Orlie Reid attacked unfairly in storyFrom: Judith...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Orlie Reid attacked unfairly in story

From: Judith N. Neall

Annapolis

I could not let the Aug. 30 [letter], "Pupils need advocates, not enablers," by Phil Greenfield go unanswered.

I can only speculate on Mr. Greenfield's motivation to personally attack someone he does not know. Perhaps it was to ease his discomfort with the suggestions that minority students often do not receive equal treatment within our school system. The presence of the Committee for Education Equality forces all of us to confront the status quo and our own commitment to fairness.

As a white person, I can understand the tendency to become defensive when faced with charges of discrimination. We want to believe that unequal outcomes for people reflect shortcomings within the individuals rather than any conscious or unconscious ill will from the community because then we are absolved from responsibility to affect change.

In defense of himself and others, Mr. Greenfield exaggerated and misrepresented what Orlie Reid has been saying in a sarcastic, condescending and self-satisfied tone.

Anyone who knows Orlie Reid and his work with children knows that he would not condone "mindless thuggery" or suggest to anyone that you are "a powerless, hapless victim and anything you do, no matter how harmful, is excusable since everything is beyond your control," as Mr. Greenfield suggested.

In his years of work with juvenile offenders, Orlie has gained the respect and cooperation of juvenile court judges to ensure that the youngsters he is working with are held accountable for their behavior while at the same time offering the support and encouragement they need to make changes.

I cannot count the times I have heard him say, "Every human being needs to know that he is someone of worth and dignity." Only when we come from this understanding can we begin to help people rise above their circumstances.

It is interesting that Mr. Greenfield credits other members of the Committee for Education Equity with preaching the gospel of success -- "self-discipline, self-reliance, self-esteem, dignity, a respect for knowledge and achievement -- and singles out Orlie Reid for his scornful attack.

Mr. Greenfield must not know, or chooses to ignore, that Orlie Reid's life has been dedicated to educational excellence as a classroom teacher, consultant for school systems throughout the south, dean of Black Student Affairs at Duke University, founder of COBRAS of Washington, D. C., and co-founder of Individual and Family Concerns Inc. (IFC) of Annapolis.

During better economic times, as an advocate for children and families, he obtained funding for the COBRAS [Cooperation, Obedience, Bravery, Respect, Achievement and Success] program for inner-city children in D.C.

Under IFC, with the help of his 14-year-old son, Orlie Jr., and another youngster, Pernell Jackson, Orlie Reid has brought COBRAS to Annapolis in the form of a karate class for children in a public housing community. Two nights a week, all last year (for no compensation) they taught the children self-discipline, self-reliance, self-esteem, dignity and respect for knowledge and achievement.

Also under the aegis of IFC and again without pay, Mr. Reid worked successfully with Annapolis Elementary School, Central Elementary School and others to prevent specific young black children from being "thrown away" (expelled) from first and second grades. He provided after-school tutoring, group counseling, parent support and on-site support. . . .

If Orlie Reid can make a difference in these children's behavior, then I have to agree with him that with the proper understanding and support, the school system should be able to do it too.

Orlie is only one person with limited resources. The kind of work he does requires insight and commitment and does not represent a "quick fix." The school system would do well to take advantage of his willingness to be involved.

With regard to the 15 youngsters expelled last year for fighting and injuring a staff person and the principal, Mrs. Webb, (why did Mr. Greenfield feel compelled to mention that she is black?), Orlie Reid met with others at the school and decided something must be done to reduce tensions and look for solutions for all parties involved.

With the cooperation of other black leaders, he established Wednesday night group meetings at which the youngsters involved were allowed to air their feelings and differences in an atmosphere of respect and acceptance.

As a group, they signed a truce to end the fighting, and so far there have been no further incidents. True to form, Orlie went to court with those involved and suggested that the judge order them to continue meeting with him on Wednesday nights during their probation.

All the youngsters continue to meet weekly as Orlie, a trained psychotherapist, donates his time and expertise to try to build self-discipline, self-reliance, self-esteem, dignity and respect for knowledge and achievement.

