April 02, 2005

Schools can't police students off campus

Milton Kent's condemnation of the American Civil Liberties Union for its defense of Dulaney athletes who were suspended from their teams after attending a party where drugs and alcohol were present indicates a lack of understanding on his part commensurate with that of the school itself regarding the rights of students and the scope of authority of public schools ["ACLU, Dulaney 14 find themselves in same league for poor judgment," March 27].

Coaches for decades have made rules pertaining to the use of drugs and alcohol and, before that, smoking tobacco.

However, these rules related to illicit activity and behavior that threatened the health of the athlete and the performance of the team.

Rules that include disciplinary action for athletes who are merely "in proximity" to these behaviors do not meet that standard. The "proximity" rules are an invasion of privacy, usurp the rights of parents, go far beyond the scope of authority of the public schools, frequently result in a violation of the students' due process rights when investigated, and, most importantly, cannot be consistently and fairly enforced!

Schools and their administrators should focus their limited resources on what goes on within the scope of authority of the school.

Finally, they should teach every student the importance of the Constitution, what it says and the rights it designates to individuals. Leave the parenting to the guardians of the students and leave the law enforcement to agencies established for that purpose.

Dennis Sirman Catonsville

The writer is athletic director at Catonsville High.

No proof on Bonds, so leave him alone

I've had enough of people saying that Barry Bonds doesn't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame or that he is faking his injury to get clean or that he deserves all the bad press he gets.

No one has any proof that Bonds knowingly took steroids.

When Babe Ruth was traded from the Red Sox to the Yankees, his home run total jumped from 29 in 1919 to 54 in 1920. Roger Maris had a leap from 39 homers in 1960 to 61 in 1961.

That's just two examples of revered baseball figures who were never questioned for the use of performance-enhancing drugs, even though amphetamines were rumored to be in use by many sports legends.

Sports fans need to lay off Bonds and enjoy his performance.

Rob Adams Ellicott City

One can only laugh at Ponson's privacy plea

John Eisenberg deserves tons of credit for his column of March 26 ["Memo to O's: To stay afloat, sinking pitcher needs help"] regarding Sidney Ponson's problems. Obviously, the Orioles made a second mistake in signing Ponson a second time.

One has to laugh at Ponson's "my private life is personal" argument. When you're making millions a year for throwing a ball and not doing any thinking, your personal life becomes sports news fodder.

My only question to Eisenberg would be this: Why have the owners not included in the labor agreement with the union provisions for voiding a contract when blatant behavior (like breaking laws) occurs?

Joseph M. Cierniak Glen Burnie

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