Don't cheat children of school timeI have been a teacher...

the Forum

March 02, 1994

Don't cheat children of school time

I have been a teacher in the Baltimore County school system for 18 years. I was very glad to see that state school superintendent Nancy Grasmick was not going to "forgive" the bad weather and shorten the school year.

I feel that 180 days is certainly not long enough for students to attend school each year. There is no way a shorter year would serve to benefit them.

I would really like to see the late opening and early closing hours added up. When we get to six hours, I feel another school day needs to be added to the calendar.

Coming to school during our spring break and other long holidays makes sense to me. I'd rather see us open then, and not when the roads and sidewalks are unsafe for our students.

Students who can't come in on the make-up days should not be sent on to the next grade. Not only should schools be open at least 180 days, we should hold students accountable for attending 180 days.

When excessive absences happen, hold the child back to get the missed content, and stop worrying about how our promotion rate is going to look on paper.

We will improve the quality of our education when we truly put our students first and stop worrying about how our actions will be interpreted or how we will look when reported in the press.

@4 I have wanted to say this for the last 15 years.

Dotty Hamilton

Catonsville

Death with dignity

One cannot help but be amazed at the amount of time, man hours and taxpayers' money that has been expended on the issue of how capital punishment should be carried out.

That so much effort has been expended to "humanize" the death of a person condemned by his peers to death is an illustration of the lack of understanding shared by our community.

It is inconceivable that a person who must die because of the heinous crime that he has committed is afforded the dignity of a painless and immediate death (by lethal injection), while a person who has lived an exemplary life but has been condemned to death by God (with terminal cancer) must suffer for months, and die without dignity.

The issue of the appropriateness or correctness of the death penalty is

dwarfed by the devastation caused by a good person forced to suffer and lose his or her dignity.

At a time when men's consciences are suggesting that execution by lethal injection is more humane than death in the gas chamber, it is time to reflect on the inhumanity of requiring good people to languish and suffer before permanently closing their eyes.

I for one applaud Dr. Jack Kevorkian, not just for the assistance he has provided others, but for his recognition and teaching that the good have as much right to humane death as those guilty of heinous crimes.

It is time that we recognize that the "victims' rights" so fervently referred to by our elected officials when talking about crime are also the rights that we as human beings possess in determining how we shall die.

Howard L. Cardin

Baltimore

All sides spy

I must be missing something on this Ames thing. Why all this righteous indignation that the Russians "turned" one of our guys?

I'm not disputing that Aldrich Ames is a traitor if he did what the FBI said he did. But what are we barking at the Russians for? Aren't we still spying on them? Aren't we still trying to "turn" their people?

I don't recall any mutual agreements to stop spying on each other and recall all our spooks when the Cold War ended. If I missed that, then what's the CIA doing? Maybe we can save our money by cutting their spying budget.

As I see it, spying is a nasty reality of world politics. Everybody does it but nobody wants to admit it. Sort of like sex. Heck, we even spy on our allies and they spy on us. Remember Jonathan Pollard?

So I can't get all lathered up that the Russians got to one of our guys. If he's guilty, throw the book at him.

But don't climb up on that pedestal of righteousness and demand that the Russians withdraw all their spies from the U.S., unless we are ready to reciprocate.

There's a saying, "Don't come off the porch unless you're ready to play with the big boys." Maybe the guys up on Capitol Hill and over in Langley ought to think about staying on the porch.

Wayne G. Norris

Baltimore

Young, black and hounded

I have a grandson who is 17 years old. At times, he has driven my car. When he is in the car alone, there is no problem.

However, if he has one or two other friends in the car with him, he is automatically stopped by the police.

My grandson and his friends are young and black, and we feel that this is the reason the police stop them.

The Police Department's reasoning is that they routinely stop what they consider to be "high-profile" cars that may have been stolen. My care is a '91 Geo Storm. Prior to November, I had an '88 Beretta. Neither is considered high profile.

We realize the tone of the times and the increased drug problems, but to be delayed each time, or the thought that you might be stopped by the police, is demeaning and discriminatory.

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