Teen Day Care: It's Their Problem. . . According to an...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 02, 1995

Teen Day Care: It's Their Problem

. . . According to an article in The Sun for Carroll County on March 15, the Carroll County School Board is seeking input from citizens regarding the pilot day care program at Westminster High School.

The quote by the director of the Youth Services Bureau -- "If we don't do this, what will we do?" -- is very telling.

Assuming the "we" means the Carroll County school system, the logical answer would be "nothing."

This is not within the realm of public education. The responsibility for the actions of underage children falls squarely on the shoulders of their parents. This includes the parents of the underage mothers, as well as the teen fathers. The care of infants at taxpayer-funded day care centers, conveniently located at Westminster High School, is certain ly not the answer.

When these young men and women chose to engage in activity for which they obviously were not ready, they put themselves in a position to reap the consequences of their actions. The babies that result from this premature activity are the responsibility of their parents and grandparents who are still legally and morally responsible for their underage children.

Is it cruel to expect these young people to shoulder the responsibility of their actions? The young men who make an adult decision to possibly father a child should now take on the responsibility to provide for his child.

Marriage would certainly be appropriate. A full or part-time job to pay for day care instead of compact discs, or providing some child care, while the other teen parent studies for a general equivalency diploma or attends the local high school, are appropriate choices. Postponing college, career goals and the carefree joys of youth come with the territory.

Child support from the responsible parties who refuse to marry is appropriate.

Does this sound harsh, cumbersome? Precisely. The responsibility of being parents is hard. Welcome to the real world. The message this sends to other young people contemplating intimate relations is clear: Don't make adult decisions before you are ready to face adult consequences.

It is not the function of taxpayer-supported public education to fund conveniently located day care centers on high school campuses. The initial cost of $125,000 for the building surely does not include modifications necessary to meet state requirements for day care centers.

What about maintenance, repair and liability? As with many other well-meaning social programs, the number of teen mothers involved will escalate according to studies and common sense.

There are 53 teen mothers presently slated for the program. How many next year, or three years from now? As the County Commissioners are contemplating raising the piggyback tax from 50 percent to 60 percent, this ill-conceived, inappropriate program would be an additional burden on the Carroll taxpayer.

Helga Nicholls

Westminster

Legislators Protecting Us, not Rich Developers

I am writing in response to Brian Sullam's column of March 12 in The Sun for Carroll County. His viewpoint would be interesting -- if it was not out in left field.

As a struggling business, the EnterTRAINment Rail line has experienced many financial difficulties since starting out on its proverbial "shoestring."

There are no entertainment taxes levied on any other such rail line in the state, nor by any other town serviced by an EnterTRAINment Line. Your comparison of golf courses, movie theaters and video arcades is entirely different than a railway. They remain in one spot whereas the train moves through other towns and counties.

The commercial rail lines in this state are, in fact, subsidized. Therefore, Union Bridge and Westminster were unfair in their expectation of assessing and collecting tax revenues from such a source in the first place. There never should have been taxes for that, let alone back taxes. The tax was an ill-conceived piece of legislation in the first place. Senators Larry Haines and Tim Ferguson are only trying to correct it.

As to your statement regarding the reforestation bill that delegates Anita Stup, Donald Elliott and Joseph Getty are only interested in helping the developer, that's ridiculous. . . .

I hate to see large areas of woods destroyed in order to build houses for the city dweller to immigrate to the country. These people come to the country to get away from the city problems, only to overpopulate our schools, congest our roads and demand everything they previously had, hence creating the same problems they left. They turn their kids loose while they commute back to the city to work, leaving their kids, especially teen-agers, unsupervised for even longer periods of time, believing they're safe. But that's another story.

Personally, I would like to see all construction stopped -- residential, commercial and industrial. I have watched a once beautiful area turn into a sprawling mass of buildings, cars, trucks and people. But that would be selfish on my part.

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