Teachers work in fear of violent youthsThe discipline...

the Forum

November 12, 1993

Teachers work in fear of violent youths

The discipline situation in Baltimore City high schools is far worse than has been reported and it is getting worse every day.

An attempt has been made to put a positive spin on the problem of severely disruptive students by calling them merely "misguided youth." Unfortunately, we are not talking about students who chew gum in class or call out instead of raising their hands or even students who cut class occasionally.

The "misguided youth" at my school have set two students' hair on fire, have squirted a fire extinguisher at a teacher, have thrown batteries, pennies, chalk, books or anything else at hand at staff members, have savagely assaulted other students, have brought guns and drugs to school and have verbally assaulted many, if not most, of the teachers in the building.

They have vandalized the building as well as property in the surrounding neighborhood.

They roam the building all day long in packs of five to 20 with seeming impunity.

Our good students are trying to transfer. Our good teachers want to retire or resign. The sad thing is, the situation at my school is probably not as bad as at some other schools. I have heard similar, or worse, stories from teachers at most other zoned high schools.

My question to the central office staff is how successful would you be at what you are paid to do if you had roving gangs at school headquarters on North Avenue slamming doors, cursing you out, squirting fire extinguishers at you, threatening your car and your life every single day all year long? How would you like it if you were then blamed for the actions of these "misguided youth?"

School-based officials have been directed to end short- and long-term suspensions.

Students are not being held accountable for their disruptive behavior, the school system is being ruined and the education of the vast majority of the youth of the city is being sacrificed for the sake of good public relations.

Alternative situations for these disruptive students must be developed immediately.

Jonathan L. Jacobson

Baltimore

The writer is chairman of the social studies department at Patterson High School.

____________

From my reading about the Harlem Park Community School teacher who was assaulted by four students inside her school, I gather that she was a victim of the students, the principal and the school superintendent ("Amprey probes handling of assault on city teacher," Nov. 5).

This teacher seemed to be a straightforward person. She expected the students to be students and herself to be their teacher.

The school principal and Superintendent Walter Amprey, on the other hand, seemed to be trying to keep the system looking good when it is not.

How long will it take before officials realize that the biggest problem facing the city public school system is discipline?

All children need to be disciplined by their parents before coming to schools. If not, then something needs to be done.

Tommie E. Phillips

Baltimore

Making a mess

A few years back, the United States government stuck its nose into the telephone company, and what a mess they made of it.

Now they are trying the same with health benefits. Again we have a hell of a mess.

W. Grim

Ellicott City

Block watch

I am certainly opposed to this terrible violence that has been thrust onto our society. And I am concerned about our children who are hurt and murdered by those who walk with Satan.

We have to fight violence with violence. While we sit back and talk children are targets. Teachers are subjected to terrible things.

It's time for neighborhoods to form vigilante groups and stamp out the deadly disease that has hit our towns and communities.

Zelda Buccheri

Baltimore

For safety's sake

Deadly violence is a growing menace to all of us. Baltimore recently broke a 13-year-old record for bank holdups -- a dubious milestone in a year that has seen banks constantly held up.

According the records, violent crime rose 19 percent this year, and 40 percent over the past 10 years. Violent crime in our schools has risen dramatically. Even an eight-year-old child punched a policeman.

But government seems to put crime on the back burner. Where are all those prisons we were promised? Prisoners keep being paroled because of overcrowding. Does that make sense? No wonder we are skeptical, even cynical about our justice system.

Please, no more rhetoric. Let our streets and our schools be safe. We have a right to that.

Hazel E. Russo

Baltimore

Bragging Perot

Ross Perot got his education paid for by the taxpayers, then spent the next four years trying to weasel out of his commitment, claiming he was "too sensitive" to put up with those nasty enlisted men.

The Navy finally turned him loose at the end of his peacetime commitment. Where was he during Vietnam? This makes him worse than the draft dodgers.

His father's money put him in business and he made his fortune on the backs of the taxpayers and elderly by being one of the biggest lobbyists in Washington, D.C., during the Nixon years.

He used the issue of American POWs in Vietnam to try to set up business ventures there.

He sounds like a bragging jackass on television, and here I have to apologize to the jackass because the jackass at least knows what he is bragging about.

Walter Hay

Annapolis

Pay up or pay the price

When I purchased my home in Baltimore City, I understood that taxes were to be paid on the property.

I also knew that if the taxes weren't paid, my property could be seized by Baltimore City.

What I don't understand, and what I detest, are the tax forgivings for businesses that don't ante up for "the good of the city," particularly if the money is taken from funds for poor neighborhoods.

I don't care if the property is located next to City Hall; pay up or pay the price.

McNair Taylor

Baltimore

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