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Of appreciating Robert Frost

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The party at poet Robert Frost’s summer home in Ripton a few weeks ago was a bad idea that spun out of control into deviant behavior. Many of those youths involved have recognized the seriousness of their crime, are apologetic and are seeking to do whatever it takes to repay society for their mistakes.

In meting out justice through the court diversion process as well as through the criminal court process, the intent is clear: those involved must understand the gravity of their mistake and that their actions betrayed the community in which they live. Payment should come in the form of restitution for the damage done, but also in ways that seek to regain the community’s trust.

Suggestions have already included work at the Robert Frost farm to maintain the walking trail leading to the house. Such work could be extended to include the Robert Frost trail network less than a half-mile away. But while such work qualifies for community service, restoring the people’s trust needs to come more from the heart.

One idea that has bubbled up from the community is for the students to be asked to memorize and recite several of Frost’s poems and complete a study of his life so each student learns to appreciate the works of the man whose summer home they violated. Perhaps then they will understand why so many people around the nation were so appalled by their disrespect, and, as importantly, learn to treasure his art and love it as millions do.

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