I disagree with any parents who feel that Gorham Middle School is discriminating against our religious beliefs. I applaud Superintendent Heather Perry for her public decision to move slowly and carefully regarding their suggestions to begin censorship or employee purges in the town’s schools. Those tactics might work in Russia or China, but I don’t want to even see them mentioned in the U.S.; we can observe all too clearly right now the expense and lives lost around the globe by following a Soviet model.

As a more pluralistic citizen of Gorham, I personally found GMS’ recent hosting of a “Daddy-Daughter Dance” to be just as offensive and counterproductive amid concern about the same general debate of appropriate/positive socialization during puberty. I don’t feel that events with such clear roots in the millennialist evangelical movement have a place in our public schools, even as a passive paid venue.

I suppose if Superintendent Perry and her staff are making decisions that separately rile both evangelicals and secularists, there might be a larger middle ground than those of us closer to the fringes perceive. I noticed a similar sense of compromise when a wide cross-section of voters spoke out against the ambitiously large proposed increase in the school budget this spring. Instead of purging departments or censoring information, Perry was simply able to sharpen her pencil and draft a more effective and popular second effort.

I’m glad our schools can be open and proud in their efforts to find the middle majority and not the extremes. As a taxpayer, I’m relieved they are led by a nationally recognized staffer with a track record of consensus instead of partisanship, and I see no need for draconian personnel/curriculum changes based solely on the demands of a specific religious sect.

Josh Gatlin