Orlie worked with school officials throughout the summer to get these youngsters back in school. . . . Is this the picture of an enabler or an advocate? You decide. . . .

I believe by writing his article in the manner he did, Mr. Greenfield . . . is himself guilty of (to use his own words) "posing, bashing and rationalizing" in a most negative and destructive way.

Association praises police, firefighters

From: Muriel G. Carter, President

Glen Burnie Improvement Association

As a lifelong resident of Glen Burnie and Anne Arundel County, I have tended to have a complacent attitude toward our police and fire protection. Many of the personnel are neighbors and friends, and I know they are well-trained and conscientious.

However, on Monday Sept. 14, my perceptions were quickly heightened. Along with several other members of our Association, I was privileged to watch from the "inside" as our local police and fire departments worked swiftly and efficiently to defuse a potentially tragic hostage situation at the Bank of Glen Burnie.

The promptness and extent of their response was nothing short of amazing! From the first moment, excellent training and organization were apparent in every conceivable detail from the actual negotiators, to the special operations team, the hostage response team, the traffic detail, and a myriad of other tasks undertaken.

Included in those tasks were calls to nearby schools to alert them to have their students avoid the area. Especially impressive was the handling of the released hostages and the efforts that went into resolving the mental anguish they felt.

We at the Glen Burnie Improvement Association were very proud of our town on Monday.

Despite the frightening events that took place that day, Monday was a day to realize how fortunate we are in our town. Well done to all concerned!

Children harmed in Millersville class

From: Linda Thorpe

Gambrills

A [letter] by Barbara Garner-Hudak that appeared in The Anne Arundel County Sun on Sunday, Sept. 13, 1992, concerning the situation at Millersville was not totally accurate.

Perhaps she was not aware of all the facts concerning the situation with the teacher and the principal.

Of course, it's difficult to explain to children why a teacher and a principal have not returned to the school for this school year. Not all children were affected by the situation that occurred. So of course, they would not understand why the teacher and the principal were not at school.

She commented that "one of her weaknesses was not child abuse."

My child was not physically harmed by this teacher; she was emotionally harmed. To me, child abuse can also come in the form of emotional abuse. It doesn't have to just be physical.

When the problems started during the school year, I wrote the teacher to voice my concern. Her response to this was to read the note to the entire class.

On more than one occasion, the teacher called the class names. These were 9-year-old children, all of whom were not "difficult," and were affected emotionally. The principal was contacted by me several times as well as the Board of Education. The problem was never resolved and I never got any answers.

Ms. Hudak was correct when she stated that the situation is irreversible.

These children who suffered cannot get back their fourth-grade year. They must go on, and in reality they lost an entire school year's worth of learning because of this teacher.

She also stated, "This teacher did not deserve the hand she was dealt."

These children did not deserve the hand they were dealt either. This is something they will have to live with for the rest of their lives.

They are just children and these memories will be with them for a long, long time.

In placing blame, Ms. Hudak should not be placing the blame with the children, it should be placed where it rightfully belongs -- with the teacher and the principal.

Limit council terms to keep taxes down

From: Richard A. Lowery

Annapolis

I am writing to urge Anne Arundel County taxpayers to support the property tax growth-limiting initiative coming up on the November ballot.

If you are retired, you have already lost patience with property taxes increasing each year at twice the rate of inflation. If not retired, you must question whether you will be able to afford your hopefully paid-for home, when you reach that hard-earned retirement milestone.

Without question, tax income is needed by the various governments entities. But increased government income should not simply come from the "easiest source." Increases in taxation should have to stand the rigid scrutiny of a broad-based taxpaying public. Does anybody think property taxes will decrease now that home values are in a real downward spiral?

Little justification exists to explain why property taxes covered a third of County expenses in 1989, while they are now on their way to supporting half the load.

Rotating citizens more frequently through County Council positions would be helpful in controlling the growth of property taxes. Current practice of allowing incumbents to "retire" from these positions is not wise for various reasons.

Career people in such positions think up initiatives and proceed to pass tax-and-spend measures with little input or with only special interest group input from the taxpayer.

