Crack down on truants and adult conspiratorsI am a retired...


November 19, 1997

Crack down on truants and adult conspirators

I am a retired educator who has become acutely aware of one of the greatest problems confronting the school systems: truancy. I would proffer the observation that parents and other adults are the major source of this illegal act.

Daily, as I travel through the Baltimore metropolitan area, I see an increasingly large number of adults with children who should be in school. I'm not talking about the occasional parent-child combination with a medical appointment. It is patently obvious that they have been allowed to remain out of school to accompany adults to the mall, supermarket, harbor, bank, gas station, convenience store, fast food restaurant and even the movies.

Some days, particularly in the Towson area, I could populate a small school with the number of truant children I see. Make no mistake, if children are not returned to school after necessary appointments, they are truant.

When this first became obvious I contacted the Baltimore County PTSA Board to have them put pressure on malls to disallow students during the school day. Obviously, there was no follow-up.

Local governments should consider putting pressure on businesses where truancy is most flagrant. Legislation is needed if voluntary compliance is not forthcoming. These adults surely have no concern for their children's education, much less the lesson they are teaching -- that breaking the law is permissible.

Gary C. Harn


Mount Saint Mary's has the tavern

It feels embarrassing to have to point this out, but your Nov. 14 editorial, "Taverns on campus," praised the wrong college. It is Mount Saint Mary's College that operates a campus pub, and the Mount's president, George Houston, who advocates taking away some of the "forbidden-fruit nature" of underage students drinking alcoholic beverages.

Without creating any negative implication about St. Mary's College, another fine Maryland institution, it should be made clear that your editorial (and the Nov. 10 story that ran with the correct identification, "On-campus taverns at Md. colleges keep drinking at home") was about The Mount.

Frank Buhrman


The writer is public relations director for Mount Saint Mary's College and Seminary.

Bay Foundation educates us all

As a biology and environmental science teacher, I can assure the writer of the Nov. 12 letter, "Not just farmers pollute the bay," that much of the "millions raked in from urbanites" by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has been used for education.

My students have benefited from the educational opportunities offered by the foundation for 10 years. Field trips, publications and curriculum enhancements cover such topics as urban run-off, problems caused by over-development, pollution from car exhaust and how to enhance urban habitats. This information is available to the public as well.

The foundation does periodically single out specific offenders responsible for bay degradation; it continually sends the message that we are all responsible.

Mary Beth Kircher


We should have got rid of Saddam Hussein

As the menacing figure of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein looms ever larger as a threat to world peace, it is interesting to recall a recent television interview with former President George Bush.

He was asked whether he regrets not taking out Saddam Hussein as the allied forces hammered Iraq's retreating troops in the closing days of the Persian Gulf war.

Mr. Bush said he and his generals discussed that possibility and all agreed that such an action would mean guerrilla warfare inside one of the world's most heavily fortified defenses and the loss of many American lives. Besides, President Bush and his generals believed the dictator would be overthrown by his own people. Sadly, it never happened.

When the interviewer pointed out that Saddam Hussein's reign in office had far outlasted Bush's presidency, the former chief executive replied: "Yes, I never expected that."

One cannot help wondering, in view of the present crisis and the somewhat frayed relationship between the United States and its Arab partners in the gulf war, whether hindsight will prove that a golden opportunity was lost to rid the world of an evil monster at far less cost than now.

Albert E. Denny


Britons acted like O. J. verdict fans

Just as many people were disturbed by the joyful response of some Americans to the acquittal of O. J. Simpson, the reaction of some Britons to the reduced sentence of nanny Louise Woodward was equally troubling.

The judge and jury in the au pair's murder case found Ms. Woodward contributed to the death of little Matthew Eappen. It was unseemly of the public to react as though Britain had won a football match.

David A. Wellman


Incinerators add to water impurities

Now that there is an awakening by the public to the Pfiesteria problems noted in the rivers and bay, perhaps the various city, county and state governmental officials will stop being blind to some factors impacting our waters.

Eventually, the discharges into rivers by so-called municipal solid waste incinerators and the municipal solid waste "residue" brought into our land-fill disposal sites, both lined and unlined, will adversely impact our drinking water if enhanced monitoring is not instigated.

There appears to be some monitoring of air quality at the incinerators, but liquid discharge is neglected. Any waste-water monitoring appears to be done only by the incinerator operator.

It appears that a minimum of three incinerators between Baltimore and Harrisburg discharge into the Susquehanna River, which is a source for Baltimore's and surrounding areas' drinking water.

Leonard Billian


Pub Date: 11/19/97

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