Teachers At RiskMuch is said these days about the...


April 07, 1994

Teachers At Risk

Much is said these days about the inclusion program in the Baltimore County schools. The term is a euphemism for placing emotionally and otherwise handicapped children in ordinary classrooms with the general school population and with teachers who are rarely equipped or trained to handle many of the extraordinary problems that these children display.

Little consideration has been given to the disruptive effect of these children, and especially the severely emotionally disturbed, on the general school population and how their presence suppresses learning by children who are not handicapped or disturbed. Teachers must spend inordinate amounts of time with the disturbed children.

However, one great problem which does not seem to have been addressed at all by Superintendent Stuart Berger or the school board is the protection of teachers.

Under current regulations, a severely emotionally disturbed child cannot be suspended or expelled for conduct which would be a basis for such action if committed by a normal child. The rationale is that the severely emotionally disturbed child cannot be held responsible for his acts.

In one recent episode at a Baltimore County middle school, a severely emotionally disturbed child punched a teacher in the face with his fist.

The child is as large as an adult and is in a position to do substantial damage. Of course he could not be expelled for such conduct. If a normal child had been guilty of punching a teacher in the face he would have been expelled immediately.

Unless protection of the teachers is addressed, many of them will, in addition to suffering injury at the hands of disturbed children, refuse to be involved in situations where such an altercation could result. This would lessen even further the effectiveness of control over the children.

It seems obvious that at least some disturbed or handicapped children (and especially the severely emotionally disturbed) ought to be segregated from the general population and put in the hands of personnel who have been trained adequately to manage and teach such children and at the same time defend themselves.

Unless this is done, we will have teachers retiring and resigning in droves.

Litigation against the school board and Dr. Berger will surely result from the failure to protect the teachers, where injuries occur.

L. Robert Evans


Teen-age Critic

I am writing to you about "D2: The Mighty Ducks." I am 13 going on 14. Film critic Stephen Hunter is an adult, right?

What I think is that most movies should have a teen-agers' point of view.

This is because some people take your advice about the movie and don't let their kids see it because they might think that it would be a waste of money.

Most adults don't like kids' movies such as the Mighty Ducks or any other that came out, but kids do.

Some people that take your advice might be missing a very great movie. In my opinion "D2: The Mighty Ducks" was a very exciting movie with lots of good points to it.

To a teen-ager, like myself, this was a fun, cheering type of movie that you have to cheer. I could barely stay in my seat.

To me I think your kids would "quack" over it. Even the audience cheered, laughed and sang and had fun.

Stephen Hunter's opinion of movies might be okay for adults, but I feel there is a need for a teen-agers' point of view when reviewing movies . . .

Jill Davis


Replace Taney

The recent letters (March 11, March 24) opposing replacement of the statue of Roger Taney at the state capitol offer two false arguments.

One argument is that, apart from his authoring the Dred Scott decision, Taney was a respectable man.

This is like saying that apart from a little incident in Ford's Theater, John Wilkes Booth was a good actor and a gentleman.

Roger Taney became famous for his crafting of a legal theory that protected the institution of slavery by denying that black people had any rights that white people were bound to respect. He was honored with a statue not for any of his other achievements, but because of that one ignoble act.

The second argument assumes that because there was a time when it was respectable to defend slavery, we must continue to honor with statues its chief defenders.

We cannot make history go away, and it must be taught in our textbooks and our museums, but the places of honor at our state capitol make a statement about the values we now strive for.

Roger Taney stands for who we once were, while Thurgood Marshall stands for who we want to become -- a nation of genuine equality of opportunity.

Replacing Taney with Marshall is a tangible way of stating that we have changed. For that reason, I favor moving statues.

Ralph Watkins

Silver Spring

Bent Right

The recent primary victory of Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, D-Ill., reflects the sad, undermining state of mind of many voters.

They don't care if their nominee is crooked, as long as the nominee is bent in their direction.

Edward E. Howser

Ellicott City

Conflict over the Death of Jesus

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