Neighborhood school seeks state support As the parents...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 28, 2002

Neighborhood school seeks state support

As the parents of a first-grader at Mount Washington Elementary School (MWES), my wife and I could not be more thrilled that the school will move forward with plans to add sixth, seventh and eighth grades ("City board commits to middle school," May 15).

MWES is an example of urban public education that works. I don't think my daughter could find a finer education experience at any school in the area, public or private.

In a truly diverse atmosphere, MWES provides small classes with stellar teachers who are attentive to the needs of individual children. It is warm and homey - every time we walk in, we're greeted by name by everyone from the custodian to the principal.

The Sun reported that Yale Stenzler recommended the state deny capital improvement dollars to MWES because of insufficient enrollment ("$4.2 million to go to city schools work," May 9).

But while I wish more of my neighbors used our local school, one thing that holds them back is the lack of a middle school. And now, with the support of the school board, MWES is poised to grow. With any luck, more of my fellow Mount Washingtonians will use the school and come to love it as my family does.

I only hope that the state will recognize its success and support the school as courageously as the city has.

Joshua Neiman

Baltimore

Is school system in county top-heavy?

The article about the Baltimore County Council members berating the school system superintendent for being unresponsive indicated that the superintendent attended the hearing with about 30 members of his senior staff ("Balto. Co. lawmakers criticize Hairston," May 20).

Thirty? Maybe that is the problem. That sounds to me like about 25 members too many.

The council members should have questioned why so many senior people are needed to answer budget questions.

H. Glen Miller

Wiseburg

Gay students face harassment in dorms

According to Mona Charen, accommodating gay students' housing needs is yet another example of coddling victim groups ("Coed dorm makes room for gay students," Opinion Commentary, May 20).

I only wish she could meet some of these students, whose experiences include being subjected to verbal harassment, offensive graffiti, the display of (heterosexual) pornographic material on their bed and threats - all by roommates.

In the case of one student I know well, the solution was to place the gay male student in a room with international students who, interestingly enough, seem to be much more tolerant than at least some U.S. students.

I guess what is so galling to me is that Ms. Charen can spew such intolerance in one breath, then turn around and thank those who have shown compassion to her. I wonder if any of those people were gay?

Barbara H. Vann

Baltimore

The writer is a professor of sociology at Loyola College.

Airing intelligence only helps terrorists

On the matter of who knew what and when about intelligence that might have thwarted the Sept. 11 attacks, The Sun's editorial "Not about blame" (May 21) suggests to President Bush that it would have been better for him to "level with the American people."

But the surest way to prevent getting more information is to divulge that you already have some.

Doing that will not help fill in the gaps, but only assist the terrorists to eliminate the leak.

George Taylor

Reisterstown

No justice in failing to execute criminals

As a taxpayer, I do not want my tax dollars spent keeping criminals alive while a commission tries to decide if the justice system knew what it was doing when it found them guilty in a court of law ("Halt executions across the nation," Opinion Commentary, May 16).

There is no need for a commission to study the constitutional principles of fairness, equality and due process; if they are not applied in the justice system now, they won't be after a study either.

And the larger issue is lack of justice for the victims. Is it now our collective opinion that because the victims are dead they should be forgotten?

These death row criminals took the lives of others and in doing so forfeited any right to their own lives.

How can it be called justice if the lives of those who have been tried, found guilty and given the death penalty are spared?

B. Wagner

Reisterstown

City is right to get tough on tobacco

Health Commissioner Peter Beilenson and the Baltimore City Health Department should be commended for their efforts to enforce the laws against tobacco sales to minors ("City to begin tobacco sting," May 1).

For too long, merchants have not been held accountable for contributing to the addiction of minors by selling tobacco to children. Tobacco merchants know this is against the law, but many have chosen profits over the health and well-being of Baltimore's youths.

With the city's new compliance program, merchants have been given fair warning that they are no longer above the law. And the public has been made aware that illegal tobacco sales to minors will no longer be overlooked.

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