Letter to the Editor: Walter Weidenbacher

Longtime borough resident offers his perspective on the ongoing debate which sprung from the HMHS junior class donation issue.

Dear Editor,  

Truth will out. 

Troubling as it was to read about impressionable youngsters of the Haddonfield Memorial High School junior class being guided, persuaded, cajoled, or bamboozled into donating money to an organization notorious and suspected nationally of misdeeds, it was heartening to read that two (only two?—what a sleepy town we are) residents, Chris Maynes and Jerelyn Ablonczy, screwed their courage to a sticking place and questioned aloud what has all the appearance of child exploitation. 

Their courage became apparent when those concerns were answered with a ripple of scorning letters, including inexcusable ad hominem attacks. 

Fact is, the community owes it to our children to be vigilant and raise questions whenever questionable ideas are being promoted in school; and to provide every kind of security for every kind of threat to their well-being, including indoctrination and manipulation. Fact is, it seems irresponsibly naive to believe the juniors came up with the idea on their own, especially in light of the plethora of published kudos the students enjoyed, lauding them for carrying out what appears to have been the will of their mentors. 

Our two responsible residents, for their watchfulness, were immediately pilloried by a truckload of specious arguments and civic unpleasantness appearing in the several letters to the editor that followed. One accusation of “victim blaming,” one writer ballyhooing that Haddonfield parents are “white privileged” since they don’t need to bedevil their children with how to deal with police “lest they be shot and killed.” Oh my. One pedant wannabe tried to make her argument by literally mis-defining the term “gaslight.” Others presented unsourced claims while scolding Mr. Maynes and Ms. Ablonczy for presenting unsourced claims; two letters cited the same statistics outlet (notably discredited for “uneven quality-control issues which can result in biased findings”). One letter actually solicited donations. My, how embarrassing. 

Also came the usual flurry of claims of “deep-seated systemic racism” in Haddonfield, unsourced, as usual, in a recurring quixotic quest to “combat racism” and “grapple with racism,” that “persistent plague of racism.” Mere allegations sans verifiable case reports are cause to wonder if racism—God-awful as it is—in Haddonfield is anything but a distortion of reality imposed on us by special-interest groups. 

I second Ms. Ablonczy’s suggestion for some kind of a town forum, where folk could engage in a candid conversation, to better understand whatever real problems we might have here, in truth. 

Walter Weidenbacher