From: Kenneth A. Stevens
Believing that the public should be aware of how school board candidates stand on civil liberties issues, the Howard County Chapter ofthe ACLU hereby provides a summary of the responses of the four primary-winning candidates (Sandra French, Linda Johnston, Delroy Cornickand Melvina Brown) to our pre-primary questionnaire.
All four were in agreement in favoring added emphasis on the Bill of Rights in the curriculum, supporting the Equal Rights Amendment and opposing a return of corporal punishment to the public schools. Otherwise, there were some differences.
None favored having regular prayer sessions in the public schools. However, Cornick seemed to do so only because "classes begin with the Pledge of Allegiance, which gives due recognition to a Supreme Being."
Only Cornick disagreed that the current county program of transporting children to parochial schools presentsconstitutional problems regarding separation of church and state. The other three saw such a problem, although Johnston did so "to some extent" and Brown said that, as a school board member, she would "haveto abide by the law."
Brown would favor the operation of school-based health clinics that would allow free access by students to birthcontrol information and condoms or contraceptives "with parental permission."
French didn't think the county was ready for this, but pointed out that "it's doing well in Baltimore City." Johnston would rather inform students of the availability of such services at the county Health Department. Cornick was negative to the idea of such clinics in the schools.
Brown and Johnston expressed the view that parental consent should be a prerequisite to the participation of any student in sex education programs in the public schools. French opposed parental consent, but supported notification of parents about such programs and of the right to withdraw their child. While spelling out the extent of parental involvement in the current sex education program, Cornick failed to reveal his position on it.
Brown, French and Johnston do not believe that greater parental control is desirable concerning the purchase or use of school textbooks or library books. Aswith the previous question, Cornick simply wrote of what now existedwithout revealing a position on it.
Cornick stated that he was not opposed to such forms of governmental aid to non-public schools as vouchers or tax credits and cited the GI Bill as a precedent for vouchers. Brown, French and Johnston were opposed to such non-public school aid.
French and Johnston favored legislation prohibiting the sale or showing of sexually explicit publications, videotapes and movies. Brown did not favor such legislation where adults are concerned. Cornick again wrote of current legislation without directly respondingto the question.
(Kenneth A. Stevens is the coordinator of the Howard County Chapter of the ACLU of Maryland.)
CAPTION WAS MISLEADING
From: Harry A. Bowie Sr.
On Sunday, March 22, I wasreading that day's edition of The Howard County Sun when I noticed with a certain amount of pride a picture of one of the homes we built in River Hill.
We at Nu-Homes Inc. have been building homes in Columbia since 1975. And, during that time, we have participated in building homes in most of Columbia's villages. Therefore, to have one of our homes featured in a lead article for The Howard County Sun was, initially, very gratifying.
Upon reading the caption under the two pictures that were part of that article ("Settlers head for Columbia's 10th and final village," by Erik Nelson), I was dismayed to learn that not only did Nu-Homes Inc. not get any credit for constructing the home, but there was information contained in the caption under the picture on Page 2 that was very misleading.
In particular, I am concerned that prospective purchasers might get the impression that they could purchase a home such as the one pictured for less than $200,000. In fact, the pictured home cost at least $343,000. Your readers should understand this discrepancy to avoid frustrated expectations inthe future.
The cost of purchasing a new home is based on numerous factors, including land costs, the size and style of the home, the features of the home and the quality of the workmanship that goes into the home. Our reputation in Howard County is a testament to the value that we build into each of our homes.
DEBATERS NEED THAT BUS
From: Rachel Kulansky
I am appalled by the Howard County Board of Education's recent decision to eliminate the county speech and debate teams' transportation funding for the remainder of the school year. As the current plan stands, funding also will be omitted for next year.
While I am aware that all types of county teams are facing cuts, I feel that this action is unfair for several reasons.