentally caring, apologetic and dedicated to moving forward with intentions of improving himself and SHIFT. There’s no doubt that he has led considerable accomplishments in Jackson’s conservation and outdoor recreation community. However, he acknowledges that he “does not have the training to work in the DEI (Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion) space” and is “trying to work himself out of a job.”

It sounds like he has used his white, male privilege to create a conference that he no longer has the knowledge to preside over. That’s a symbol of growth that the outdoor industry needs and a victory. The next natural step is obvious. It’s not bearing down and insisting on guardianship and patriarchy but gracefully stepping aside.

Instead, it’s unsettling to see those we need the most leaving SHIFT. After this conference there are no womxn, genderqueer or trans POC on the SHIFT board.

Stepping down would benefit Beckwith’s career in a true act of allyship, while accomplishing what he set out to do, “work himself out of a job.” If this cannot happen because of politics or economics, this needs to be explained publicly.

I want to acknowledge this letter’s understanding of racism, as a white person and former Jackson resident. While benefiting from white privilege, to confront and see whiteness one has to understand that it’s like a gas, ever present, not immediately visible and adaptive to any environment to stay in power. Challenging legacies of white privilege, especially among those who consider themselves not racist, erupts in defensiveness, withdrawal, deflation and seeking absolution, which then allows these problems to persist.

A white person needs to take time to prioritize others and have empathy to absorb experiences of hate, bigotry and colonialism to actually work within intersectionality. It will take listening, learning, scrutinizing your speech, thought and patterning. This learning should not rely on the emotional labor of others, which is what occurred at SHIFT.

Even though most biases are unconscious they still exist. Though actions at SHIFT were not intentional, they were still acts of racism.

This resignation request was not conducted in malice, which the letter of support seems to convey. Quite the opposite, it seeks to protect our outdoor spaces and communities.

Jayme Dittmar

Fairbanks, Alaska

Is that not enough?

The May 22 article, “Abortion bans spur Town Square protest” begins with a message on a sign: “Abortion is health care.” The difficulty remains in that abortion itself provides alleged “health care” for only the mother and not her baby. Shouldn’t health care be available to both?

The article goes on to report that the protesters were yelled at, for which I am sorry. The First Amendment (U.S. Constitution) states: “Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Every person should be treated with respect. Every person has dignity, value and worth.

The article reports a protester saying, “We need to stand up and say ‘Enough.’”

Since 1973 there have been 61 million reported abortions, according to abortion data collection sites. Is that not enough?

This article mentions health care laws. These laws are “aimed to increase legal regulations for abortion.” Legal regulations are enacted because abortion is a “medical procedure”; ends the life of the unborn, often pitilessly and cruelly; is invasive; has caused physical, mental and emotional suffering and harm to some women; providers need accountability.

Documentation of any medical procedure is common and legally required. I agree that documentation is often burdensome and does not protect privacy well, but abortion procedures are not exclusive in having documentation requirements. Nor is it exclusive for disciplinary action for noncompliance. As for Roe v. Wade, people are beginning to question abortion as they are more accurately informed as to what the procedures really are.

One protester says that abortion “should be decided by a pregnant woman and her health care provider.” This excludes the rights of the unborn to have any voice and certainly denies him or her any access to health care. The article finishes with this statement: “it’s part of reproductive health care ... It shouldn’t be thought of in any other way.”

Abortion should be thought about very carefully in every way.

Gail Uptain, BSN RN


Letters to the editor should be limited to 400 words, be signed and include a town of residence and a telephone number for verification. Letters are due by 5 p.m. Monday. No thank yous or political endorsement letters. Guest Shot columns are limited to 800 words. Email

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