Hyperactivity's cause not behavioral drugs
As a pediatrician, I take issue with the Colorado Board of Education's resolution discouraging the use of medication to manage attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and associated behavioral disorders ("Kids' behavioral drugs at issue," Nov. 25).
The "Colorado Solution," to use "discipline and instruction" rather than medication for such disorders, is an impulsive reaction to a complex issue -- and is itself the type of thinking that often characterizes ADHD.
Kids with conduct disorders -- which are often the result of inadequately treated ADHD -- are like elephants crashing through the bush. One can stand in their path, trying to discern the reasons for their stampede, and be trampled -- or tranquilize them and then work on causation.
ADHD is not a volitional disorder. This means it can't be effectively addressed through instruction or discipline. Additional punishments only add to the assault on self-esteem that is characteristic of the disorder -- and create the anger and depression that accompany it. This approach is likely to exacerbate the disorder.
To conclude from the observation that many of the kids who have been involved in violent incidents were on medication that treating the disorders with medication is one of the reasons for the violence, is akin to saying that "football causes winter," because football season starts warm and ends with snow.
Dr. Alan M. Davick, Lutherville
Fifteen years later, disaster haunts Bhopal
I was pleased to see The Sun's coverage of the Bhopal gas disaster ("Ground water still polluted 15 years after Bhopal disaster," Dec. 2).
Many of us remember that Dec. 2 marked the 15th anniversary of the worst chemical disaster in human history.
That day, fifteen years ago, methyl isocyanate gas leaked from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. The leak killed an estimated 6,000 people and injured several thousand more.
The immediate casualties were quite gruesome, but the disastrous effects still linger.
Recent studies have shown that soil and ground water in this region remain severely polluted, posing significant long-term threats to humans, crops and livestock.
Quantifiable damages from the leak include the harm to the victims and their families, medical costs, environmental cleanup (including water, farmland, forests and wildlife habitats) and rehabilitation of people, homes, schools and factories.
Given the magnitude of the losses, setting aside a billion-dollar fund to address these issues would not be unreasonable. That may not address all the issues listed, but it would be a good start.
Pain and human suffering can never be fully compensated. However, Union Carbide and the global community, with the United States as its leader, can and must do something tangible.
Even after 15 years, a responsible American corporation must assume moral and economic responsibility for its actions.
A responsible nation must assume leadership and rally world forces to address a global disaster.
And a responsible United States Congress must ensure that U.S. laws will be upheld and that aid will be provided as necessary.
Pradeep Ganguly, Ellicott City
Section overlooked community colleges
In reading The Sun's Dec. 5 education supplement, I was disappointed to see a total disregard for Maryland's 16 community colleges. In many of the trends the supplement cited, such as the impact of technology on teaching and learning, community colleges are taking the lead.
May I suggest The Sun broaden the focus of future education supplements to include the region's community colleges, which are teaching people the skills necessary to be successful in a dynamic work environment.
These community colleges have a tremendous impact on the region. They serve students of diverse backgrounds, needs and interests.
In fact, the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) enrolls more than half of all Baltimore County residents attending undergraduate college.
The average age of these students is 33, and that doesn't include the many adults and seniors who enjoy our continuing education offerings.
Higher education is not just for 18- to 22-year-olds. Rapid societal and technological change has indeed made lifelong learning a necessity.
In addition, there is no question that Maryland's community colleges are an essential component of economic development effort in our state. CCBC alone partners with more than 175 companies for customized employee development training.
We prepare workers for technology and manufacturing careers as well as human services and health careers.
We offer a widely diverse curriculum at numerous locations in order to bring education to where people live and work.
Education is changing. Higher education, in particular, is changing dramatically. Every day we are breaking its mold, as we make the learning process one with continuing relevance to personal and professional development.