The abuse won't stop until protecting kids becomes a top...


January 07, 2002

The abuse won't stop until protecting kids becomes a top priority

Maryland's citizens face again the inexplicable horror of preventable infant mortality after two infants have reportedly died because of abuse ("Mother, 19, charged in death of her infant son," Dec. 18, and "Murder charge filed against man accused in infant son's death," Dec. 18).

In America, close to 1 million children have been victims of abuse and neglect. More then half the children suffering fatal maltreatment were younger than age 1, and almost 90 percent were under 6.

With too many children fatally or seriously injured or neglected, it is shocking that as a community we do not insist that more be done to prevent child maltreatment and safeguard babies.

Promising neonatal models do exist, and services are typically available to high-risk families. Good as they are, these programs fail to create an integrated, universal neonatal protection system for all of Maryland's children.

Americans change the world but seem reluctant to help babies who live across town, or next-door. But we will continue to hear about the injury and death of infants and children until we affirm child protection as a priority.

We must agree to create a culture that considers support for new parents a signal of strength, not a stigma. And we must recognize that protecting children is the responsibility of the parent, the family and the larger community.

Patricia K. Cronin


The writer is executive director of The Family Tree, a nonprofit group dedicated to preventing child abuse.

Medical community needs to give parents guidance

After the latest stories of child abuse, the silence from the pediatric medical community is deafening ("Mother, 19, charged in death of her infant son," Dec. 18, and "Murder charge filed against man accused in infant son's death," Dec. 18).

Saying nothing in light of these deaths makes the medical community appear to have given up on the future. It should be vocal and visible, and start guiding our newest parents in the correct direction.

Lynn S. Bacharach


Parents must make sure children are ready to learn

When people in the media and public want to say that teachers are not doing their jobs, they should take a closer look at the picture of Arnetta Hall's class at Lombard Middle ("Lombard's youngsters pushing their pencils," Dec. 20).

Ms. Hall is smartly dressed, has a pencil in hand and is walking around the classroom providing individual tutoring. In contrast, four students need to hold their heads up. Two more are lying across their desks. Pencils are not even visible.

This is what teachers face every day. Even the presence of a newspaper camera did not catch the students' attention.

Parents of these students should be angered by their children's behavior.

Peg Karow


The writer is a retired middle school teacher and counselor.

Unraveling Rivera's boasts does a great public service

As a Sun reader for many years, I am proud of and grateful to David Folkenflik for speaking out against Geraldo Rivera's effort to weave himself into the ever-expanding fabric of hero-myths surrounding Sept. 11 and the Afghan war ("Reports of war draw fire to Fox," Dec. 15).

Mr. Folkenflik's unraveling of Mr. Rivera's specious claim that he was on the "hallowed ground" where U.S. soldiers suffered friendly fire has drawn national attention. His alert, critical eye is a precious asset at a time when information about the war on terrorism is spun through a small number of hands.

By snapping the thread of Mr. Rivera's falsification, Mr. Folkenflik has done a great public service, and vindicated the relevance of print media in the so-called information age of electronic blather.

I sincerely hope The Sun stands by its story and its reporter in this controversy.

Mark Chalkley


Geraldo Rivera has said The Sun "impugned his integrity" by reporting the details of his phony "friendly fire" story aired on the Fox News Channel.

How can you impugn something that does not exist?

William Smith


Destruction of Israel remains Hamas' goal

By referring to Israel as "the occupied land of 1948," Hamas makes perfectly clear its rejection of the generous peace proposal made by the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, in which he offered the Palestinians control of 97 percent of Judea, Samaria and Gaza as well as joint control of Jerusalem ("Suicide bombings called off by Hamas," Dec 22).

It is obvious that Hamas' goal is the complete destruction of Israel, and the return to pre-1948 borders - under which Israel did not exist.

Samuel Zygler


Sinn Fein's leader blossoms into a dedicated democrat

The Sun's editorial attacking Gerry Adams as an "anti-democratic revolutionary" shows ignorance of his political transformation in recent years ("Gerry Adams' Cuba policy," Dec. 20).

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