Child left special ed, took rightful place, thanks to Dr...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 03, 1998

Child left special ed, took rightful place, thanks to Dr. Berger

I may not agree with everything Stuart Berger did during his tenure as superintendent of the Baltimore County public schools, but I was very grateful for what he did for my daughter ("Ousted Balto. Co. schools chief speaks at daughter's graduation," May 22).

Because of Dr. Berger, Annie graduated on the stage of Towson High School, instead of on the stage of a special education school. She took her place with neighborhood friends and fellow Girl Scouts and was applauded by people who watched her grow and develop, people who probably never expected to see her on the stage of her neighborhood school.

It took 14 years for Annie to finally get there. She might not have gone to Towson had it not been for Dr. Berger's belief that all children should have the opportunity to learn from and with one another, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. His conviction that children belong in their neighborhood schools was Annie's ticket back to her community.

Next year, thanks to the leadership of Marjorie Rofel, the director of special education for our schools, Annie will be off to Towson University, participating in a new program for students with severe disabilities who need to focus on work and community living skills. She will be able to tell her 16-year-old sister about college and will enjoy many of the benefits of being on a campus with students her own age.

When I was in high school, it was not unusual for children like Annie to be institutionalized. Our experience with the school system has not been perfect, but I am thankful. The schools have provided my daughter opportunities, and the community has given its support.

Mary E. Scott

Towson

Father Roach is missed by his former city parishes

Bravo to Richard O'Mara on his accurate article about the brilliant and courageous priest, Father Michael J. Roach ("Exiled from his Eden," May 28).

As a parishioner who has worked, frustratingly, on the "transitioning" and "clustering" mentioned in the article, I have come to see that such clustering (destroying parish identities) will be even more disastrous to this archdiocese and the Roman Catholic Church in the city than the clustering of schools was in the 1970s.

Indeed, there is a shortage of priests, but there also appears to be a misallocation of the resources we have. And if dear Father Roach misses his city parishes, he should know how much we worshipers in Southwest Baltimore miss him and how we yearn to have him back among us.

Mildred M. Finck

Baltimore

New York values parkland, so should Harford County

After reading The Sun's editorial ("Bel Air's last stand," May 27) concerning the opposition to developing the 11 acres of woods behind the Bel Air schools complex, I decided to call New York City to let them know that Central Park is a waste of prime land.

I explained how The Sun had proffered such an argument in response to our community group's effort to save the last 11 acres of undisturbed woodland in my hometown. Because New York is used to dealing with eccentrics, they were very matter of fact in telling me that Central Park, with the open spaces and wildlife habitat it provides, is worth the sacrifice in terms of development dollars.

As a member of the group protesting Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann's proposal to build on Wakefield Woods, I took great comfort in the fact that one of the biggest cities in the world has deemed it important to set aside land solely on the need for green.

As The Sun pointed out in its editorial, the group protesting the destruction of the woods has its heart in the right place, but this group is also very much aware of the economics. As homeowners in Harford County, we have to protect the environment that makes living here a desirable thing.

When the developers -- oops, I mean the shelter industry -- promote buying a home in Harford, trees and meadows figure prominently in their ads. When the time comes for me to sell my Bel Air home, I want to be able to tell prospective buyers honestly that this county is a great place to live. In my mind, saving this last stand of old growth forest is a step in the right direction.

Pamela M. Cobo

Bel Air

Victims fell on both sides of N. Ireland 'troubles'

As an Irish reader of your paper, I strongly welcome the peace settlement in Northern Ireland. This settlement would have been impossible without the help and support of many millions of Irish-Americans and people from Ulster.

A letter to the editor ("N. Ireland nationalists were the real victims under Britain's rule," May 29) has an interesting perspective on the settlement. However, the letter writer's views contain serious inaccuracies and leave many questions unanswered.

Chief among them is the assertion that nationalists have been the exclusive victims of the past 25 years of Irish Republican Army violence. All of us here in Ireland, nationalist and unionist, have been victimized by violence.

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