Letters To The Editor


March 28, 2004

Decree drives efforts to boost special learning

Sam Stringfield's column on the causes and cures of the Baltimore school system's deficit asserts that one of these causes is the "incredible costs of administering the decades-long federal special education lawsuit" ("Adding up causes, cures," Opinion

Commentary, March 25).

As the parent of a child who has disabilities and is entering the special education process within the city schools for the first time, I believe that lawsuit has been, and continues to be, instrumental in ensuring that appropriate procedures are adhered to.

Unfortunately, despite the consent decree in the lawsuit, many parents of special education students in this city feel that their input in relation to their child's individual education plan (IEP) has not been heard, followed or respected. Concerns regarding special education placements and services abound.

If the city schools would concentrate efforts on compliance with the federal education laws under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in the classroom, where it matters, perhaps the "incredible costs" of the education lawsuit would not be on his list of causes of the city schools' deficit.

Michelle Hart


Don't waste money on maglev mirage

The Sun's editorial regarding maglev ("Mishandling maglev," March 22) glosses over the fact that the maglev studies have been ongoing for several years.

Two versions of environmental impact statements have been produced; several rounds of public hearings have been held. And in 2002, the legislature enacted a bill requiring a task force to "Evaluate the Development and Construction of a Magnetic Levitation Transportation System."

Many legislators obviously feel that several years of work by the Maryland Transit Administration and the work of the task force already represent a sufficient outlay of tax dollars.

The maglev system would not deliver on its promises, and spending any more money on it would be an additional waste of funds.

Michael Daniel

Ellicott City

The writer is a member of Citizens Against Maglev.

Targeting terrorists is act of self-defense

What's with all the criticism about Israel's "targeted killings" policy that Shibley Telhami writes about ("Israel gains little, risks much with Yassin killing," Opinion

Commentary, March 23)?

All the terrorist killings -- of Jews, Americans, Spaniards, etc. -- are "targeted." The only difference is that Israel "targets" murderers while the terrorists target innocent people, including children.

Every military person knows that the best way to defeat the enemy is to cut off the leadership, and Israel's killing of Sheik Ahmed Yassin did just that, in an act of self-defense.

It is time the international community acknowledged that the price of one's life should be paid by those who would take the lives of others, not by the innocent victims of terror.

Gerson Kaplan


For those such as Shibley Telhami who contend that "Israel gains little, risks much with Yassin killing," I posit this question: Would you condemn the United States if it were to assassinate Osama bin Laden?

Bruce Blumenthal


Will president reveal source of other leak?

Now that the Bush administration has given Fox News permission to reveal Richard A. Clarke as the source for some news stories ("Fox News reveals unnamed source," March 25), perhaps it will also allow Robert Novak to reveal the source for his article that leaked the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

But I won't hold my breath.

Fred Furney


Clergy must report charges of abuse

The Sun's article "City delegates reject bill to align elections" (March 20) incorrectly characterizes legislation rejected by the state Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

The Sun reports that the failed measure "would have required clergy members to report child abuse and neglect."

In fact, clergy members, like all other Marylanders, have been required since 1987 to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect to civil authorities. The legislation's focus was on a narrow exception to the reporting requirement, which permits clergy to maintain confidences shared with them during confidential, penitential confessions.

Advocates for the measure argued that the law's long-standing "clergy-penitent privilege" confuses members of the clergy. But they were unable to produce a single active Maryland clergy member who agreed with this claim.

Dick Dowling


The writer is executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference.

Video patrol creates justifiable hostility

The article headlined "Video patrol deters criminals" (March 23) proved no such thing -- only that some people in Annapolis, like anywhere else, enjoy spying on others.

Of course, some people don't enjoy being spied on, which may explain why patrol member Dennis Conti received "long, hard stares" from "a group of men" of whom he said, "They don't like us."

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