No more New Age
From: Julie Jabaay
All right, I have had enough of writer Angela Gambill's New Age garbage, the latest involving the article, "Therapist employs musical notes as special tools" [July 24, Anne Arundel County Sun].
Guided imagery and music are forms of Eastern mysticism. Their purpose is to facilitate the participant in escaping reality, not dealing with it.
Ms. Sonnen stated, "it reflects parts of us; it helps us discover our great inner potential."
This is humanism: glorifying man/self. The reality is that we have no great inner potential. The only potential we have has been given to us by God. Not one of us, including Ms. Gambill, takes a single breath except that God allows it.
Once again Ms. Gambill has aided in deceiving readers. I am disappointed. Truth is more valuable than a "nice story" that pleases human ego.
Plan is a violation
From: Ransom L. Eng
Please note the violation of environmental considerations that accompanies the present plan to put 99 houses on 22 acres in Back Bay.
This would put an unbearable demand on available well water which already is so low that many of us must dig deeper wells.
Editor's note: The following letter is addressed to Martha Collison, area supervisor of Millersville Elementary School. The letter has been signed by 42 teachers, parents, and members of the Millersville Elementary School community.
This letter is in response to recent events at Millersville Elementary School, including secret letters and meetings that have culminated in the removal of its principal, Mr. Henry Shubert. This letter is written to address two concerns which we have. First is the procedure that was used to effect the transfer of Mr. Shubert. Second is the incorrect and/or incomplete factual information used to make that decision. In both respects, we believe an injustice has been done.
Information about exactly what happened has been difficult to obtain, largely because the people who have taken actions have not been forthcoming in sharing details of events. We understand that at least five letters of complaint were sent to you by three individuals, that approximately 12 parents of students at the school met with you one time at their request to voice complaints, and that the teachers of Millersville met with you once at their request to voice support for Mr. Shubert.
Based on this limited intelligence, you have transferred Mr. Shubert to Brock Bridge Elementary School. It appears that without those five undisclosed letters and the meeting with the 12, Mr. Shubert would now be entering his fifth year as principal at Millersville.
The authors of the letters will not share them and neither will you. The meeting of the 12 [parents] was not an open meeting designed to resolve problems, but one to which only those who wished a change of administrators were invited to attend. No meeting was ever called by anyone inviting the parents of the 500 students at Millersville to voice their opinions, favorable or unfavorable, about Mr. Shubert's tenure.
The recently held, publicly announced meeting of the Millersville Parent-Teacher Association was called not to discuss a possible change at the school, but to inform parents, teachers, and friends of the Millersville and Brock Bridge schools of their new principals, after the decision had already been made behind closed doors.
Although we understand that one of the authors of the letters to you is president of the PTA, the matter of a change of principals was never openly brought before the PTA or its membership. Instead, the president of the PTA acted based on a secretly called PTA meeting to which none of us were invited. The full PTA membership and other affected parents and friends of the school were not consulted before a change was made.
If our information is faulty, we apologize. We only mean to give you the background which leads us to our conclusions. We would appreciate your sharing with us any additional information you may have which could set the record straight.
There lies the nub of our complaint. A major decision was made affecting the lives of our children, our students, and the community of Millersville Elementary School without anyone caring to hear what we think. That is not the way a democracy is supposed to work. Secretive decisions are what one might have expected behind the Iron Curtain -- even those countries have now avowed to discuss issues more openly. We believe, as Alfred North Whitehead once said, that the people are never so likely to reach the correct decision as when they discuss something openly.
Therefore, to address the first of our concerns, we request that you initiate procedures to ensure that principals are not transferred, dismissed, or disciplined without formal written notice to and opportunity to comment by the affected schools' parents and teachers. This situation was handled poorly, and the first remedy is to prevent a recurrence.
II. Facts about Mr. Shubert
Our second concern is that Mr. Shubert has been unfairly characterized in five letters and the secret meetings. We think he has been an excellent principal, full of sharp administrative skills and a continuing good-heartedness and compassion for all those he serves: students, parents, teachers and his superiors.
Let us recount for you some examples of his wisdom, while yet addressing some of the grounds we understand form the basis for complaints about him.
Mr. Shubert, on the other hand, has always tried to listen to concerns and take what corrective action he can, but at the same time follow the precepts of the law, observe the rights of individuals, and above all see to it that quality education takes place.
For example, we understand that some of the 12 were upset by Mr. Shubert's handling of an incident involving the sale of M&M; candies in front of a local Giant Food store to benefit the fifth-grade class. Mr. Shubert decided that school liability risks would arise if a child were injured during such an activity. Instead, he worked with the concerned parent and counseled for other, less risky ways to involve the students in the candy sale. We think he made the right decision.
As another example, we understand that some of the 12 'D complained about Mr. Shubert's disciplinary methods in specific circumstances. While we do not know the nature of the particular instances discussed with you, nearly all of us can report instances with students that prove to us that Mr. Shubert always worked hard with students and parents in all disputes to arrive at suitable changes in classroom deportment, cafeteria behavior, bus decorum, bathroom privileges, and playground conduct. He did not always agree with the one who complained, but he always mediated, developing a workable plan of action that involved everyone concerned.
In addition, we understand that some people complained that students needing special attention were "allowed" to take classes with "normal" students. Of course, Mr. Shubert has only been following federal laws (such as the recent Americans with Disabilities Act) in making sure that all students, including those with special needs, have access to the same curriculum. We hope you would do your best to support efforts such as those of Mr. Shubert to enforce such laws.
Finally, we understand that there were complaints that Mr. Shubert was inaccessible or not approachable by parents. As far as we are concerned, Mr. Shubert made us feel welcome from the day we began our association with the school, and that feeling continues today. He returned any phone calls we made. He answered all questions about the curriculum. He attended virtually all after-hours school functions. He took every concern seriously, from the cut that needed a Band-Aid to the questions about the competency of certain teachers.
Many of us know Mr. Shubert has worked behind the scenes, often calling together parents and teachers to correct problems and enhance the education and even self-worth of the students at Millersville Elementary.
He may not be perfect, but we know he generally makes the right decision and always has the best interests of the individual child and the school as a whole at heart. Your decision to transfer him may be irrevocable, but we hope you recognize that you have a fine principal working for you. We certainly do.