Work on low scores, not on punishing kids who drink...


January 16, 2000

Work on low scores, not on punishing kids who drink

Call it the right to privacy, or parental responsibility or minding their own business.

The Carroll County Public Schools overstep their authority when they intrude into the social actiaties of students outside of school in non-school related activities. To be sure, teenage drinking and drug abuse is a serious problem. Educating youngsters about these destructive activities lies within the purview of the school's responsibility. Policing the community should not.

How many Carroll County high school students were in possession or constructive possession of alcohol over the Christmas break, particularly New Years Eve? For the juniors and seniors, my guess is well over 50 percent. How many had a glass of wine with dinner, some champagne at midnight, or were in proximity to others under the age of 21 who consumed or possessed alcohol? They're all guilty.

Should school administrators ferret out all the guilty parties? Forget about improving instruction (the primary task of administrators in Baltimore County), or maintaining a safe and orderly leaming environment, or preparing registration materials for the 2000-2001 school year.

School administrators can spend the next two weeks conning students into ratting on their buddies and scrutinizing videos and photos of New Years Eve parties to collar every single culprit.

A side benefit will be the money saved by the school system after cancelling all extracurricular activities for the rest of the year due to a lack of eligible participants after the disciplinary bloodbath.

What the Carroll County Public Schools should really focus on is academic excellence. While the county touts its scores on tests such as the Maryland State functional tests and MSPAP, performance on measures of excellence such as Advanced Placement, the SAT, National Medt Scholars, and Maryland Distinguished Scholars is subpar giwn the demographics of the population.

High school administrators in Carroll County, particularly the principals, are outstanding educational leaders.

Their mandate from the school board should be focused, not on discipline students who somebody claims were at a party where underage kids were drinking beer, but on raising the educational standards for students and implementing strategies to enable the students to achieve these high standards.

Parents, and if necessary law enforcement agencies, should take care of the parties.

Dennis Sirman, Westminster

The writer is assistant principal at Loch Raven High School.

Carroll County school students may have to suffer the consequences of their actions at two recent New Year's Eve parties ("School eyes bans after two parties," Jan. 6).

Carroll County school policy says students may not use alcohol or be in situations where underage drinking occurs on or off premises. The state of Maryland says the legal drinking age is 21.

The parents are saying a variety of things from "we didn't know" to "it's ironic that kids who are not involved in anything have nothing to lose." These students are the responsibility of their parents, but where were the parents? They are supposedly older and wiser than their children. It seems that we have a serious problem in this county with underage drinking. When kids have to drink to have fun maybe it is time that the parents videotape one of their own parties to illustrate where the pattern began.

Parental neglect has its own consequences. You reap what you sow.

Charles Mullins, Sykesville

Gun raffle was baffling

Betty L. Smith deserves a pat on the back for resigning as vicechairwoman of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee over theirdecision to raffle a 9mm handgun to fill Republican campaign coffers. ("Raffle of gun leads GOP official to quit," Jan. 11) Hatsoff also to Ellen Sauerbrey and all Republican leaders who have opposed thisactivity.

I hope the Carroll County Republican Central Committee will be heldcriminally responsible should this gun be used by an angry spouse or adisgruntled teen to perpetuate the growing culture of violence in thiscountry.

Leslie B. Dietz, Manchester

No service in Carroll County

The Sun article ("Dissent grows in South Carroll," Jan. 9) by Brenda J. Buote and Mary Gail Hare stated what I have been seeing for years in the south county: high taxes and no services.

We are even charged to go to the dump while other counties provide pick-up services. But what really bothers me is all the waste of our tax money by the county commissioners as documented by The Sun when the Home Rule vice Commissioners vote was being discussed and voted upon.

But what really gets me upset is the unabated gall and arrogance of Commissioner Donald I. Dell who was heard to grumble "who asked you to move here?" Now I know why our complaints fall on deaf ears!

Arthur J. McCartin, Eldersburg

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