Is 7:17 a.m. too early for high-schoolers?

Speakout!

Your Opinions

Thoughts on issues relating to Anne Arundel County

July 17, 2005

Last week, The Sun asked Anne Arundel County readers for their views on whether the start time for high schools should be pushed back from 7:17 a.m., the earliest in the state.

Budgets shouldn't dictate start times

We've got to stop letting budget constraints and transportation expense dictate high school start times. With two high-schoolers, we've experienced firsthand how difficult it is to have them starting school so early in the morning.

The ability of our youth to stay awake to learn and their health and safety should be much more important to us as a society than all of the other factors that are holding us back from fixing this problem. After-school jobs, child care and activities are important, but not if our kids are too tired to be getting decent grades and being alert behind the wheels of cars.

Whatever can be done quickly should be, and a longer-range plan should be developed to address it permanently.

Sally VanZandt

Millersville

Research supports a later start time

Changing our schools' start time is long overdue. Research is clear and consistent on two points:

Adolescents learn better when they are awake, and they are more awake at 8 a.m. than at 7:17 a.m.

Adolescents who are supervised later in the afternoon are less vulnerable to problems from pregnancy, alcohol abuse and other illegal pursuits.

If this proposal is carried out, it seems likely to have great potential to raise test scores and reduce some of our more serious concerns about our county's youth.

Hopefully this is a proposal [whose] time has come.

Carol Myers

Crownsville

We want your opinions

ISSUE: Last week, Steven Dannenmann of Severn bested some of the world's top poker players -- including last year's champion Greg Raymer -- at the famed No Limit Texas Hold 'em Championship in Las Vegas.

For the past two years, Dannenmann has participated in a low-key Tuesday-night poker game with a group of friends in Anne Arundel County. That game has a $100 buy-in, and the winner takes about 60 percent of the pot, according to another player in the game. Money is generally paid out to the top three or four players.

Maryland law clearly says that any card game where money is a prize is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 6 months in jail, said Anne Arundel police spokesman Shawn Urbas. Police investigate games that they hear about and take appropriate action -- which can be anything from a warning to an arrest depending on the circumstance, said Urbas.

YOUR VIEW: Given that there most likely are many kitchen-table poker games played throughout the state, is the law fair? Should it include an exemption for noncommercial low-stakes games like Dannenmann's? Tell us what you think at arundel.speakout@baltsun.com by Thursday. Please keep your response short, and include your name, address and phone number. A selection will be published Sunday.

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