Why Ignore Students' Protest?
On January 22, we had a rally at our school protesting the budget cuts, specifically in education. We were broadcast on WMAR-TV at 6 p.m. About 2 weeks ago I, as well as others in my school, received letters from one of the legislators in Annapolis. It took the legislators two months to write us back, when our objective was to get immediate attention.
Yes, I realize that the legislators are very busy, probably with letters much the same as ours. But that is beside the point. Just because I am an eighth grade student does not justify their ignoring me.
I do understand the issues, and I do have an opinion that needs to be heard. I will be a voter in less than four years. I will be a taxpayer as well. Our schools need money; our teachers need money. Our governor, as well as many other government officials, have been spending the tax money that should be going into public schools on plans not nearly as important to the future. By cutting the state and county budgets more, it will make the problems even worse.
It is clear that teachers went into the profession with a single goal in mind, caring. That is all that teaching is about. But if the legislators show them that they don't care, then the teachers are bound to do the same. Can't they see that the teachers of Maryland are trying to build a better educated, well-rounded future? It can't be very easy to do when there are so many unnecessary interruptions.
In order to build a generation of educated people we need the support of the legislators. We need the taxpayers to let their respective representatives know how we feel.
The schools are in need of repairs. I am tired of walking into the cafeteria in my school and seeing trash cans half filled with water from the leaky ceilings. Students are in need of textbooks; we are all tired of sharing books because there aren't enough to go around. It isn't right. We deserve better, our teachers deserve better and we won't stop until our point gets across.
As my English teacher says, "We can no longer do it alone."
The writer is an eighth-grade student at Dumbarton Middle School.
As a colleague of Nancy Malone at Claremont School No. 307, I am equally disturbed with the Oriole Park officials' recent change in attitude toward our developmentally disabled students, who have distributed and collected All-Star ballots at Memorial Stadium for four years.
When stadium officials offered this job to community groups as a fund-raising activity, our group was the first to apply. The first year was difficult. We had to develop patterns and routines for the students to follow.
It did not take us long to become the best organized group working there. When other groups failed to show up to work, Julie Wagner had no qualms about calling us at the last minute to fill in. She knew that we would come through.
Because of our competent performance and the money it generated, we were able to fund many activities in our school, including Miss Malone's "baby," a school newspaper to develop and reinforce functional reading and writing skills.
We scheduled proms and PTA meetings around home games. We used the threat of being excluded from working at the stadium to maintain good behavior. Our students were known and liked by ushers, fans and players. We felt that our developmentally disabled students had earned the self-esteem they felt.
This year at the new stadium, the job we had counted on has been given to the ushers, who have enough to do already. This has prompted much soul-searching for a reason why. Did we do a bad job? Probably not because they let us work for four successive seasons, even calling us in for extra work.
Are the Orioles too poor to pay groups to distribute the ballots? No, because the All-Star balloting is underwritten by USA Today and costs the stadium nothing.
Is it because our students are mostly black teenagers? I would hate to think that is the reason.
Wallis L. Herzog
Listen and learn
It would seem that Gov. Bill Clinton missed a splendid opportunity to gain some reparation for his "experimentation" with marijuana in earlier years. Wouldn't it have been better if he would have said:
"Yes, I did, and it was the dumbest thing I ever did. And you young people should learn from this. I, being young, gullible and impressionable, did not have the guts to say 'no' to my peers, and look what it has done. That single act threatens my bid to be president of the United States and will haunt me for the rest of my life. Fortunately the hooks of addiction did not cleave. Yes, learn from this, young people."
George B. Wroe
There should not be one person proud of Maryland or its legislators. Remember, we elected them.
John E. Carnell