Salt Lake Olympics aids healing process

February 16, 2002 12:00 am

Tribune de Geneve, Switzerland:

As the cameras focus on Salt Lake City, no one can forget the tragic events of Sept. 11. Five months ago America was wounded. Its beliefs shaken. President Bush declared war on terrorism. The Olympics were in doubt. Was it right to send 2,500 athletes to Salt Lake City? To a country in conflict? With the fear of another attack?

Utah showed the way. It was a cry from the heart of an injured nation. The message was clear: the United States needs these games. To reassure. To heal the wounds. The Olympic ideal was taken hostage and was transformed into an expression of international solidarity. A first step toward victory against evil.

Today the inhabitants of Salt Lake City are thanking the whole world for daring to come. Welcome to the World, read the signs in front of the hotels and restaurants. But the organizing committee has used the occasion to render homage to the victims of Sept. 11 ... with a strong symbol: the arrival in the Rice-Eccles Stadium of the Ground Zero flag, carried by eight U.S. athletes and three New York police officers.

Is this takeover of the Olympics for purely patriotic ends justified? The answer depends on individual feelings. ... The Olympic movement doesnt want to see its games turned into a cradle of propaganda even subconscious. Or that the games become a rallying point in the U.S. crusade against terror.

World journalists deride Utah

The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville:

Mormons apparently are exempt from the medias politically correct concern about sensitivity toward religious minorities.

Reporters from across the globe are in Utah to cover the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, and some make no attempt to disguise their ... contempt for Mormons, who make up 70 percent of the states population.

Utah has been described as the strangest state in America, a theocracy and holier-than-thou Hicksville.

The (Washington) Times speculates that some of the ill will springs from what it calls the dissatisfaction of the hard-drinking press with a state law banning the sale of drinks with an alcohol content exceeding 3.2 percent.

If Utah were a predominantly Islamic state, would the media be as adversarial? Probably not, judging from their news reports from elsewhere in the world.

Board fails to back teacher

Bowling Green, Ky., Daily News:

Its a cheaters market.

Rural Kansas biology teacher Christine Pelton discovered this after her decision to fail 28 sophomores for plagiarizing semester projects. You would think the school board would have backed up this teacher, who understands that cheating hurts honest students who have to compete as well to get into better colleges.

Not so.

In a move sure to help spread the dishonesty epidemic, the board ordered Pelton to go easier on guilty students. This, even after her principal and superintendent supported her decision to give the students a zero for the assignment.

What happened? Parents complained. The board caved.

She resigned. It should have been the board members. ...

By refusing to back this teacher even in the face of frustrated parents, whose anger certainly should have been directed toward the dishonest actions of their offspring this school board illustrated, in living Kansas color, a sharp decline in integrity.

... Perhaps most disturbing about Bellamys story was the response from McCabe, who has researched academic dishonesty in high schools and colleges. McCabe said the Kansas episode demonstrates why many teachers ignore cheating because they do not believe they will get support from their board when they try to crack down.