Walk to SchoolEditor: For the past 20...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Walk to School

Editor: For the past 20 years we have watched the pot simmering and it has finally come to a boil. What happened at Hampstead Hills Middle School is happening all over this city. We in neighborhoods where students are brought in from other areas have been held hostage long enough.

Young couples leave the community as soon as their children reach school age. Older neighbors do not leave their homes in the morning and at dismissal time. Our local Korean grocer has been cursed at, and shoplifting is a daily occurance.

Property is stolen or deliberately broken. Don't even try to drive down the street. Your car is pounded on, kicked, or they just won't move. If you say anything to the students, you take your life into your hands.

Our neighborhood is full of trash from students who get free lunches, but stop for breakfast at the convenience store and leave their litter for us to pick up. Parochial schools have had to change dismissal times because of harassment. Businesses are suffering from property damage.

Just think how much money would be available to schools, making all schools the best, if we stopped taking youngsters from one community to attend school miles away.

It's time communities took back their schools for the children who could walk to them.

Lois Munchel

Baltimore.

Lida Lee Tall

Editor: William Donald Schaefer, the self-styled "education governor," has finally delivered a lesson my six-year-old will likely never forget. The lesson goes like this:

Create a remarkable school. Run it on a budget that would be laughed at by any other public school in Maryland. Show consistently the highest test scores in the state (and this at a school that turns down gifted or otherwise remarkable students). Allow the school to be used for educational experiments and teacher training. Let it export its curriculum to other public schools.

And then? And then, of course, you close it down. At a one-time savings to taxpayers of roughly $95,000.

I am the parent of a child at the Lida Lee Tall Learning Resources Center. And forgive me if, the next time I hear our governor spout off about education, I look just a teeny-weeny bit skeptical. I guess it's just because I am.

Steve Young.

Baltimore.

Suffering Liberia is Ignored

Editor: When civil war erupted in the West African nation of Liberia approximately 14 months ago, the event received extensive media coverage. The public was consistently kept apprised of new developments as they occurred.

Since the gulf crisis began, however, there has been very little media coverage on Liberia. The cries of the intense suffering and hardship of a once-proud people have been all but silenced by the rumbling noise of army tanks, oil well infernos and the moans of displaced Kurds in the Middle East.

During my visit to Liberia in March, I found a country torn by the ravishes of war. Transportation in some parts of the country is virtually non-existent. Because of this, travel is very limited.

There are military check points throughout the country.

The sound of gunfire can be heard piercing the silence of the night.

There is much suffering and despair.

Thousands have been killed and even thousands more are separated from their loved ones, displaced because of fear of being killed by the warring factions.

I listened to the many horror stories of the atrocities, even murder, committed by soldiers against Liberian civilians.

Many civilians have lost their homes; everything they worked for is gone.

They have no clothes, no food, except for rationed portions of rice.

Relatives have been displaced or killed. Liberians who are displaced live in homes with others, some homes housing as many as 10 times the normal occupancy.

Hospitals are poorly staffed with little or no medical supplies.

Everywhere, armed soldiers still occupy the streets.

Tremendous effort has been put forth to orchestrate the relief efforts for the Kurds of Iraq and also for the Kuwaitis. Foreign governments are sending aid. Foreign citizens are putting on concerts to benefit the Kurds. But where is the help for Liberia?

The help for Liberia has been minimal, to say the least, and not nearly enough compared to what is actually needed. Liberia is in trouble and needs help. Someone must believe our report.

Lillian R. Taylor.

Randallstown.

Hope of India

Editor: Since the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi there has been more than the usual amount of tongue-clicking, tut-tutting, and "whatever is wrong with India?" by pundits and non-pundits alike.

Of course the country is facing difficult problems; there are the underlying passions, the conflicts among groups and among regions. Yet through it all there is also that slow process toward growth and progress, the increasing sophistication of the electorate and survival (so far) of the democratic structure.

Ruling India is a wearing and humbling experience. India is as big as Europe, minus Russia, with a far larger population and more differences in culture, language and religion. India has had a longer political history and therefore longer memories of invasions, conquests, repressions and injustice. Such a history always leaves behind resentments, grievances and unfulfilled hopes.

The glue that holds the country together is the underlying culture; it is a national one in spite of all the differences. The Nehru-Gandhi family helped greatly with that unity. For one thing, they always projected themselves as Indians whether they were in the north or the south. There was nothing parochial or regional about them. That sense of oneness, it is hoped, will survive the family.

There are still many, many decent men and women in the country, people of integrity and tolerance. And they are the hope of India, of her survival as a nation.

Sara Olcott.

Pikesville.

Non-Achievers

Editor: Larry Lucchino either made or allowed a gross mistake to be made by firing Frank Robinson.

Many of us fans believe firmly that he should have fired Roland Hemond instead. He then should have moved Frank up and given Oates the manager's spot.

L After all, who assembled this group of non-achievers anyway?

. W. Robinson. Glen Burnie.

Whither the Child?

Editor: Where have the little children gone?

The picture of a 10-year-old in handcuffs in your paper does penetrate the mind and the heart to ask the above question. Society has allowed this to happen.

Busy parents, uncaring parents, tired parents. The family ignores a growing negative situation. Neighbors do likewise. Schools are busy with their curriculum of teaching and training. Schools have so much to do that social niceties are often ignored.

There is self-denial surrounding everyone. Society is encompassed in a disregarding attitude. If one does not see it -- does not acknowledge the problems -- the problems may go away. This last sentence precludes the meaning of always being true to one's own self. The truth may be much too painful for a person to be willing to face.

The government must be aware of world situations as the world has become tinier. Each part of the world has a huge effect on another part. This may be part of the reason why there is delay in looking to the home circle. One will get to that problem next.

Always, another horrendous episode arises that becomes first.

There is need for instant gratification all through society. One's needs should be fulfilled -- one deserves a reward for being "good."

Perhaps readvisement, education should start with self-esteem. Self-esteem of the individual that is born, acceptance of oneself as is. The education of interdependence. Yes, we all need others. There are few segments of society that are units of themselves, needing no others.

A person needs the food grown by others, transported to stores in order that one may eat. Transportation, whether public or private, is necessary. This is either built or furnished by others. Clothes, shelters are also made by others for one to have.

Necessities of our life have become interwoven with the unknown, unaccepted and unacknowledged that others work and, yes, do make a living by helping to furnish one with these necessities.

Where have the children gone? We are all children in different ages and stages of life.

Hope and prayers are not enough to make a world that all can survive in, with hope for a better tomorrow. Everyone must work toward this end in order to have a better environment. All children deserve this. All of us can begin to make it happen. A better life starts with the first step -- today, now, not tomorrow. A slow process it would be. But a better life it could make.

Teresa Marcus.

Baltimore.

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