Black students slighted in county schoolsYour Oct. 11...

the Forum

October 21, 1991

Black students slighted in county schools

Your Oct. 11 article, "Minority students' progress lagging - Baltimore County report finds few gains for minorities," is particularly meaningful to me.

I retired last June after teaching for 34 years in three of the county's high schools where minority students have become the majority of the student body. I found, in my experiences there, that my students needed additional help and encouragement to compete and achieve at levels that reflected their capabilities.

I constantly requested additional staffing from my principals, supervisors and even the superintendent. But the county's policy has always been that all schools are to be treated equally; hence my requests were never granted. During my last year of teaching at Randallstown High, in fact, the staff was cut by eight, yet school enrollment was constant.

The county did establish an additional bureaucratic office to deal with minority problems. But until Milford Mill, Woodlawn and Randallstown minority community groups unite and insist that it is unjust to treat all schools as equal when their needs are not equal, black students will not be able to compete and achieve as well as white students in the county's school system.

Minority leaders: Don't expect the school system to automatically change its policy for you.

Clarence Beebe


Sulpician history

As the archivist for the Sulpician Fathers in the United States, I want to express my appreciation for the fine write-up by Patrick Ercolano (Evening Sun, Oct. 4).

There is one paragraph that needs comment. It says that "four Sulpician priests and five seminarians came to Baltimore from France in 1791 and established the first Catholic seminary in One Mile Tavern on Market Street. The school later moved to more sedate quarters on Paca Street and, in 1929, settled in its current location at Roland Avenue and Northern Parkway."

The priests and seminarians did arrive on July 10, 1791, at Fells Point. Temporarily, they stayed at a house on Market Street; we are not sure which Market Street this referred to, because there was a Market Street in Fells Point (now known as Broadway) and one in Baltimore Town (now known as Baltimore Street). They were there only a few weeks before they rented the One Mile Tavern, a place to lodge a mile out of town. Before the summer was over, Bishop Carroll had bought it for them and then sold it to them (There were some problems of ownership by foreigners; that's why it was handled that way.) They began classes on Oct. 3, 1791, the event that was recently celebrated at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.

In spite of Patrick Ercolano's concern about "more sedate quarters," the One Mile Tavern (never on Market Street) continued to serve the needs of the community for almost 100 years. Over the years, other buildings were added to the campus, but the original building was torn down only about the time of the seminary's centennial a century ago.

Rev. John W. Bowen, S.S.


Hatch's low blow

Regardless of Ted Kennedy's tempestuous past, Senator Hatch's snide innuendo about selling a bridge in Massachusetts to those who believed Anita Hill was a cheap shot.

Though Senator Hatch suggested the word "Massachusetts" be stricken from the record and the original word, "Brooklyn," be substituted, the damage was done.

Marylanders, on the other hand, may be proud of the manner in which our senators - Barbara Mikulski and Paul Sarbanes - conducted themselves.

Beverly K. Fine


Justice and Thomas

It could be said that we've come a long way in the battle of the sexes when Congress gives such weight to a charge of sexual harassment. But also at issue is our justice system.

The manner in which attention was given to the issue could have been more considered. Many seemed to forget that Judge Thomas was innocent until he was proven guilty, and he was not.

We are still in an infancy stage regarding how best to ensure minority rights and women's rights. But we must not forget the even more fundamental rights on which our Constitution and our government are based.

Jane Backert


The Thomas fiasco

In regard to your Oct. 14 editorial, "No two ways": The way we elect presidents and Congress is not perverse. We do not have parliamentary democracy, and we strongly believe in the separation of powers. A nomination to the Supreme Court is a good example of the checks and balances: The president nominates but the Senate confirms.

The nominee is supposed to be the best-qualified to interpret the Constitution. But the problem is that the Constitution is like the Bible; it can be (and usually is) interpreted any way one pleases. The 4-to-5 or even 6-to-3 decisions attest to that.

Finally, your suggestion that the Senate provide a list of acceptable candidates [to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court] is impractical. The list would be long, and the White House does not have enough time to go around checking.

In my own profession anyone can, in no time at all, come up with five individuals who are tops nationwide. Why can't eight judges fill an empty seat with just one person, who is really the best-qualified for the job?

Peter C. Sotiriou


Racism against Hill

Clarence Thomas was right about racism in the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings, but the racism was not directed against him. Professor Anita Hill was the victim of a high-tech lynching.

Had Anita Hill been a white woman, would she have been subjected to the same crude and contemptuous behavior exhibited by those white Republican inquisitors? I wonder!

Let these hearings be a lesson to all women, black and white, who have experienced or are currently experiencing sexual harassment. What happened to Anita Hill will happen to you if you "deign" to report it. The Orrin Hatches and the Arlen Specters are everywhere.

Magdalene B. Fennell


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