Inmate asks for access to her childrenMy name is Scarlete...

LETTERS

January 21, 1996

Inmate asks for access to her children

My name is Scarlete Billingsley. I am an inmate at Maryland Correctional Institution for Women. I am in here for Controlled Dangerous Substance prosecution.

The reason I am writing you is because I have been in here since Dec. 4, 1995. I was in Baltimore City Jail since Oct. 5, 1995. I have four children ages 4, 5, 8 and 10 that I have not seen since September. They are in foster care.

Their foster care worker will not let me see them while I'm in jail. I have rights, so I thought. I need to see my children. I have no way to write to them, to let them know how much I miss and love them. They are all I have and I'm all they have. I need to see them or know somewhere I can write them.

When I was sentenced in front of the Honorable K. Sweeney, District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City, she stated that if I was to finish two weeks of rehabilitative counseling and acupuncture for substance abuse, she would suspend my remaining sentence. I have completed it.

So why am I still in jail? I have no money, no one to send me any.

All I would like for you to do is to let my children know that I love them and miss them, if you can let them know through the paper.

Thank you for your time and your ear. Their names are Joshua, Justine, Jasmine and Jason.

Scarlete Billingsley

Jessup

School board bill a better alternative

I do not share Elise Armacost's fears of a stacked, renegade school board nominating convention submitting the names of inferior candidates to the governor ("Picking a school board: a dispute that won't die," Jan. 7).

Moreover, in my letter to the editor of Dec. 10, I indicated that I supported county executive appointment of school board members and noted the "sensible dose of accountability" such appointment would provide.

A fairer commentary by Ms. Armacost would have acknowledged this information, as well as the fact that the proposal to limit the governor to the top three selections of the school board nominating convention was not a first-choice recommendation.

Rather, it was one that resulted from a consensus effort to re-engage and empower the school board nominating convention, recognizing that the votes for county executive appointment of board members have, to date, been elusive.

John R. Leopold

Pasadena

The writer is vice chairman of the Anne Arundel County legislative delegation.

Blockbuster of a blizzard

The Blizzard of '96 was in its fourth day with more snow on the way: The Sun didn't arrive until the second day. The once stalwart mailmen did not arrive until the third day, and we still haven't even seen a county plow on our block yet.

But after almost a week in the house with an active 9-year-old, I'm proud to say that our neighborhood Blockbuster movie store has been open each and every day throughout the storm. My stocking cap is off to them, especially to the young lady who slept on the floor overnight in order to be open the next day. She deserves a big raise.

Bill Eggert

Severna Park

Why don't we hear about kids this good?

Not a day goes by without reading or hearing about violence in our schools -- shootings, rapes, thefts, murders. It would appear to the average reader that this world is filled with nothing more than uncaring, unfeeling, unhappy children.

I believe it is time that the average reader knows that this is not true. Why is it that only the bad is headlined and not the good?

Is our society so hung up on the evils of the world that they have to be given top billing? Did anyone stop to think about what would happen if we only heard and read about the good? Would we not be promoting good and letting it be known that the bad will not be glorified?

I consider myself extremely fortunate to be associated with a wonderful group of young adults -- high school students, who not only are great kids, but are intelligent and talented.

This group, known as the Chesapeake Theatre Group, owns a wealth of talent. Through their adult leaders and parents-in-support, they have not only been able to display their talents on stage and off, they have learned responsibility, not only for themselves but for others.

These kids not only act, wire for sound, develop scenery, sing and a multitude of other talents, most of them have jobs and manage to maintain the "B" average required of them. Many of these kids are honor students, maintaining straight "A's."

One example is the stage director. She is 16 years old, an "A" student, also an Honor Thespian, a member of the photography club, science club, all-county chorus, etc., and works 15-plus hours a week. All this and she still manages to find time to do volunteer work.

These kids are second to none, yet we allow them to be victims of a society that is enthralled with the evildoing of others.

Young adults of the Chesapeake Theater Group, I applaud you. Let no one stand in your way of being the terrific people that you are.

To Walt and Judy and all the other parent volunteers, I thank you for being who you are and being there for these kids.

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