False ChargeShame on The Sun for the misleading, volatile...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 02, 1993

False Charge

Shame on The Sun for the misleading, volatile and divisive story filling the top of page 3 of the Jan. 20 Maryland section, headlined "Parents say Jewish community wants their school."

According to the article, an undefined number of 11 picketing black parents made general, unsupported accusations regarding the Jewish community's alleged support for closing Pimlico Middle School.

Their "suspicions" were denied not only by Jewish leaders, but also by spokesmen for the mayor and for the school system. The Sun displayed gross insensitivity in publishing this racially-charged non-story, and in adorning it with an inflammatory headline.

The Sun should not serve as a form for the unsupported accusations of a few people against an entire community. Both the black and Jewish communities deserve an apology.

Jay N. Bernstein

Baltimore

School of Success

I would like to commend Michael Olesker for his compelling Jan. 10 column, "Like its students, this school needs a second chance," concerning the proposed closing of Sharp Leadenhall Elementary School.

My firm (Yaffe & Company) has had a business/school partnership with the Sharp-Leadenhall school for the past five years. I am delighted that Mr. Olesker took the time to see for himself just how vital a school like Sharp-Leadenhall is to the community.

Nearly all of the students at Sharp-Leadenhall have already failed in mainstream classroom settings. A majority have failed at three and, in some cases, four different schools. These students are finally happy to be in school -- they enjoy learning and they feel comfortable with each other and with their teachers.

They are proud to be making progress. To consider placing them back into a situation where failure is inevitable would be unthinkable.

K? Again, many thanks to Mr. Olesker for his valuable article.

Rian M. Yaffe

Baltimore

Medical Practice

The letter, "Good Medicine," from Thomas H. Mehnert, Jan. 8, addressed the subject of alternative medicine and supported the cause of Dr. A. Shamim of Laurel, a holistic health practitioner under fire from the Maryland Board of Physician Quality Assurances. As you know, he subsequently lost his license.

The letter incorrectly stated that I had testified on Dr. Shamim's behalf. I have not cast judgment on Dr. Shamim's abilities.

Instead, I have tried to offer opinions on the pros and cons of alternative medicine. . .

There are a number of alternative medicine practices that fall under the banner of "good medicine." Providers of such should not be discredited simply because positive patient outcomes were achieved via non-traditional means. Conversely, there are alternative medical practices that are a means to disastrous ends. Any medicine so practiced is bad.

The public has a right to high quality medical care delivered at reasonable cost. Along with that right comes responsibilities on the part of concerned citizens, health care providers, insurance industry representatives and government officials to work together to define what constitutes "good medicine." . . .

Some answers to future problems might rest in practices viewed as non-traditional. That is one reason the National Institutes of Health acknowledged "alternative medicine" as a legitimate part medical science, and will devote serious study to this area despite criticism. . . .

Neil Solomon, M.D.

Baltimore

Gays in Military

President Clinton is to be commended for his intent to end the ban on gays in the military. As one reads the list of reasons put forth by Gen. Colin Powell and others as to why the ban should remain in effect, the injustice of the discrimination is all the more evident.

The fear that AIDS will become more prevalent because of gays is ridiculous. Statistics show that the gay community has significantly changed its behavior by practicing safe sex.

During my army experience in Puerto Rico a significant number of straight men visited the local "house of ill repute" weekly. I am fairly certain that this type of activity has not changed. The risk of contracting the virus which causes AIDS will increase wherever people engage in unsafe sexual practices. It cannot be blamed on gays any more than on straights.

The fear that very religious soldiers would resign is likewise ridiculous. If homosexuality would cause them to resign, why would they not be equally outraged by the sexual promiscuity of fellow soldiers including officers or the drunkenness that is quite prevalent? The Bible speaks to these issues as well. Yet they have not been mentioned as offenses to the very religious.

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