Not enough vouchers or space to go around for Southern 0...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 27, 1998

Not enough vouchers or space to go around for Southern 0) students

The environment at Southern High School is unacceptable, but Gregory Kane's "Vouchers couldn't damage Southern High education" (Nov. 1) is dead wrong in stating that vouchers are the perfect solution.

Here's why. It is unrealistic to think that private school space exists for more than a handful of Southern's students. And frankly, most, if not all, private schools wouldn't even take the troublemakers. Vouchers might help a few motivated students escape, but that leaves behind hundreds, if not thousands of students still fearing Stairwells 5 and 6, the first floor and the eruption of fights.

As Mr. Kane states, parents want a safe, clean, Philistine-free environment for their children. They can and should be able to get it at Southern and every other Baltimore City public school.

Mr. Kane should take note of the comments of a parent whose daughter now attends Southern, regarding a suggestion made to send her daughter to a nearby county public school in "School officials grapple for control," (Oct. 31): "Why should I have to send my daughter away to get an education?"

Job No. 1 should be to fix Southern the right way. Schools chief Robert Booker must back up with action his announcement for zero-tolerance policy for violence and disruptive students.

The "fix" also requires small class sizes, more qualified teachers, a curriculum based on high academic standards and extra help for failing students.

Marietta English

Baltimore

The writer is president of The Baltimore Teachers Union.

Angelos wrongly enriched by litigation 'gravy train'

Peter G. Angelos is again riding the litigation gravy train to reap a windfall. ("Maryland to join tobacco settlement," Nov. 21).

The potential for a $600 million fee for Angelos, out of funds supposedly destined for victims of smoking, is sickening. There can be no justification for fees of this magnitude except insatiable, boundless greed and, given his record, perhaps a high degree of arrogance.

L. William Hott

% Shepherdstown, W. Va.

Toll dollars helping pay for Bay Bridge improvements

In a letter to the editor ("Are Bay Bridge tolls used for its upkeep?" Nov. 5), Ted Knowles expressed concern about rust he observed on the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Chesapeake Bay) Bridge and questioned how toll dollars collected at this facility are used.

Toll dollars at the authority's seven facilities, including the Bay Bridge, are pooled to pay for maintenance, operation and capital improvements to all these facilities and are being used to refurbish the Bay Bridge. Last summer, the authority began the first phase of a five-year, $76 million project to clean and paint the eastbound span. Strict environmental guidelines for removing the original lead paint and doing the work at off-peak traffic times to minimize disruption to our customers add to the substantial cost of the work.

Although the rust spots make the 46-year-old bridge look less attractive, they have not weakened its structural integrity. The new zinc-based paint will protect the steel structure and restore the aesthetic quality that Marylanders associate with the Chesapeake Bay crossing.

For our customers' convenience, we have established a toll-free number for questions about the painting project and for up-to-the-minute traffic conditions at the bridge: 1-888-288-1560.

Thomas L. Osborne

Baltimore

The writer is executive secretary of the Maryland Transportation Authority.

Lack of understanding about attention disorder

The letter "Maryland's low Ritalin use shows discerning parents" (Nov. 20) demonstrates a total lack of knowledge and understanding of the disorders known as attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The writer obviously has never known a child or family that has dealt with the associated problems.

I find the writer's notion that the use of Ritalin -- prescribed by physicians for children diagnosed with ADD or ADHD -- places these children in a perpetual drugged state as nightmarish to be a cavalier statement.

I wonder if one could or should extrapolate from the letter that men who take Viagra for sexual dysfunction or women who take hormones during and after menopause are also in a perpetual drugged state.

The original article, "Ritalin use low in Md. schools" (Nov. 15), suggests that that missed diagnoses are the reason for the low use of this drug in our state. Parents often become accustomed to their child's behavior, and often do not recognize problems for what they are.

Parents may find ways to deal with their children inside the home, but when children enter school, they are not in controlled environments.

Children must behave in an acceptable way so that everyone in the class class will learn. If after extensive testing and observation, a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD is made, why not use what has been proven to work?

C. R. Wilson

Sparks

No more minds will change, vote on impeachment now

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