School year begin after Labor DayI applaud Harford County...

Letters

September 06, 1998

School year begin after Labor Day

I applaud Harford County for waiting until after Labor Day to begin its public schools. I am disappointed that Howard and Carroll counties began theirs on Aug. 24. The hot, muggy, dog days of August are better suited for the beach than the classroom.

Late August is a top time for family vacations. Work schedules often don't permit earlier vacations. The combination of rough surf caused by hurricanes coupled with over half the Ocean City lifeguards having left for school may lead to drownings.

When planning the calendar, I encourage school boards to give public safety, summer vacations and business need for summer help a higher priority.

I wonder why Howard County couldn't have avoided closing schools on Sept. 4 for staff meetings. Why not have these meetings before school begins or on the Sept. 15 primary election day when schools are required to close anyway?

I also noticed that Howard County closes its schools two days in September for religious holidays.

Although accommodating religion is a worthy goal, there are many religions, and it may not be feasible to close schools for all religious holidays.

I would like to see the State Department of Education grant the local school boards more flexibility. A 180-day school year should be a goal rather than a mandatory requirement.

Families, business and public safety shouldn't be made to suffer because there are two election days, religious accommodation or a harsh winter that ends up requiring many school closings.

Jeffrey H. Marks

Baltimore

Speeding rampant near Fort Meade

So the Howard County police are concerned with speeders? If they really want to ring up some bucks, they're missing the mark by going after the people doing 38 mph in a 25-mph zone.

They ought to put a few unmarked cars on Route 32 south of the Route 29 intersection between 6: 15 a.m. and 8: 45 a.m. It's not uncommon to see people heading to work at Fort Meade doing 75 mph or above in a 55-mph zone.

In fact, the Anne Arundel County police could take advantage of this daily occurrence as well.

It seems that the posted speed limits in the Fort Meade area of Route 32 are there to be ignored.

Bob Jones

Randallstown

Curing old prejudices should be first concern

Your Opinion Commentary article by Martin Gottlieb, "Gay bashers can truly be cured" (Aug. 26), was very humorous and poignant.

I join Mr. Gottlieb in the hope that before we try to cure anyone of their sexual orientation we would concentrate first on curing people's fears and prejudices.

Marshall Rudo

Ellicot City

In defense of Stephen Drummond

I read with interest recent articles concerning the Howard County NAACP's criticism of the county school system's hiring practices ("NAACP requests removal of schools investigator," Aug. 29).

As an African American, I very much appreciate the watchdog role the group plays in our community.

I have no doubt that much of the injustice many people experience, regardless of color or ethnicity, would not come to light except for its vigilance.

Sometimes, however, I feel it, like many of us personally, goes overboard. I believe that has happened with their criticism of the system's hiring of Stephen Drummond.

I have known Stephen for more than 12 years. During the last seven, we worked closely.

He had been the police department's representative on my team for negotiating contracts with the police union. We also served together in another administrative capacity which required us to travel out-of-state at least once a year.

During that time, we discussed everything under the sun: family, profession, crime, racial prejudice, personal attitudes and motivations, etc.

I watched him in various interpersonal and social situations and can say without equivocation this man is not a racist.

I am not making excuses for or defending what he did. It was "stupid and insensitive" (his words, not mine).

I came back to work after an extensive vacation to find an e-mail from Steve apologizing for what had happened and asking to meet with me personally.

I didn't know what he was referring to until later after inquiring. He was publicly and privately embarrassed, but he responded forthrightly and appropriately. I would not have expected otherwise from him because I know him to be wholly professional and a man of integrity.

I believe the system has hired the right man for its new security position, the NAACP's concern notwithstanding. Let's leave him to get on doing the job he was hired for. Meanwhile, let the NAACP watch how well he does or does not do that job in relation to its concerns.

Cecil E. Bray

Columbia

Schrader's backers hardly 'anti-growth'

I have been told by Republican candidate for Howard County executive, Dennis R. Schrader, that he is the "anti-growth" candidate in Howard County. If this is true, why is he accepting campaign contributions from Cornerstone Homes, Washington Homes, Ryland Homes, Chateaux Builders, Grayson Homes, and Bruce Taylor, developer of Waverly Woods?

We have Bill Clinton in the White House to mislead us. We don't need Mr. Schrader in Howard County doing the same.

Mary C. Reese

Ellicott City

Pub Date: 9/06/98

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