Letters To The Editor


April 15, 2007

Book offers honest look at teen life

As an educator and a high school librarian, I am appalled and disappointed that, in the 21st century, we are still dealing with the suppression of information ("Book-banning decision defended," April 11).

In all my classes on young adult literature, I had to study, review and write about the books of Robert Cormier, the author of The Chocolate War.

Mr. Cormier has mastered the art of young adult literature. And in his novels, Mr. Cormier presents the lives of young people in a realistic yet often disturbing light.

He tackles the real issues that our young people face. He uses their point of view, their mannerisms and their language.

His books are among the most popular for kids to check out.

I've read most of Mr. Cormier's books myself - some more than once. I find them true-to-life, engrossing and, overall, great reads.

So some Harford County parents feel the language in The Chocolate War is vulgar?

They are offended by the homophobic slurs in the book?

Have they walked the halls, visited classrooms or spent time in the cafeterias of our high schools lately?

Do they know what kind of environment our young people spend seven hours each day in?

High school is brutal, vulgar, dirty and often dangerous.

Our ninth-graders will be exposed to things far worse than anything found in Mr. Cormier's book.

How can you teach about life in high school by trying to sanitize it?

Let's give our young people some credit.

Banning books tells our kids that we don't believe they can think for themselves - that they can't handle the content, that we don't trust them to make the right choices.

And, ultimately, those who do the banning will lose credibility with our young people.

Rebecca A. Frager


The writer is head librarian at Woodlawn High School.

Investigate conduct of the sitting judges

The Sun published a remarkably knowledgeable editorial on Monday ("The oldest pending case," April 9). I hope the editors will follow it up with more reports on judicial procedure in Baltimore.

The 2008 election ballot in the city will include, by my count, at least eight Circuit Court judges standing for retention.

Traditionally, The Sun pays judicial races little attention, and puts few tough questions to incumbents. Come Election Day, the editorial page then solemnly admonishes us to vote for the sitting judges, with whom most of us, mercifully, have no acquaintance.

However, most criminal court judges in Baltimore bend over backward to accommodate the defense bar. And the sort of delay uncovered in Monday's editorial really serves the defense best.

The Sun is capable of investigative reporting at its finest.

Before asking us to rubber-stamp the sitting judges at their next election, it should take a hard look at that most invisible and least accountable branch of Maryland government - the judiciary.

Hal Riedl


School budget woes just mind-boggling

If the board of any corporation in the world conducted its business the way the Baltimore school board conducts its affairs, its members would be fired instantly and perhaps prosecuted ("Sanctions proposed against city school system," April 10).

This latest budget fiasco is absolutely mind-boggling.

Michael Coughlin


ICC will undermine state's green trend

Although Baltimore was a big winner in the Supreme Court decision on regulating emissions that cause global warming ("The green Supremes," editorial, April 4), which should give a green light to Maryland's clean-car legislation, our celebration should be muted by another fact.

Even though cleaner cars will help reduce global warming pollution, much of the gain will be offset by construction of the Intercounty Connector, which will result in more autos, more driving and more emissions ("Spending deal is reached," April 8).

It is still unclear to me why Gov. Martin O'Malley supports this massive highway project.

This project has the potential to destroy his claim to be a smart and green governor.

Stephen F. Bono


Music moguls retail even uglier speech

Yes, Don Imus was wrong to say what he said. He apologized and is facing both public and financial consequences for his actions. But to many people, that wasn't enough ("Under pressure, CBS drops Imus' program," April 13).

However, if the type of language Mr. Imus used is wrong, isn't it wrong that so many of the songs we hear on the radio use the same terms and worse language?

Tune to any hip-hop radio station and you'll hear the N-word countless times, as well as other ugly words and phrases.

So, to those who are so outraged about Mr. Imus, I would say: If you want to clean up the airwaves, let's do it across the board.

Or is it OK for some people to use these phrases but not for others?

Robert Schwartz


How can a society that extols the degrading performances of many rap and hip-hop artists be so damning of Don Imus' insulting remarks?

It's time that we stop exalting these hip-hop promoters of greed and ignorance and redirect some of this furor toward them.

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