From: Jennifer Prugh
Many students are displeased with the new drug and alcohol policythe Howard County Board of Education has instituted this year. The new penalties are overly harsh and seem pointless to many students.
Most of us subjected to the new policy find the consequences steeperthan they need to be. The policy states that students caught using or possessing drugs or alcohol on school grounds will be suspended, must attend mandatory counseling and need to schedule a conference uponreturning to school.
Most slightly rational students can see the reasoning behind these punishments, but the thing that enrages us most is the suspension from extracurricular activities.
The Board of Education states that at the first offense of the new policy, a student is suspended from extracurricular activities for "the remainder ofthe current grading period and the next consecutive grading period."This includes playing sports, going to games, participating in clubs, attending dances, even taking part in on-stage graduation.
The board's intent may have been to make the consequences harsher in orderto discourage students from taking part in harmful behavior. However, the Board of Education members obviously don't realize that if theybar students from school-related activities, it is likely that a student may continue drug use as a result. When banned from these activities, especially if the offender's friends continue to attend them, the student may be left alone and have nothing better to do than turn back to drugs.
This year, the Board of Education has tightened thepenalties on many aspects of school discipline. The members of the board would be wise to learn that they will not gain our respect or obedience by force; they must treat us with respect if they expect it to be reciprocated. Certainly the higher officials in our educational system can come to see the danger they are inflicting on us by these new penalties.
We as students develop many of our values in the years before we become adults. When we are subjected to exile for first-time drug offenses, we tend to grow up with an unstable view of society as a whole. The Board of Education would do itself a favor in lightening up just a little and realizing that everyone makes mistakes.
(Jennifer Prugh is a senior at Centennial High School.)
THANKS FORYOUR SUPPORT
From: Kitty Boyan
Clarksville Elementary School
I would like to thank Jackie Powder for her complimentary articles about Clarksville Elementary School's new complete Environmental Studies Area. As the story said, our EnvironmentalStudies Area was made possible by the fantastic support of parent volunteers, students, community groups and local businesses.
I just want to let your readers know that part of the property that our environmental project utilizes was donated for our use for an indefinite period of time by the school's neighbor, Columbia Memorial Park.
Jonathan Ger, the assistant general manager of Columbia Memorial Park (and a parent of a first-grader in our school), has been a tremendoushelp to us in our plans for the land use as well as with our dedication ceremony.
Later this year, Ger will install a bronze plaque behind our school's boundary to solidify our school's and the Columbia Memorial Park's Business/School Partnership.
From: Kenneth A. Stevens
I am one who truly believes that substantial population equality should be the first criterion of legislative or congressional districts.
But when we are dealing with congressional districts that would have nearly 600,000 residents apiece and the choice is between splitting a condominium neighborhood (such as Montgomery Run) so as to achieve near mathematical equality or doing something else that would result in a disparity of only about 250 people between one district and another, I would choose the latter.
Since the General Assembly has goofed by failing to assign the non-contiguous portion of precinct 1-5 (Aladdin Village Trailer Park) to any congressional district, they will have to enact corrective legislation.
When they do so, I hope they will consider assigning Aladdin Village (with 334 people) to the 3rd District and uniting with their neighbors in the 6th District the 205 residents in the one split-off census block in the Montgomery Run area. That would cause a difference of about 250 people between the two districts, but it wouldseem to me a more sensible alternative.
It would also eliminate the necessity for the Howard County Board of Elections having to create a whole new precinct for just 205 people.
VOTE AGAINST OBSCENITY
From: Michael Grasso
As residents of the North Laurel area, we would like to make our views known on the latest attraction to come to our part of the county -- the bikini-clad dancers at the Good Guys Restaurant.