Milkulski vows to bring pupils' worries to Clinton

January 12, 1993|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,Staff Writer

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., yesterday promised to draft a letter to President-elect Bill Clinton expressing the concerns and grievances of a group of Canton Middle School students.

Senator Mikulski visited the school to encourage the students to attend college. After listening to the students' comments about crime, gun control, the environment, tighter security in high schools and increased funding for public schools, Ms. Mikulski vowed to take their concerns directly to Mr. Clinton.

About 50 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders attended the session with Ms. Mikulski. She was invited to the Southeast Baltimore school by The CollegeBound Foundation, a Baltimore-based nonprofit organization, which provides financial aid and counseling for city school students who want to attend college.

During the session, Ms. Mikulski posed this question to the students: "If you could talk with Clinton on inaugural day, what would you say?"

Tonya Smith, an eighth-grader, criticized the city school system for provoking high school drop-outs by suspending or expelling students for wrong-doing.

"Sometimes, the school system pushes students out," Ms. Mikulski said. "Violence in the streets is coming into high schools and we need to get the troublemakers or 'lost sheep' into programs to get them on the right track."

She added that Mr. Clinton's support for public education could result in the hiring of more teachers through increased federal funding. Ms. Mikulski said the government could get the money by imposing higher taxes on foreign corporations.

"I want to work with Clinton and get money from foreign corporations," Ms. Mikulski said, adding, "Clinton estimates we can get $50 billion from taxing foreign corporations."

Ms. Mikulski also touted her efforts to ban the sale of semiautomatic weapons and to enact a federal statute mandating a seven-day waiting period for firearm purchases.

Ms. Mikulski attended secondary school at the Institute of Notre Dame, and she went on to Mount Saint Agnes (which eventually merged with Loyola College) and the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

"I wouldn't be a senator if I didn't go to college. Without an education, it will all fade and go away," she told the students.

Joyce Kroeller, CollegeBound executive director, said Ms. Mikulksi's visit had a positive effect on the students. "It is important for them to know people from this neighborhood are successful to encourage them to go to college," she said.

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