Readers Write

Readers Write

October 21, 1990


From: Vivienne Dailey


This is an open letter to Michael Hickey, superintendent of education, Howard County: I have followed, with great dismay, the situation involving several athletes' dismissal and reinstatement to team(s) after an alleged involvement with alcohol on school property.

Since I am not related to friends of any of the students or their parents, and I am not employed by the Board of Education, I know that I am, very likely, ignorant of many relevant facts. The newspapers and community hearsay are not always reliable sources of information in these types of situations.

FOR THE RECORD - A letter to the editor published in The Howard County Sun on Oct. 21 under the headline, "Growth scares county newcomer," failed to include the author's name. Louis Caputo of Ellicott City wrote the letter.

My concerns are twofold. First of all, as a parent of school-age children, I firmly believe that the alcohol and illegal substance policies of Howard County are basically flimsy in comparison to the potential and magnitude of the problem.

Secondly, as a department chairman of physical education, soccer coach, athletic director, and MPSSAA chairman of girls soccer, I am totally appalled at the message you are sending to coaches, athletes, students and parents.

It seems that it is permissible for these athletes to break very serious rules laid down by the state, the Board of Education and coaches and still be permitted to participate.

By reinstating these athletes, you have undermined all the principles we, as coaches and educators, have fought long and hard to maintain. Look at the perception that many people have about athletes. It is a common misconception that most involved are less than intelligent and hold themselves to be above the rules of the rest of society.

The professional sports scene certainly is not to be emulated. Your decision reinforces this pathetic stereotype. How can you, as a superintendent of a school system, take such a stance and expect to be perceived as epitome of one who seeks the best educational situation for the children of Howard County? The parents of this county have high expectations of educational leadership, and I feel strongly that you have let them down.

In a recently completed survey done by Baltimore County, a surprisingly large percentage of athletes indicated that athletes who abuse substances should be thrown off teams. Additionally, if the Howard County policy were the same as theirs, these students would have been expelled for the remainder of the semester and this entire fiasco would not have happened!

The handling of this situation has raised many, as yet, unasked questions about your true agenda for educational leadership. When will the other parents start asking them?


My family and I recently relocated to Howard County after searching through Maryland and Northern Virginia. We fell in love with the Ellicott City area. We are still in temporary quarters, and I am already having second thoughts.

I cannot understand why there is any debate about growth being regulated. Can people here be blind? Can't they look to Fairfax County, Virginia, or perhaps a closer look to neighboring Montgomery County, the third-highest taxed county in the nation?

The mistakes that were made in those areas will be repeated here if growth is not controlled.

As a native of Long Island, N.Y., I saw the island ruined by over-development. Most recently we moved from Burlington County, New Jersey, where local elected officials are learning the hard way that the expense of providing services for additional population cannot be paid by real estate taxes alone. More importantly, the environment has been permanently damaged and the demand for water has left them with shortages.

I saw my property taxes double in the last five years and the other taxes have just been increased by the governor.

Letting development take place on every square inch of land is only beneficial to the builders, who will move on once the land is gone. We will inherit the mess and expense. It is the builders who should be responsible for the road improvements, additional schools and recreational areas. It is only after these changes have be made that we will see responsible utilization of Howard County land.

Like many of you I am tired of crowds and congestion on the road and high taxes. But if the elected officials refuse to take control of this situation before it gets out of hand -- vote them out! I have registered already.

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