Year-Round School WoesAs a Howard County parent, I would...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 12, 1993

Year-Round School Woes

As a Howard County parent, I would like to go on record as being opposed to the concept of year-round schools.

I feel it is just another ploy that comes up every so often to get needed funding for school construction. The cost of keeping schools open all year would probably exceed the expenses saved from not building new facilities.

The most important issue, however, in this proposed plan is the family.

Over and over, we hear that the break-up of the family is causing all of society's woes. This idea of school all year would further drive a wedge into the family.

If a family has several children in different schools, the children would not all have the same vacations. Therefore, the traditional family summer vacation would become extinct and families would grow farther apart. . . .

Some children may become isolated because their friends are still in school while they are off. If you think there is a truancy problem in certain areas now can you imagine what it would be like in the summer, when some children are off and others are in school? . . . And what about high school students who work summers so they can save for college? What about special summer camp programs? What about resorts, amusement parks, state parks and other facilities that rely upon seasonal help to function during the summer?

How about the teachers themselves? Many use the summers to complete higher education problems or take on extra jobs to supplement their incomes to meet the bills.

As a former teacher, I needed the summer to regain perspective and get myself sorted out after a demanding year. Those who have not been teachers just do not understand the stress. . . .

Many of those who are proponents of the year-round idea are those who don't want to pay more taxes to build schools or enlarge existing ones, or parents who don't want to look after their kids in the summertime. Heaven forbid they should spend some time with them!

If a plan like this goes into effect, children and their parents will become more isolated than they already are. . . .

Remember a few years back when some schools were closed due to under-enrollment? Year-round school will cause more problems than it is worth.

Russ Mullaly

Ellicott City

Death Penalty

In his column Aug. 22, Kevin Thomas came out in favor of the death penalty in frustration over the increase in violent murders, attempting to grasp "at straws [that] would put an end to extreme violence in a culture where fear and uncertainty stalk the innocent."

There is no valid statistical evidence that the death penalty has now or ever had any effect on the rate of violent crime. The only violence prevented by the death penalty is the violence the person executed might have committed had he/she lived. Therein lies the rub. We can't know what anyone would have done had he or she lived. . . .

Use of the death penalty to reduce violence in society is like trying to put out a fire by dousing it with kerosene.

Lane Hart

Columbia

Gymnasts Yelling 'Sexism'

This is in response to your "Mental Gymnastics" cartoon that appeared in The Sun Aug. 8.

. . . Many students (male and female) are involved in sports and want to continue in high school. Your little comic of a "gymnast" is far-fetched from the real gymnast in this county. All of us are hard workers. And most of us, due to our own "mental gymnastics," are honor students with grade point averages of at least 3.0.

It seems that you only want to publish the school board's side of this issue. . . . I do have some questions that the board needs to answer:

* More than two months ago, parents and gymnasts put together a list of concerns and alternatives and presented them to the board. To date, it has not addressed our concerns. Why?

* The alternative plan to make the program a "club" is an insult; among other reasons, high schoolers are too old to start %J participation in club competitive gymnastics.

If the board would listen to us, it would understand why we are fighting. "Yelling 'sexist' " may be the only way to get its attention. . . .

April Page

Oakland Mills

The writer is a senior and gymnast at Oakland Mills High School.

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