Schools were right to force out principal over threat to...

Letters to the Editor

November 11, 1998

Schools were right to force out principal over threat to pupil

Regarding your story "Principal loses job for threat to student" (Nov. 7), I have only one word for the action taken against the principal of that school -- bravo!

Removing Colyn Harrington from her position was justifiable, even if she had intentions that might have been good. The fact is, she still went above and beyond her authority as the school principal and out of the boundaries of her job description by playing psychologist to the child in question.

Had she stopped to consider that she could have referred the child to professionals trained in psychology and social work? Wasn't a counselor in the school at the time?

It seems as if teachers and other faculty members who are not counselors, including principals, ought to defer to the people paid to deal with the well-being of the child's mental health rather than attempt to remedy it with old-school tactics. It's like foregoing surgery for a cure-all tonic.

You don't hand ask a lawyer to perform emergency surgery, you don't tell a doctor to prosecute a criminal and you don't send a teacher to do a psychologist's job.

Dave Eddings

College Park

Perhaps 8-year-old needed scare tactic

I read with great interest a story about Colyn Harrington losing her job because she "threatened to cut off a child's penis." The child, age 8, was making sexually explicit comments to female classmates.

I read about a person who truly seems to care about children, especially this little boy. Years from now, when this child is still getting away with sexual rudeness, we may well remember that someone cared very much for him and tried, in vain, to help him.

Scare tactics? Perhaps. But everyone admits the child has not been in any way injured, physically or emotionally. So, maybe an 8-year old who engages in such language needs a few scare tactics. Maybe the zero tolerance we speak about should include some scare tactics.

Mrs. Harrington has had a perfect record for 40 years of service. In my book, her record is still perfect, and I would be thankful if she were the principal in a school my kids attended.

Pat Long


Accepting football star, rejecting yearbook staffer

Two weeks ago, I read an article about a girl from West Virginia who was living with an aunt, her legal guardian, and attending a Howard County high school ("Girl's plans for school cut short," Oct. 29). Last week, I read about a boy from New York who is living with a family and attending another Howard County high school ("A better day, a clearer future," Nov. 4).

Both families apparently live in and pay taxes to Howard County. Both families are trying to help a teen better his or her situation. Both appear to be providing a loving and caring environment.

However, the school system removed the girl from school, asking that her family pay tuition. Meanwhile, the boy is allowed to attend school tuition-free.

On the surface, these appear to be compelling cases that should permit both to attend Howard County public schools without charge. The difference appears to be that the girl aspires to be on the yearbook staff while the boy is a star on the football team. Something seems wrong with this picture.

George Evans


Shaping up 'The Body' for run at presidency

I'm sorry to see only negative stories about the new governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, going so far as to repeat the disgruntled comment, "Maybe we should all move to Wisconsin."

The election of Mr. Ventura is not an isolated, or even recent, phenomenon. The independent governor of Maine handily won re-election, and Rep. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent, was sent to Congress for a fifth term. So the American people are clearly sick of the current two-party stranglehold on the election process.

On Nov. 3, finding myself confronted again at the voting booth by the rehashed losers from the last election, I stepped inside, held my nose and voted for the lesser of two evils.

If the Reform Party were to field a candidate in Maryland in the next election, that person would certainly have my vote. As for Governor-elect Ventura's future, if it came down to a contest between Al "Where's My Pulse" Gore and George "I Swear I'm Not My Daddy" Bush, the choice is clear: Jesse "The Body" for president.

William Smith


Given an election in which the Reform Party gained its first governor and the independent gubernatorial candidate in Maine gained more votes than the Democratic and Republican parties combined, I feel that it is highly irresponsible of The Sun not to report the full voting results of all the gubernatorial and congressional races of Nov. 3.

Your selective listing of only the top two parties in these elections forced you to dismiss all performance of the Democratic Party in Maine and Minnesota.

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