Proper punishmentWith all of the talk by city councils...

the Forum

June 10, 1994

Proper punishment

With all of the talk by city councils across this nation about starting to paddle youthful vandals, I'd like to offer an amendment.

Make the parent or guardian who is responsible for the offender share half of the licks for the crime.

Of course, there could be exceptions granted for the elderly or disabled parent, but for the most part, parents should share in the responsibility for the actions of their minor children.

I'd almost rather prefer that the parent get all of the whacks. But no caning.

J. Douglas Parran

St. Leonard

Inky the whale

It's wonderful that the National Aquarium was able to rehabilitate the sick whale Inky and return her to the ocean.

This was an act of humanity, an educational tool, a news item and a boon for public relations.

So why don't they close down their "circus" and release the other dolphins and whales being kept at the Marine Mammal Pavilion?

Or why didn't they keep Inky and use her in the show?

Some things just don't make sense.

Dianne Hosmer Hardy

Baltimore

Unfair to teacher

In reference to the teachers versus Schmoke/Amprey flap:

From the sidelines looking on, it seems to me that the Baltimore city teachers should not be made into scapegoats for the tremendous problems of the city.

Teachers do not put guns into the hands of children and teen-agers; teachers do not bring drugs into the city; teachers do not program sex and violence into the ubiquitous television that has become the "mother's knee" of many children.

Teachers are trained to teach -- not use up their time attempting to be psychologists, sociologists and policemen, for which they are not trained.

The methods of the schoolyard bully being used by school Superintendent Walter Amprey (and indirectly by Mayor Kurt Schmoke -- where the buck stops) will only drive out the good teachers.

A better way would be to praise the many excellent, dedicated teachers for being on the front line, so to speak, and devise methods of more training for the less than competent teachers.

Mayor Schmoke was correct to place his emphasis on reading, (( because reading and writing are the tools a child must have in order to learn.

Why not have more remedial teachers who would teach children to read -- one on one if necessary -- through the early grades, and let no child go past the third grade until he or she is reading at that grade level?

This kind of thinking seems much more constructive for bettering the schools than the threatening, intimidating methods of Schmoke/Amprey.

The morale of city teachers is low enough already, with the almost superhuman task that is being handed to them daily.

As professionals they don't need this kind of insulting, unfair treatment.

Charlene Wallace

Baltimore

Clinton on D-Day

Wiley Hall's commentary on President Clinton's comments at Normandy on the 50th anniversary of D-Day is a prime example of tasteless hypocrisy ("Clinton missed a chance to recall his conscience," June 7).

If it was his intent to spit on the graves at Normandy, he succeeded.

Hall would have us believe that Clinton's draft dodge was heroic because he said that he opposed the Vietnam War.

What the commentary does not mention is that Clinton's military service need not have included combat duty.

Moreover, Clinton did not refuse to serve in the U.S. military, which might have required courage. Clinton avoided military duty by a series of premeditated, deceptive actions that he later denied and attempted to conceal.

If everyone were to follow the Clinton-Hall criteria for military service, the history of this nation would likely be very different.

I agree with Hall about one thing: Clinton missed an important chance -- but not the one suggested. The opportunity he missed was to apologize for his cowardice and to beg forgiveness.

Had he done so, he would have gone a long way toward redeeming himself.

`Christopher B. Costello

Baltimore

Some old sites can't be made 5 accessible to all

Reading your article on the Cloisters being charged with discrimination against the handicapped brought on many mixed feelings ("Cloisters charged with bias against disabled," June 4).

What it immediately brought to mind was a trip our family took to England last year. In England, history and "historic" places are everywhere. You can't go half a mile without running into some historic trust or historically significant castle, church, fort, etc.

While there, something struck both me and my wife. If England were the United States, up to 90 percent of all "historic" attractions would be forced to close. Few churches or cathedrals, and almost no castles or forts, are even remotely "accessible" to the disabled by American standards.

At one site where Merlin's cave is supposedly located, hundreds of surf-washed steps with few or no hand rails wound up a steep cliff to a fort hanging over the ocean.

My wife and I both joked that if it were located in the U.S., lawyers would be hanging around every staircase and cliff -- which had absolutely no guard rails -- handing out cards to people who "slipped" or suffered "significant" damage or were discriminated against due to inaccessibility.

The vast majority of people are genuinely good, and would not knowingly or purposefully discriminate against anyone. In new construction every effort should be made to accommodate everyone within reason.

However, this country has too many lawyers and fanatical do-gooders who want "equal" treatment everywhere for everyone. Life just isn't that simple.

The Cloisters' most viable option, given their current location, is to shut down until 1996 or 1997.

This may make one or two lawyers or handicapped advocates happy, but I think it would sadden thousands of others, including the vast majority of the handicapped.

Ken Erickson

Catonsville

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