System's Gain, Mt. Hebron's LossIn view of the recent...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 18, 1993

System's Gain, Mt. Hebron's Loss

In view of the recent massive transfers taking place in Howard County public schools and in an atmosphere of hostility toward educators and public schools in general, there is another reality often unrecognized. As a parent in the Mt. Hebron community, I would like to give voice to many comments regarding Stephen Wallis, one of the vice principals to be transferred.

Parents, students and fellow educators alike have experienced him as an extraordinary instructional leader, one truly concerned and completely involved, unquestionably one of the finest persons and knowledgeable administrators that we have had the privilege to know. . . .

Mr. Wallis is not one who simply goes through the motions of his responsibilities. His responses are never indicative of rhetoric, fluff, status quo, mediocrity or half-stepping. Rather, if you know the man, you sense substance, excellence, sincerity, moral courage, commitment and a special spark of hope and calm in the art of educating.

The Mt. Hebron school community has been a better place because of his presence and contributions. . . .

Dorothy Anderson

Ellicott City

Perkins Trial

Your May 16 article about the Clifford T. Perkins Hospital guard who was found not guilty of patient abuse provides your readers with a lesson in overly cautious and, no doubt, heavily edited reporting. . . .

This is the story, right? A patient who was in the hospital for treatment of Tourette's syndrome (a disease characterized by involuntary tics, cursing, shouting, etc.) struck a fellow patient while in the hospital dining room.

With his hands cuffed behind his back, the patient was being escorted from the dining room when he spit on a guard. The guard bent over and kneed the patient in the chest (no mention of why the guard had to bend over to do it; really short patient?).

A nurse saw the incident on a video monitor and reported it. In court, the nurse said that the patient was just standing there, that there was no struggle.

Then, Howard District Court Judge James Vaughan found that, although he didn't necessarily condone the guard's actions, it bothered him to find the guard guilty of anything. In fact, Judge Vaughan said that he probably would have hit the patient himself.

Have I left out or misrepresented anything?

Oh, yes, an assistant state's attorney for the county argued that the guard was there to care for the patient, not to hit him. That probably should have been the headline. . . .

Have you forgotten the role of a newspaper in a free society? Or, is it so important for you to ensure that you have sources for your next story that you are willing to sacrifice the present one?

I suppose I'm expected to feel satisfied that you at least reported the story. Forgive me if I find that to be too much like saying, "Well, at least we have a light bulb; maybe someday we'll get electricity." . . .

David Parrish

Columbia

Carter Escape

The Jan. 18 escape of Dontay Carter is a disgrace to our judicial system in Maryland. The two jail officers have no right blaming Judge John N. Prevas for the incident. . . .

Daring not to question the judge's decision to let Carter use the bathroom in his chambers, the correctional officers didn't think twice. . . . It was their job, not Prevas', to determine the safety of any procedure . . . outside of the courtroom. . . .

Jeremy Friss

Ellicott City

County Water

There is no question but that the county should provide safe water to homeowners, whose water has been contaminated by the landfill.

However, extension of the water and sewerage district to 2,800 acres is an extreme measure. This would be in direct opposition to the new General Plan, on which the ink is hardly dry.

Putting the 2,800 acres in the Metro District would set up the same situation that gave us Waverly. . . . The result would be a completely changed neighborhood, overcrowded schools and roads, an increase in crime and higher taxes. . . .

At a time when the county is having difficulty in providing schools and roads as well as other services, can we afford to take on providing services for 2,800 acres of high-density development? I think not.

. . . Let us take care of the county's residents first, not the speculators and developers.

Ridgely Jones

Sykesville

Cheer, Boo For Del. Thomas

Howard County owes Virginia Thomas a vote of appreciation for successfully reviving state funding for transitional housing for recovering alcohol and/or drug addicts in Howard County.

When the 1993 General Assembly defeated a "state bond" bill to provide matching funds for the previously approved county share of costs for renovating a building on the grounds of the Clifton T. Perkins State Hospital, Delegate Thomas took up the cause with the secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

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