Kids deserved a second high school
It is just unconscionable that our school board, which is supposed to look out for the best interest of all Carroll County's children, has voted to approve only one high school -- that being in the South Carroll area.
The new Westminster area high school planning stage will be put off until after the year 2000, with an occupancy date of 2006, at which time the projected student enrollment will be 600 more than the capacity of 2,000.
This means the extra students will be redistricted to the South Carroll area. Only problem is: Where will they go? The projections for a new high school in the south are that it would open at capacity with 1,200 in 2001.
It was Ann Ballard who had the courage to suggest that a two-high school option be considered. And the majority of citizens who spoke at a facilities planning meeting agreed it was the best option. Board member Carolyn Scott concurred.
The three men on the panel believed that there was no way the county could or would fund two high schools, in addition to the other requests for construction, so why even try? They voted down the two-high school concept, 3-2.
I guess the South Carroll parents are happy. They will get what they want when they want it. But I would hope that they too are appalled at the lack of fortitude the majority of board members exhibited in promoting the best interests of the children of Carroll County.
As Ann and Carolyn stated, it is up to the school board to let the commissioners know what the construction needs are.
I am deeply saddened by this turn of events and hope that by next year, the Westminster parents and parents throughout the county will rally to make sure that the entire school board will vote in favor of the children's needs. And that the county commissioners will do the same.
But then again, maybe they won't. Next year is an election year, and you know how that goes.
Getting through 'Senior Week'
Congratulations. Your child is approaching one of those special milestones that you may remember from your own life, high school graduation. The choice of celebration and the amount of risk involved has changed dramatically for our young people.
Carroll County Public School students have been taught the best choice regarding drinking and premarital sex is abstinence. This message is conveyed through required programs in Health, Family Life and Human Development and AIDS education.
We know from past experiences, however, that without thought of consequences, alcohol and other drugs are used as a major part of the celebration that takes place during "Senior Week."
If your son or daughter will be celebrating in Ocean City, check out the place where she or he will be staying by contacting the owner or landlord. Develop a plan with your child to stay in touch with you during the week, and remind him or her of their responsibility regarding the care of the rental property. Be clear about your expectations.
Many resources are available to your family while your child is in Ocean City. The "Play It Safe" booklet that will be distributed in the senior packets contains important emergency information as well as coupons and ideas for many fun things to do.
Note that the Ocean City police have formed a partnership with motel and hotel operators to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors. The Parent Network is a program of community volunteers in Ocean City who are interested in the safety of youth while visiting the resort. You may call this network 24 hours a day at 410-723-3700 if you have concerns about your child or need other information.
Again, congratulations. You, too, have achieved a milestone with this graduation. We hope this information helps you and your graduate make it a healthy and safe one for all of us.
Joanne M. Hayes
The writers are, respectively, county prevention coordinator for Junction, Inc. and substance abuse prevention/school community coordinator for the Carroll County Public Schools.
Pub Date: 6/08/97