Moving too fast on special educationAs a parent of...

the Forum

June 30, 1993

Moving too fast on special education

As a parent of children with learning disabilities and a former special education teacher, I have watched the closings of the Chatsworth and White Oak schools with alarm.

Baltimore County School Superintendent Stuart Berger is charging headlong into full inclusion with no apparent regard for either the best interests of the children or teachers' need for additional support and training.

Dr. Berger cites federal regulations that require placing students in the least restrictive environment as justification for his actions.

But he conveniently ignores the fact that those same regulations also require "appropriate" placement. Sometimes the appropriate environment is a restrictive environment.

When the students who had attended White Oak and Chatsworth are enrolled this fall in their home schools, a change in policy will not change their educational needs.

Ideally, each student with special needs should be served in his home school. Yet that is not always practical when students require more intensive, individualized instruction.

Duplicating services that had been provided at Chatsworth and White Oak at the children's home school undoubtedly will prove to be more costly.

Parents legitimately fear that when money becomes a factor, their children's educational programs will be based on the accessibility and affordability of services rather than on the children's needs.

Many parents also anticipate the possibility that their children will be overwhelmed and isolated in the regular classroom.

Inclusion is a concept that can work only if teachers are given adequate support and training. A functional, coordinated system must be in place before existing facilities are closed or altered.

Dr. Berger is burning his bridges, but it's the children who will be left stranded.

Elva Mullin

Bel Air

Stand by Clinton

As one who has participated in numerous civil rights marches on Washington and demonstrated against apartheid in South Africa, I am saddened by the irrational reaction of the Congressional Black Caucus, its chairman, Kweisi Mfume, and other African American leaders to President Clinton's withdrawal of Lani Guinier's nomination to head the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

I personally have been uncomfortable with several of the president's determinations, but going off half-cocked resolves nothing.

Threatening to join the ranks of those who played politics with quotas in an insidious effort to kill civil rights legislation is ill-advised. Embracing those who polarized the nation with "Willie Horton" is sheer lunacy.

President Clinton is a decent, a compassionate human being who believes that without genuine racial harmony our economic, political and social problems will never be resolved and that our democratic institutions will wither.

If we can not control our emotions, let us direct them at the people who have for 12 years ignored those in our society who have suffered so gravely.

Let us not become strange bedfellows with those who are waiting in the wings to exploit and destroy us.

Let us use our abundant energy in a more positive manner by striving to direct, guide, counsel and assist the president, who offers the best hope for a better and brighter future for all Americans.

Leon Peace Ried

Baltimore

Black Talons

Let's hear it from the National Rifle Association.

Here is its chance to show a sense of responsibility. It could surely persuade the Winchester Co. to stop producing Black Talon mushrooming steel bullets.

It is utterly irresponsible for a manufacturer to produce and sell ammunition that is so destructive. With several million rounds already produced and available, no one is safe from being torn apart.

Are there no legal restraints against the sale of such things? No extra penalty for using them in commission of a crime? Our society is out of control in regard to firearms.

Thank goodness the Baltimore City Police Department is not joining in the rush to use this ammunition.

Jane Spencer

Baltimore

____________

Bleeding heart liberals and others more concerned about criminals than the safety of their victims or the police are now decrying the decision of the Baltimore County Police Department to upgrade its handgun ammunition.

As a resident of Baltimore County, I fully approve of this police action. The police department exists to prevent crime where feasible, to abort it when necessary and to apprehend its perpetrators when possible.

Crime fighting is not a sporting contest to be won by the fleetest of foot, the biggest or the strongest.

Were it so, police departments would be staffed with only unarmed male ex-track stars and football players.

That is not the case, and weapons are one of the differences.

If one crime is prevented, if one armed criminal is stopped dead in the act or apprehended through the use of this ammunition, it will have been well worth its use.

Edward J. Naumann Jr.

Baltimore

Governor Schaefer's 'volunteers'

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