'Abnormal Behavior' And A Drug SuspensionIt is my sincere...


January 16, 1994

'Abnormal Behavior' And A Drug Suspension

It is my sincere hope that Stuart Comstock-Gay was misquoted in The Sun on Dec. 27 when he "questioned whether 'abnormal behavior' was sufficient cause for" a search and suspension of a high school student at Bel Air High.

The student, who arrived late, apparently smelled of smoke and behaved in a manner which was important in deciding on the suspension. It is not clear to me whether Mr. Comstock-Gay's objections are to the response of the school administrators or that they responded at all, but it is clear to me that more and more parents and the general public expect school personnel to tolerate a wide range of student behavior which is detrimental to all of our students' learning opportunities.

School administrators must respond to "abnormal behavior" for everyone's sake, especially behavior that is disruptive and signals a deeper problem. As a parent, I rely on the school to let me know if my children might be using drugs during the school day. If my kids come to school late, smelling like smoke and behaving abnormally, I want to be the first to know.

As long as the school's response is within the guidelines of stated policy, parents and the community should support the school's efforts to expect of our children the highest standards of cooperative, law-abiding behavior.

Jennifer Williams



I had to write, after reading the story about the Bel Air high school system. Why would Harford school Superintendent Ray R. Keech believe he should use his power to try and ruin a child, with the possibility of long-term suspension or even . . . expulsion?

How can these men give this young man a police record for having the odor that one was not sure was either cigarette or marijuana smoke? I pray that William Casey, the father of this 16-year-old, gets in touch with a good lawyer. . . .

This principal of Bel Air High, William Ekey, claimed he did not permit Sean Casey to make a phone call. Mr. Ekey claims students have no rights since this school was "conducting an investigation." What type of investigation takes a human's civil rights away? Officer Scott Verdon of the Bel Air Police Department claimed no criminal charges were filed; then why were the student's rights to a phone call not granted? Seems this school and these men in power had something to hide. . . .

I am not trying to get young people to be disrespectful, but I am of a belief that men in power should treat young men and women with the respect that they themselves would like to be treated. We all read in the newspaper, how men and women get fed up with life, then decide to say the heck with it all, take out guns and start shooting people for no reason. I hope that these young people of today will not get fed up, but will go to their parents for help.

Your lives are very important and believe me, you have more legal rights then you know. Use them. . . .

Joe J. Berardino


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