From: Michael J. Gorman
The two current crises regarding county school principals, one atNortheast High and the other at Odenton Elementary, appear at first to be quite different. One principal is accused of poor judgment, theother of professional negligence.
Yet these two situations also have two very significant things in common. In each case, privacy has been used as an excuse for irresponsibility, and parents have been excluded from important decisions about their children's education.
The Northeast situation has been hushed on the grounds of "privacy ofemployee personnel decisions," while at Odenton it has been on the basis of "privacy of pupil personnel decisions."
Privacy is of course terribly important, but some so-called private matters and decisions have serious public consequences. When the community's welfare -- educational or otherwise -- is at stake, public officials have a responsibility that demands public accountability.
Information alone, however, does not always suffice. Parents of school children must be allowed a voice in the significant decisions that affect their children. School officials clamor for parental concern and involvement, then all too often tell the parents, "Mind your own business."
It is a strange irony that the Odenton incident occurred during a year of county-sponsored school-based management, a program designed to involve teachers and parents in educational decisions. To date, Odenton parents have not been invited to participate in this program.
The current wave of educational reform prides itself on involving parents and the greater community in their local schools. But in this county's schools, parents are still largely excluded from information and participation. The power continues to rest in the bureaucracy, and one must wonder whose welfare that bureaucracy seeks to promote.
If reform is truly their goal, county officials can prove it by dealing fairly and openly with the Northeast and Odenton communities -- and all other school communities.
NO SPORTSMANSHIP MODEL
From: Bill Beal
In regard to the article published in your June 23, 1991, Anne Arundel County Sun ("His work ethic proves it: Tut's a nut for baseball,") about Tut O'Hara, written by Pat O'Malley:
Has Mr.O'Malley ever witnessed a game coached by Tut? (Or is this article written from second-hand information, or are they just good buddies?)
Tut epitomizes everything that is wrong with Little League baseball today -- his "win at all costs" philosophy, his delaying tactics when playing on fields without lights when his team is ahead, hoping toget the game called because of darkness, his trying to sneak in pitchers who have already pitched their maximum innings for the week, hisconstant harassment of umpires, his poor sportsmanship, etc.
Recently, my son's team played Tut's team in a double header. The first game was a continuation of a tied, extra-innings game from the previous week, which Arundel eventually won. My son's team won the second game.
As is customary after the game, the boys and coaches lined up at home plate to shake hands to show good sportsmanship. Tut, meanwhile, is chasing the umpires around the infield kicking dirt, beating his fists together and spinning around like a nut.
When our boys tried to shake his hand and say "Nice game, coach," he turned his back and walked off the field like a spoiled brat. If this is what a good coach is supposed to be, then Little League is headed in the wrong direction.
Baseball is an all-American sport that helps young boys grow to be men and give them an idea about team play, sportsmanship, and how to carry themselves in everyday life after baseball. I doubt very seriously if Tut even thinks about it that way by the way he actson the field.
I have witnessed this act over the past several years, and I am real glad my son has had good coaches to play for who show real concern for teaching the boys the correct way to play the game but also helped mold him into a very fine young man.
I seriouslyhope that other coaches don't follow Tut's lead. That would be a sadday for Little League baseball. It's a kids' game; it's not supposedto be that serious. It's supposed to be fun.
I am a big fan of Anne Arundel County baseball. I feel it is one of the best organized and best-run organizations in the state, possibly in the country. I seea lot of parents who spend many hours with their children and their associations to make it so.
It makes me sick to think that Tut could be coaching a team going to a tournament out of state. People we don't know will be judging our Anne Arundel County baseball organizations by the actions of this man! No thanks.
By the way, the title of your article was partially right -- Tut is a nut!!
MCMILLEN FOR GUNCONTROL
From: Sarah Brady
Handgun Control Inc.
Michele Bunker misses the mark in her June 30 letter that criticized the Brady Bill, requiring a national waiting period for handgun purchases, for unfairly infringing on law-abiding citizens.
Gun owners need not fear this bill. Law-abiding citizens will still be able topurchase and own handguns. But we have given law enforcement officials the time they need to conduct background checks of potential purchasers -- to ensure that criminals and other prohibited persons are not easily obtaining handguns. After years of debate, even the NationalRifle Association agrees that background checks on purchases are beneficial.
Our nation continues to celebrate the return of our troops from the Persian Gulf, and we are thankful that few lives were lost.
Yet during the time it took to liberate Kuwait, more Americans were killed here at home than on the military front.
In fact, in the last 10 years, more Americans were killed on our own soil than in the Korean, Vietnam, Panama and Persian Gulf conflicts combined.
Gun control legislation by itself will not totally stop the random gun violence that claims 60 American lives each day.
But it is clear that gun control legislation must be a component of any serious anti-crime initiative. By voting for the Brady Bill, Congressman Tom McMillen voted for a safer America. He voted to save lives.
And most important, he voted for Americans to live in an environment freer of random violence.