Walk to School
Editor: For the past 20 years we have watched the pot simmering and it has finally come to a boil. What happened at Hampstead Hills Middle School is happening all over this city. We in neighborhoods where students are brought in from other areas have been held hostage long enough.
Young couples leave the community as soon as their children reach school age. Older neighbors do not leave their homes in the morning and at dismissal time. Our local Korean grocer has been cursed at, and shoplifting is a daily occurance.
Property is stolen or deliberately broken. Don't even try to drive down the street. Your car is pounded on, kicked, or they just won't move. If you say anything to the students, you take your life into your hands.
Our neighborhood is full of trash from students who get free lunches, but stop for breakfast at the convenience store and leave their litter for us to pick up. Parochial schools have had to change dismissal times because of harassment. Businesses are suffering from property damage.
Just think how much money would be available to schools, making all schools the best, if we stopped taking youngsters from one community to attend school miles away.
It's time communities took back their schools for the children who could walk to them.
Lida Lee Tall
Editor: William Donald Schaefer, the self-styled ''education governor,'' has finally delivered a lesson my six-year-old will likely never forget. The lesson goes like this:
Create a remarkable school. Run it on a budget that would be laughed at by any other public school in Maryland. Show consistently the highest test scores in the state (and this at a school that turns down gifted or otherwise remarkable students). Allow the school to be used for educational experiments and teacher training. Let it export its curriculum to other public schools.
And then? And then, of course, you close it down. At a one-time savings to taxpayers of roughly $95,000.
I am the parent of a child at the Lida Lee Tall Learning Resources Center. And forgive me if, the next time I hear our governor spout off about education, I look just a teeny-weeny bit skeptical. I guess it's just because I am.
Suffering Liberia is Ignored
Editor: When civil war erupted in the West African nation of Liberia approximately 14 months ago, the event received extensive media coverage. The public was consistently kept apprised of new developments as they occurred.
Since the gulf crisis began, however, there has been very little media coverage on Liberia. The cries of the intense suffering and hardship of a once-proud people have been all but silenced by the rumbling noise of army tanks, oil well infernos and the moans of displaced Kurds in the Middle East.
During my visit to Liberia in March, I found a country torn by the ravishes of war. Transportation in some parts of the country is virtually non-existent. Because of this, travel is very limited.
There are military check points throughout the country.
The sound of gunfire can be heard piercing the silence of the night.
There is much suffering and despair.
Thousands have been killed and even thousands more are separated from their loved ones, displaced because of fear of being killed by the warring factions.
I listened to the many horror stories of the atrocities, even murder, committed by soldiers against Liberian civilians.
Many civilians have lost their homes; everything they worked for is gone.
They have no clothes, no food, except for rationed portions of rice.
Relatives have been displaced or killed. Liberians who are displaced live in homes with others, some homes housing as many as 10 times the normal occupancy.
Hospitals are poorly staffed with little or no medical supplies.
Everywhere, armed soldiers still occupy the streets.
Tremendous effort has been put forth to orchestrate the relief efforts for the Kurds of Iraq and also for the Kuwaitis. Foreign governments are sending aid. Foreign citizens are putting on concerts to benefit the Kurds. But where is the help for Liberia?
The help for Liberia has been minimal, to say the least, and not nearly enough compared to what is actually needed. Liberia is in trouble and needs help. Someone must believe our report.
Lillian R. Taylor.
Hope of India
Editor: Since the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi there has been more than the usual amount of tongue-clicking, tut-tutting, and ''whatever is wrong with India?'' by pundits and non-pundits alike.
Of course the country is facing difficult problems; there are the underlying passions, the conflicts among groups and among regions. Yet through it all there is also that slow process toward growth and progress, the increasing sophistication of the electorate and survival (so far) of the democratic structure.