As a proud alumnus of Mount Anthony Union High School I was shocked and outraged by the defamatory remarks made in the New York Times earlier this month. To set the record straight, having spent thousands of hours inside the high school over the past four years, I can honestly say I have never encountered heroin -- ever. I am sure that the State Trooper that commented for the article was only doing what he thought best to illuminate a clear problem within our community, but the fact still remains that his comment was better suited for a creative writing piece than a news publication. It is shameful that a sensational misrepresentation of the truth can so quickly be printed as fact.
If it is of any interest to the New York Times, here are some factual realities about the high school. MAU alumni currently attend some of the world’s premier colleges: Harvard University, Dartmouth College, Middlebury College, McGill University, Quinnipiac University, Bard College, and Princeton University to name a few of many. Additionally, MAU Advanced Placement students consistently outperform other Advanced Placement students across the globe. On the 2012 College Board Advancement Tests MAUHS students scored a cumulative average of 3.29, higher than the state average of 3.04, the national average of 2.89 and the global average of 2.91.
The fact is that MAUHS students have not achieved these tremendous feats in the company of "baggies of heroin" and any suggestion otherwise demeans the exemplary work that Mount Anthony students -- past and present -- have done. To be clear, our high school and our community are not without problems. It is plainly apparent that poverty and addiction are very serious concerns that need to be addressed. Yet the character assassination Bennington sustained from the NYT piece is neither accurate nor fair and certainly does not take into account the strides the town has taken to correct its short comings.
Our town is not perfect and there is always more to be done but Bennington’s heroin epidemic is not specific to our town or even to our state. It is a problem that is present across the country: Everywhere from our small, rural town to the large urban metropolis of Houston, where I currently live. To entertain sensationalized lies does not help to correct this problem and it in fact detracts from the debate about real solutions.
Mount Anthony Union High School Class of 2013