I’m writing in response to your June 7 front-page article and photo regarding Zama American High School in Japan (“Zama’s grade: F”). While I agree that the situation is newsworthy, I have to question your decision to place the picture with the big F on the front page.

This thoughtless front-page photo treatment is hurtful to not only the dedicated, hardworking teachers at that school, but even worse, to the students who attend Zama American. How sad for those seniors to wake up on graduation day with that image in their faces as well as in the faces of Stars and Stripes readers all over the world. If what you hope to accomplish is to report a perceived crisis, why must you punish innocent students in the process?

As your article reported, the administration has been changed and the current Department of Defense Education Activity director, Marilee Fitzgerald, is in Zama as I type this letter, letting parents and community members know that this situation is being taken very seriously and will be resolved. Wouldn’t a more appropriate label for your front-page story be: “DODEA director reaches out to help troubled school”?

So to be fair and to help you balance your reporting, I’m sending you a picture of my school, Amelia Earhart Intermediate School on Okinawa, which earlier this year received an A+ rating from the AdvancED accreditation team. Our school received four Highly Functional ratings, which was the most of any DODEA school in the Pacific region. Now that’s certainly worthy of a front-page story and enlarged picture, wouldn’t you say?

Connie Thompson

Third grade teacher

Amelia Earhart Intermediate School


Why talk about Stuxnet?

How do I know there are no UFOs and aliens from Roswell, N.M., secretly stored at Area 51? Because if there were, some government administrator would have leaked it to the press by now.

Sometimes deep, dark secrets should remain just that. I can’t believe someone would tell The New York Times the U.S. was behind Stuxnet for whatever reason or advantage (“Officials: US, Israel developed Stuxnet,” article, June 2). Have we become that disposable a society where we can afford to start and legitimize a worldwide cyber war for alleged political gain? This is incredible to me.

Everything we do openly and clandestinely (once revealed) is fair game for our adversaries. How do we cry foul or consider it an act of war when the tables are turned? The answer is we can’t.

Plausible deniability is in the interest of our national security. As uber-cool as the Stuxnet virus was in its sophistication, the revelation that the U.S. was behind it is unfathomable. This has established a very bad precedent.

Master Sgt. Gary Jones (retired)

U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, South Korea

Program offers valuable skills

Our program was cited in the June 30 posting “Cost, limits of military spouse education questioned” about Sen. Tom Harkin’s report on the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program. As president of Animal Behavior College (ABC), I feel compelled to both clarify information about our school and support Harkin’s concerns.

I applaud his committee’s efforts at demanding more stringent requirements for for-profit schools and wholeheartedly believe that the solution lies in stricter oversight of this very worthwhile program.

ABC provides bona fide pet industry courses that lead to careers in a $50 billion-a-year business. Our programs teach people to become veterinary assistants, dog trainers and pet groomers, which afford graduates a chance to make a living in these fields.

Our understanding is that the goal of MyCAA is to help spouses build marketable skills that can be used wherever they live. Considering the burgeoning numbers of servicemembers returning from active duty, vocational programs such as those offered by ABC are going to prove invaluable to the future economic success and well-being of military families.

Steven Appelbaum


Animal Behavior College

Santa Clarita, Calif.

Stripes in 7

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