Hugh M. Spoljaric, President
We’re all working hard with students every day on matters that transcend the myopic importance of standardized tests. We try to instill in students a sense of citizenship and the responsibilities that come with being a citizen of the community. Many of us have incorporated character education into our daily presentations, teaching inductively from the general lessons to the specific virtue. Yet, character has to be learned and internalized and this is where teachers, as role models, play an important role.
As divided as our country has become by a leadership and a media that continually divide people into labeled camps, we all should be able to recognize when someone ‘just does the right thing’.
And, maybe due to propaganda or allegiance or loyalty or blind devotions, people all seem to not want to believe that their beliefs have been betrayed. People stand by their positions long past the time that reality has left no doubts. The learning curve is slow and inversely related to the ignorance of their convictions. Although it occurs on a regular basis, it is exemplified when it involves those in positions of control and responsibility.
On March 16, 1968, an American army helicopter pilot, Hugh Thompson, flying with a bubble-shaped windshield and attempting to draw enemy fire in support of larger choppers flying above him, saw piles of Vietnamese bodies. These appeared to be the wounded civilians that they earlier marked for medical aid. Irrigation ditches piled with bodies and American soldiers lining up more women and children and old men to shoot.
Thompson and his
two crewmates landed their helicopter down near the irrigation ditch. Thompson,
with only an undrawn side arm, told Lieut. William Calley
that they were going to help the injured and if Calley
ordered the execution of any more civilians, he would order his crew to fire on
them. The massacre at
execution of 500 unarmed Vietnamese civilians by
courts-martial, was convicted, and sentenced. President Nixon would eventually
pardon him. Thompson was shunned by other soldiers and lived quietly until 1989
when his story was told to a new generation.
In 1998, with some reluctance, the Pentagon awarded Thompson and his one
surviving crew member the Soldier’s Medal at the
Hugh Thompson died of cancer last week at the age of 62.
The term hero is used much these days, but Hugh Thompson was not only an American hero, but also a hero for humanity. Yet, his actions shook the core values of Americans such that they perversely chose evil over good. Americans wanted to believe in their government, thinking that support for their government and their country were one and the same. Personal convictions fueled by government propaganda pervaded the truth. Yet, Thompson did what we try to teach students to do; to respect rules and the law and to stand up for what’s right. The same could not be said of our leaders who used their positions to create good and evil. Over time, we know that truth triumphs, but it’s a struggle to overcome public opinion. Once people rid themselves of imposed or self-imposed labels, to reject dictated media, and to think independently, they can accept the truth. Unlike political creations, Hugh Thompson taught me through his actions that selfless good was a virtue. He was a hero for humanity for he ‘just did the right thing’.
And, that’s the Bottom Line.
125 FLEX PLAN
Ryan Insurance of the Valley Group has been selected by the district to administer the 125 Flexible Spending Account as per the teachers’ collective bargaining agreement. The vendor has been visiting schools to explain the plan that will begin on February 1, 2006 and will end on June 30, 2006. The next years plan will begin on July 1 and all account will be based on the school calendar year.
The 125 plan allows members to select a specific amount of pre-tax dollars to set aside in an account from which withdrawals may be made for certain health care and dependent child care expenses. The earmarked money must be spent or it will be forfeited back to the district.
Some potentially eligible health care services may require a letter of medical necessity while other over the counter expenses do not need a statement. Childcare is for a dependent under the age of 13 or incapable of self care and it’s necessary for you (and your spouse) to work, look for work, or to attend school. For specifics, please check with the vendor.
For this half year, the maximum allocation will be $1500. Enrollment must be completed by January 31. The next enrollment, for 2006-07, will be in June and Debit Cards should be available.
The Trustees of
Here are the two charts targeting the top 20 medications for each of the years.
Net RX 2002 Net RX 2005
118 Fosamax 317 Lipitor20mg
46 Prilosec 423 Fosamax
74 Vioxx 139 Plavix
62 Nexium 164 Zetia
56 Celebrex 115 Lipitor40mg
42 Prevacid 128 Singulair
40 Lipitor 40mg 7 Enbrel
57 Celexa 177 Actonel
53 Zoloft 291 Ambien
2 Procrit 128 Protonix
41 Paxil 250 Zyrtec
1 Remicade 10 Lovenox
2 Valyte 81 Advair Diskus250
34 Claritin 99 Tricor
47 Zyrtec 106 Advair Diskus100
1,064- Copay: ($11,804) 3,674- Copay:($81,340)
Total Paid: $124,093. Total Paid: $698,859.
Are you one of the 182 teachers eligible for the Retirement Incentive this year? If so, your binding letter of intent to retire at the end of the 2005-06 school year is due to the Superintendent by January 31, 2006. The foregoing information is all that is needed in the letter.
Vote/Cope Chair Don Sweeney reports that the
retirees announce that they will sponsor not one, but two (2) scholarships for
graduating seniors this year. They have available a Senior Discount List for
businesses in the
The next luncheon
for the KRTF will be for St. Patrick’s Day on the Ides of March, the 15th,
The Educational Support Professionals, representing Teaching Assistants, monitors, and secretaries in the Kingston Schools is still without a contract 19 months after the end of the previous agreement. The mediator has asked the two sides to work out common issues and he will return at a yet to be defined time.
The Civil Service employees and the members of the administrative unit (ASPA) are also without a new agreement.