Looking past black student expulsion figuresAnne Arundel...

Letters

August 16, 1998

Looking past black student expulsion figures

Anne Arundel County school administrators recently released figures indicating that although black students comprise only 18 percent of the student population, they accounted for 38 percent of the number of students who were expelled during the 1997-1998 school year.

Based solely upon these statistics, civil rights activists are declaring that the school system is obviously doing something wrong. But let's look at some facts:

In 1991, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights investigated a bias complaint against our school system filed by the Anne Arundel County Coalition of Tenants. It found no bias in our discipline process.

In 1993, school Superintendent Carol Parham accepted a federal plan to prevent racial bias in discipline cases and established an oversight committee to review expulsion cases. This committee still meets and continues its oversight responsibility.

The Anne Arundel County Coalition of Tenants still monitors our disciplinary process and has stated publicly that it has no intention of filing another complaint.

With overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it is unfair to suggest that our educators are racially biased. I contend that it's time to stop indicting our school teachers and administrators for taking decisive disciplinary action. To the contrary, I applaud them.

Robert Russell

Gambrills

The writer is a Republican candidate for House of Delegates in District 33.

Celebrate 35th year of King's dream

This month marks the 35th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. Carl Snowden is spearheading an effort to celebrate this anniversary. He is joined by a number of community organizations and individuals. These groups and individuals include Unity Now, Anne Arundel Community College, the county chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Black Political Forum and numerous elected officials.

Many people will remember that on Aug. 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic "I have a dream" speech. That speech changed forever America. It continues to inspire people today.

In February, more than 1,000 people gathered in Annapolis to protest the Ku Klux Klan and to promote racial harmony. We were joined by Gov. Parris N. Glendening, Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Gary, Jr. and Annapolis Mayor Dean L. Johnson.

At 6: 30 p.m. Aug. 25 at Anne Arundel Community College's Pascal Theater, hundreds of citizens are again expected to join in celebrating our diversity and Dr. King's dream. This event is open to the public. I would encourage all elected officials and candidates for public office to join in this historic celebration.

On a personal note, last year the citizens of Ward 6 elected me as the first black woman to serve on the Annapolis City Council. In many ways, I believe my election is an indication that the dream of Dr. King is becoming a reality in our city and society. Dr. King fought for equality for all citizens.

We have an opportunity to thank the courageous citizens from our city and county who marched with Dr. King 35 years ago. Please join us on Aug. 25 for an evening of celebration, racial harmony and peace, as we honor the dream.

If you or your group would like to be listed as a co-sponsor, please call 410-541-2313. I look forward to seeing you on Aug. 25.

Cynthia Abney Carter

Annapolis

The writer is an Annapolis City Council alderman in Ward 6.

Bike trails offer more than a route

I liked Brian Sullam's column on the bike trail through Poplar Park in Annapolis. It will be a leg of the South Shore Bike trail from Odenton to Annapolis.

There are always people against development of bike trails. When they developed the B&A Trail in the Severna Park and Arnold area, people were against it. I gave the county Recreation and Parks Department a study of Seattle after that trail was developed. Seattle residents didn't have problems with bikers. The value of their property went up. They walked or biked the trail. There are very few problems on the B&A Trail. Volunteers and police cycle it to help people that may have problems. About 1,500,000 bike it every year.

The Linthicum people were against development of the BWI bike trail to the light rail station. After we reported that it would reduce the vehicle parking problem in the area, they voted to support a bike trail to Linthicum station. I met a man who bikes the trail to Glen Burnie every morning. We had not ridden in 20 years before the trail was developed.

I have met several adults who commute to work in Annapolis on their bikes from Arnold and Severna Park on the B&A Trail. There are two bicycle clubs in Annapolis, the Annapolis Bicycle Club and Naval Academy Bicycle club.

On Sept. 20, the Annapolis Bicycle Club will have a 24-mile tour of Annapolis. About 300 bikers participated last year.

John T. Overstreet

Severn

The writer is chairman of safety awareness for the Baltimore Bicycling Club Inc.

Elected board better for school system

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