In defense of teacher and 'scapegoat'From: Ann...

READERS WRITE

September 20, 1992

In defense of teacher and 'scapegoat'

From: Ann Lloyd

Baltimore

As a person who worked with Margaret Snyder when she taught Sunday school in previous years in Baltimore, and who helped her for eight years with a toy collection for needy children (all volunteer work -- no pay), I have always admired her kind, gentle manner with all people (children and adults). She is an extremely gracious lady and is held in high esteem by many people.

This former fourth-grade teacher who taught at Millersville Elementary School for the past 20 years spent her own money to buy school supplies on many occasions and spent many hours of her own time to facilitate the children's learning, as many other teachers have done.

With regard to certain letters published in the newspapers in past weeks, which were written by some members of the Millersville PTA (who came forth and identified themselves as the "small group of unethical parents"), what's wrong? Didn't the former principal, Henry Shubert, and former fourth-grade teacher play by "your rules"? Some people like to think for themselves and do not like to be manipulated like puppets on a string.

Regarding the parent who wrote the statement that this teacher was allowed to "reach the breaking point," what an unsupported statement to be written by a parent! Who are you to judge the emotional stability of any of us? This former fourth-grade teacher is a very strong lady, emotionally and mentally, as anyone would say who has known her for many years and up to the present day.

There were other statements written in past weeks which were very questionable as well. Teachers have to maintain order in a classroom. Would you, as parents, like to see your children seriously hurt each other? Then you would say that the teacher involved was negligent. I have never seen her treat anyone in a rough manner in any situation.

On the other hand, during the 1990-1991 school year, she suffered from five broken bones which could have resulted in disabilities for a lifetime due to the accidental, careless running of children at recess at Millersville Elementary School. Because of her faith in God, support of her family and friends, she managed to recover and return to teaching.

During the last full week of school for children and teachers in June, some parents met in a small group to complain about the principal and fourth-grade teacher. This former fourth-grade teacher was not even invited to the meeting to defend herself against accusations or complaints. This was certainly a prime example of injustice. Let's not use a particular teacher as a scapegoat because in a particular year, she had a difficult class of students.

In the most recent article written September 1st ["Millersville set for fresh start after rocky year"], the article concluded by saying that Millersville parents say that they think that "their other problems are gone as well." What an illusion for anyone to think that because of the removal of a principal and teacher from a certain school, their problems are gone.

It was nice to read that the new fourth-grade teacher felt welcome on her first day of school. I wonder how welcome she will feel after 20 years, provided she is still at the same school.

Being a teacher or principal is an awesome job and deserves a lot of praise and admiration, as this is no easy task for anyone. This former teacher at Millersville Elementary School has the support of many people who know that she is honest, dependable, responsible, and hard-working. I wish her well in any future endeavors.

Justice system needs a major overhaul

From: George Fauth

Rational Recovery for Anne Arundel County

We desperately need to reform our criminal justice system. We need to reform because the current system does not work.

It largely ignores victims and their losses. Instead of rehabilitating offenders, it debilitates them.

It wastes money. It is, on nearly every count, a dismal failure. It fails because it attempts to do what no government system can do -- change the human heart.

Inmates are not changed for the good by their confinement but by choosing a new way of thinking and living. Warehousing inmates does not help them build their self-esteem or teach them coping skills so they can become assets instead of liabilities.

In too many instances, prison is a "graduate school" in crime where negative behavior is reinforced.

While society certainly needs to incarcerate dangerous criminals, makes little sense to spend $25,000 to $30,000 per year to confine a non-violent offender. Nor does it make much sense to continue building expensive prisons to warehouse non-violent criminals when you can provide treatment, college and other life-changing improvements for much less.

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