Don't cut the life line for state teensThe plan to cut...

the Forum

December 26, 1990

Don't cut the life line for state teens

The plan to cut funding to the Youth Services Bureaus [as a result of the state deficit] is absolutely unacceptable. These centers save the lives of our youth daily, as surely as lives are saved at the Shock Trauma Unit. I can only hope that this unthinkable threat is merely a ploy to redirect the energies of the state budget watchdogs.

If this proposal is allowed to go into effect, I know from personal experience, as a veteran educator of at-risk youth, that the loss of counseling advocacy and nurturing provided by centers such as the Northwest Baltimore Youth Services Agency will mean that hundreds of youngsters will be without their life support system as of Feb. 2. The economic impact will be shifted to the detention centers, prisons, shelters and health-care providers. But the problem will not go away, nor will the cost to the community.

I would expect that this announcement will stir the kind of righteous indignation that caused a quick rethinking of the minority scholarship matter by the federal government. If there is no outcry, then our civic leaders and legislators are totally out of touch with the needs of the community. Surely, the kind of thinking that kills critically important and effective programs without putting a dent in the deficit is a 1 percent solution that is 100 percent wrongheaded.

These centers work. They keep youth in school and out of the criminal justice system, while promoting parenting skills through counseling and providing alternative support linkages for beleaguered school personnel. To allow them to close or their services to be reduced is utter madness - unconscionable and frightening. A caring state will not - cannot - let this happen.

Arthur E. Pierce


The author is the former principal of Francis M. Wood Alternative High School, Baltimore City Public Schools.

Return to dignity

This week 13 formerly homeless women will move into their new, permanent home, the Calverton, a program of the Women's Housing Coalition. The Calverton, a single-room occupancy dwelling (SRO), is a significant breakthrough in the front-line fight against homelessness. It represents a much-needed revival a once-plentiful, low-cost housing alternative: the old-fashioned rooming house.

More important, the Calverton represents home to 13 women; it represents an opportunity to become "family" as the women come together for mutual support and friendship; it means celebrating the holidays without the burden of finding a night of food and shelter; it represents the return to a life of dignity.

The Calverton is the product of years of planning, lobbying, negotiating and shirt-sleeve work by countless Women's Housing Coalition supporters. Indeed, it is proof that Baltimoreans are committed to solving the crisis of homelessness. And while we at the Women's Housing Coalition feel a special pride in our residents' moving day, the city should take a bow as well for the support you have given this project.

Tina M. Mooney

The writer is executive director of the Women's HousingCoalition.

Fruitcake maligned

In reference to Kevin Cowherd's insulting remarks about fruitcake (column, Dec. 3): Just to set the record straight, he is hurting a lot of service clubs, which use it as a fund raiser and do very well.

The funds are used by clubs such as the Lions, which sell fruitcakes to raise funds for services for the eyes; the Kiwanis; church groups; the Boy Scouts and many more organizations that help needy children and families. Cowherd had better wake up and do a few nice things instead of insulting in his column all the time. Kevin, try writing something happy.

Irene Helvig


Civil rights, 1990

When Congress overturned the Supreme Court's ruling in the 1984 case, Grove City College v. Bell, it left a Title IX exclusion for 94 all-female and five all-male colleges in the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987. But Congress failed to consider race specific programs or scholarships. When Michael Williams, who heads the Education Department's office for civil rights, declared civil rights laws prohibited minority scholarships, he was legally correct.

Title IX of the education amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination in "any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." Even students who receive Basic Educational Opportunity Grants trigger Title IX. When Congress overrode Grove City, it added race and handicap.

The Evening Sun editorial of Dec. 19 blames President Bush and Mr. Williams (who is black) for the confusion. But did we hear you protesting "sexual apartheid" when Congress was debating Grove City or when the Justice Department took action against all-male Virginia Military Institute while defending all-women colleges? Now Virginia's tuition assistance grants to all-female Sweet Briar, Hollins and Mary Baldwin are in jeopardy.

In 1982 the Supreme Court ruled in a [case concerning a ] school, which was founded in 1884 as the Mississippi Industrial Institute and College for the Education of White Girls of the state of Mississippi, that the Constitution grants Congress "no power to restrict, abrogate, or dilute" equal protection provisions. It's about time Congress, the courts and newspapers accepted that ruling.

Kauko H. Kokkonen


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