I urge voters to give these issues thought before the November election. I believe considered opinion should allow for only inflation-level growth of property tax revenues. Limiting terms of County Council members starting immediately would help in this regard.

We 'need more Orlie Reids'

From: E. Victoria Bias

Annapolis

I am a minority parent and citizen of the Anne Arundel County area for over 30 years, and I have never met anyone willing to assist our children in coping with the Educational system like Mr. Orlie Reid has.

In response to [a letter] on August 30, 1992, "Pupils need advocates, not enablers," I think Mr. Greenfield has missed the essence of the good work and services Mr. Reid has been providing the Annapolis community. He has given several youths and parents skills and insight into problem-solving in constructive ways.

This community needs more intervention of this type. Without proper coping skills, many minorities, and others, resort to anti-social behavior and fight against a system they feel is "stacked" against them. Our children, parents, and community need more "Orlie Reids".

Some things are just amazing

From: Cliff Roop

Severna Park

It's amazing to me that our governor expected the fiscal 1992 Maryland State Revenue to grow by a whopping 5.8 percent over last year; then he blames the Comptrollers' Office for basically giving him the numbers he asked for and, above all else, that the state legislature has to pass this crock (by law) and we get left holding the bag.

Get ready, here come the proposed layoffs of state workers, the shutting down of the MedEvac helicopters, no more new state police, no more senior health care, we must eliminate child care assistance, we need more taxes, more taxes, more taxes . . . Come on guys and gals. That song has been on the charts too long. And you thought [County Executive] Bobby Neall was crazy with that "rainy day" fund.

It's amazing to me that the Maryland service station dealer can sell his product for six cents per gallon when it costs him (or her) over nine cents to sell the stuff. [Amazing] that this industry is the only one mandated by law to post their prices so they can be seen at 55 mph no matter how ridiculously low the prices are. (Is this a constitutionally question?). And they are supposed to ignore the fact that there is a state law setting the standards for their retail price, by product not an average. Not a gouge, just to survive. By the way, the state collects over 23 cents per gallon and the feds make nearly 15 cents.

It's amazing to me that [Congressmen] Tom McMillen believes he can represent the Eastern Shore. Never cared too much for Anne Arundel, just a good place to buy a townhouse and run for Congress. Remember all the shopping around he did after redistricting before he decided to try again? In my humble opinion, he has done a fine job for Tom Foley, Dick Gephardt and all his out-of-state PAC interests.

They say he is a rising star, but remember what he's learning, how to write checks, not pay restaurant tabs, where to buy those specially coated stamps . . . he now believes in the line item veto and a balanced budget . . . what else do you think we want to hear this time? He Tom, what does a millionaire B-ball player know about rolling pennies to buy diapers or to wait six to nine months to find a real job?

Are all these things amazing or is it just me?

Dr. Orlie Reid teaches responsibility

From: Diane P. Ford

Severna Park

I would like to comment on Mr. Phil Greenfield's article, "Pupils need advocates, not enablers," which appeared in the Anne Arundel Sun on August 30, 1992. In that article, Mr. Greenfield accuses Orlie Reid, [a] Psychotherapist with over 25 years experience, member of the newly-formed Committee for Education Equity and counselor to 15 Annapolis youths expelled for fighting, of being an enabler. I have worked for the past 14-plus years as a counselor and instructor in an alternative day-school program for juvenile offenders between the ages of 14 and 18 years.

The students who attend our program (including some of those 15 Annapolis youths recently expelled) are the students who could not make it in public school or who chose not to attend. Many, but not all, of these students are lost or thrown away simply because they cannot be successful in the large, standard public school system. These same students, however, do find success in our program. My job has allowed me to work closely with Dr. Reid over the past several years as we have shared many of the same clients. I have personally sat in on individual and group counseling sessions with Dr. Reid. I have never found Dr. Reid to be an enabler, and he has never simply "excused away" any negative-violent behavior due to social rank or for any other reason.

Dr. Reid's message is that you are responsible for your own behavior. Dr. Reid teaches these young people self-control and at the same time restores their pride in themselves. I have personally seen many young people make dramatic improvements in their lives because of Dr. Reid.

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