Speakout!

December 03, 2006

ISSUE: -- About 250 people attended a community meeting last week to discuss a series of fights this fall at Annapolis High School, as well as a Nov. 18 shootout at Westfield Annapolis mall that left a Secret Service agent and a graduate and student of the school wounded. Parents, teachers and community leaders agreed to form a coalition to look at possible solutions, including a gun buy-back program and adding self-esteem and anger-management classes to the curriculum.

Schools officials, meanwhile, planned to step up disciplinary efforts, hold an assembly and assign an additional school resource officer to Annapolis High.

What can be done to address some of the school fights that spilled over to Westfield Annapolis mall?

Problems not new; they must be fixed

As a resident of Annapolis for 30 years, I say let's get honest here. These issues are not new. They have been going on in our 10 public housing communities for years. The problems start right there.

I live off of Forest Drive, and am within 10 miles of five public housing communities. Every night, there is some kind of shooting, drug deal or robbery in one of these crime-infested neighborhoods.

Even Domino's drivers are fearful of these neighborhoods.

No one in Annapolis is surprised that the crime and guns have spilled over into our mall, just that it didn't happen sooner.

It's not the schools' responsibility to be police or social workers for the families that live here, but that of the Annapolis Housing Authority.

The authority should step up, take the blame and get to work, rebuilding families, get rid of all the weapons, provide after-school facilities and programs for these disadvantaged youths, clean up the drugs and crime and start mediation between these neighborhoods.

Lily Thomas

Annapolis

Responsibility lies with kids' parents

Why can't the parents of these troublemakers and bullies take responsibility for their child's problem?

Why is this always put on other parents, lawmakers, teachers, police and law-abiding citizens to fix?

The parents should take the weapons away from their children and turn them into the police.

Maybe if these parents stop making excuses for their own poor behavior and start making a difference at home we would not be talking about their hoodlum kids.

Karen Greco

Crofton

End public housing, punish offenders

First, close all public housing, except for the elderly and infirm.

Second, until we close public housing permanently, evict all individuals and their families when relatives commit major crimes or are repeated troublemakers.

Third, permanently expel individuals from public schools who commit major acts of violence or are repeated troublemakers.

Kenneth Lyons

Annapolis

Police should be held accountable

This is and has been an ongoing Annapolis city problem that the city has not solved.

It is time for the Annapolis community to demand that their public officials take some proactive positive action.

These public officials have allowed this cancer to grow and it is now time for them to take their heads out of the sand and do something about it.

People who are forced to live in public housing deserve the same protection and service as citizens who can afford to live elsewhere.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why the Annapolis Police Department has taken such a low profile during this entire incident. It owns this problem and needs to be in the forefront of its solution.

Michael J. McNelly

Dunkirk

The writer is a former president of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education.

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