Parent must control unruly school conductLet me get this...

LETTERS

June 18, 1996

Parent must control unruly school conduct

Let me get this straight.

Jerrell Murray, a solidly-built six-year-old, has had problems since pre-school. He has assaulted teachers, administrators and other students. He has a history of being disruptive.

A psychologist suggests special education services and counseling for aggressive behavior by someone prepared to intervene physically. His parents have been unable to attend meetings to discuss Jerrell's progress and school board member Robert Dashiell wonders how a school system can allow a child's problems to reach this stage. He says: "So much for Baltimore County education."

I submit there's not a whole lot that can be done without a parent's cooperation. I also suggest that all parents of children who have been harmed by this unruly student should contact Mr. Dashiell immediately to express their concerns.

Perhaps Mr. Dashiell should use his educational expertise and volunteer to work with Jerrell Murray. That way Mr. Dashiell would get first-hand experience, instead of condemning the school system unjustly.

So much for Mr. Dashiell.

Mary Lee A. Stritch

Abingdon

Private lives out of date

Center Stage's brilliantly staged and deliciously performed version of Noel Coward's "Private Lives" is presented as very much a period piece, inseparable from the 1930s of its authorship.

Funny thing, though: the most dated thing aspect of the play ---far more dated than the costumes, the sets, the punctuation-by-cigarette of Coward's witty exchanges -- lay in the exchanges themselves.

Somehow watching boozy men slap boozy women around the stage on the Cowardly grounds that "some women need to be struck repeatedly, like gongs," just isn't all that funny any more.

Clarinda Harriss

Baltimore

Naval Academy action supported

I take great umbrage with your June 6 editorial concerning the Honor Code at the U.S. Naval Academy. According to you, Midshipman Naomi Jackson is being persecuted for bringing charges against another midshipman for sexual assault. According to you, "missing a dinner in order to study and then lying about it hardly seems an expellable offense."

Ms. Jackson was a senior and had been exposed to the high standards of conduct expected of all midshipmen for four years. Her "fib" as you called it, did no harm and she admitted to it.

According to you, she should be allowed to continue and ultimately be commissioned. If she felt no requirement to tell the truth on such a small matter, then I fear that lying on larger matters will be much easier in the future.

Trust is essential in the military, especially when people's lives may depend on it. Perhaps the Navy in general and the Naval Academy in particular would be having fewer difficulties if the standards established for over 151 years had been more closely followed.

When the "little things," as you seem to imply, are allowed to go uncontested, then much greater transgressions follow. I applaud the Academy for its action and hope that this is the start of re-enforcing those traits that made the Academy and the Navy great.

J. Myers

Sparks

County school system needs elected leaders

I wholeheartedly agree with your May 24 editorial, "Safety net for failure." The egregious bureaucracy of the Baltimore County public school system should not be protecting its incompetent managers. The recent Deer Park Elementary School mess was bad enough, but the school board's defense of Faith Hermann was reprehensible.

As a parent of two children in the county school system, I started attending school board meetings a while ago to try to comprehend the decline of what was one of the best school systems in the country 30 years ago to what we have today.

I have not been impressed, to say the least, with what I have seen thus far.

I have witnessed board president Calvin Disney make erroneous statements concerning curriculum.

I have listened to board member Robert Dashiell's claim that "white racism" is to blame for African-American under-achievement.

But the ultimate insult to my intelligence came at the May 7 meeting when the school board staunchly defended Ms. Hermann's actions in the Deer Park fiasco by saying she was placed in a position (facilities director) she didn't ask for.

Mr. Disney went on to commend Ms. Hermann and her staff, comparing her to Winston Churchill. I was offended by the arrogance of Mr. Disney and the board members who lavished praise upon her for her outstanding career, while she sat smugly at the head of the board table.

I sat bewilderedly as these misguided educrats, responsible for our children's future, rambled on. They are clearly out of touch with reality: Where else could you royally mess up, try to cover it up, get caught, then be rewarded with a newly created position making $78,000 a year?

As a parent of a fourth-grader who is below grade level in reading and writing, I am definitely not happy Ms. Hermann is now a member of the already unstable curriculum department.

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