A principal who exemplifies what our schools could...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 13, 1999

A principal who exemplifies what our schools could become

How refreshing to read The Sun's front page article about Tom Bowmann, the principal of Baltimore's Thomas Johnson Elementary School ("One proud principal," Sept. 5).

The Sun's "Reading by 9" series often focuses on the negative aspects of reading classrooms and reporters often prescribe quick-fix solutions for children's reading difficulties.

But, as Mr. Bowmann's approaches prove, children learn best when teachers use a variety of the best practices in teaching reading -- and allow youngsters to read authentic books.

We salute one of Baltimore's finest and hope to read more positive stories about educational leaders in your city.

JoAnne Donovan, Berlin

Ms. Donovan, and the two others who signed this letter, teach first grade at Showell Elementary School in Worcester County.

How blessed Baltimore City is to have a school principal like Tom Bowmann at Thomas Johnson Elementary School.

Particularly noteworthy are Mr. Bowmann's extraordinary success in obtaining community support for an underfunded school and his personal and physical interactions with students.

Imagine if only one of 10 teachers and principals in the American public school system was as effective, dedicated, ingenious and inspiring.

What incredible schools we'd have.

Jack Dettner, Catonsville

Excessive force was used in Baltimore Co. shooting

The shooting of Tambra Eddinger is troubling (Baltimore Co. police kill woman in standoff," Sept 7).

Yes, she was armed; yes, she was intoxicated. But that does not necessarily make her enough of a threat to warrant the military-style raid on her house which led to her death.

Flash grenades, tear gas, commando outfits and automatic weapons are hardly necessary to subdue an intoxicated woman with a little .22 caliber gun.

If this had been a hostage situation, a raid might have been warranted.

As it was, a troubled woman was gunned down by an increasingly militarized police, when all they needed to do was wait her out.

Thane Bellomo, Baltimore

Is it unlawful in Baltimore County to argue with your spouse and get drunk and carry around a firearm in your home?

If not, what is the justification for a SWAT team of Baltimore County police using tear gas and lethal force against Tambra Eddinger in her own bedroom?

Unbelievable.

Phil Edmunds

Marty Edmunds, Boalsburg, Pa.

Everyone doesn't need religion to be moral

The Sun's article unsubtly denouncing atheism ("Court lets Texas girl make public prayer before game," Sept. 4) caused me much chagrin.

I have nothing against Christianity. But I'm very irritated by the suggestion that people like me are the reason for the country's moral backslide.

I work hard. I don't lie or steal. I make donations and do volunteer work. And I'm a life-long atheist.

I have never needed a god or a religion to tell me to do the right thing. For reasons unfathomable to me, some feel this makes me a monster out to deprive religious folk of their right to worship.

I don't pretend to understand this persecution complex developed by many Christians, but I don't like it.

In the article, Judge Sim Lake remarked that a Texas school preferred "atheism over any religious faith."

The school doesn't prefer atheism. It is simply not preferring Christianity, which is part of freedom of religion.

No law forbids prayer in public schools: it just can't be sanctified by any institution that receives state or federal funds.

This country is not universally Christian and those who choose not to follow that faith should not be vilified.

We should learn tolerance of all beliefs and lifestyles, rather than to fear those whose beliefs are different from our own.

If you need religion, you're welcome to it. But don't assume that everyone else needs it, too.

Jaime Kimpton, Baltimore

Even Roland Park people can think compassionately

As a lifetime resident of Roland Park, I paused between bites of gourmet hazelnut bruschetta at the kitchen table of my "grand" home to read The Sun's condescending article about what my neighbors shopping at Eddie's Supermarket of Roland Park think about the mayoral race ("These shoppers go O'Malley's way," Sept. 2).

In my experience, the people of Roland Park do occasionally purchase bread and milk at their local supermarket and do occasionally think compassionately about this city's politics.

I wish for the day when the fact that one happens to be white or well-educated will not prevent a devoted Baltimorean from being taken seriously.

Joelle G. Novey, Baltimore

Is Baltimore City to blame for Belvedere Sq.'s decline?

Thank you for the article on the closing of the Coffee Mill at the ghost town known as Belvedere Square ("Coffee Mill to close at Belvedere Square," Sept. 5).

The Coffee Mill had a delightful selection of merchandise and was a pleasure to patronize.

Proprietors Tom and Rosemary Thompson put much of the blame on the city for allowing the decline of the York Road corridor.

Unfortunately, the article did not elaborate about how, or if, the city was to blame.

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