Teacher Of Year Unfairly Maligned
I'm writing this letter in response to a letter I read in The Sun Sept. 12 by Darla Strouse. She seemed to really want to stress the point that Coach Charles Yocum was not elected Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Teacher of the Year program, but by the students of Northeast High School.
Why she felt it necessary to make this point except to, as the phrase goes, "kick a man while he's down," I have no idea. . . . However, I do know Coach Yocum and he has always gone that extra mile and beyond each and everyday for his students and athletes. He has done so much to motivate, encourage and support not only my son but all the kids. He has given countless hours of his personal time. If the students of Northeast consider him Teacher of The Year, I think that means more coming from the students than it would coming from the Maryland Teacher of The Year program, which doesn't have a clue who this man is and how he is with his students and athletes. Let's also not forget the man is innocent until proven guilty.
The Sun's editorial of Sept. 15 regarding the county pension fund for elected and appointed officials incorrectly claimed that "no one objected" to the 1989 legislation that lowered officials' retirement age from 60 to 50.
There was one individual who publicly opposed the pension rip-off at the time and that was then-Del. John Leopold of Pasadena. Mr. Leopold was the only elected official to raise questions about the legislation which was adopted unanimously by a County Council whose members feathered their own nests at taxpayer expense.
Equality For All?
Staff writer James Bock in his Sept. 13 article, "Becoming as American as Baseball," reported that a question-and-answer pamphlet of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service states the "the Constitution's basic principles are liberty, equality and justice."
The service is incorrect. Neither the word nor the concept of "equality" appears in the U.S. Constitution. It is the Declaration of Independence that states the word and principle of "equality," e.g., "We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal."
The Pledge of Allegiance has been so successful precisely because its author, Francis J. Bellamy, in 1892 purposely left out the word, "equality," e.g., "with liberty and justice for all." Neither women nor African-Americans had equal rights in 1892.
(By the way, the fictional character, Perry Mason, was named by Erle Stanley Gardner after the firm that owned The Youth's Companion magazine, which published the pledge in 1892.)
John W. Baer
While the Sept. 14 editorial, "Homebuyers Beware," offers the sound advice that would-be homebuyers should consult plats and grading permits prior to purchasing a new home, recorded plans do not absolve builders' sales representatives from misrepresentation and fraud.
That is why such activity is proscribed by the Maryland Consumer Protection Act; why the state attorney general interceded at my request in 1984 to provide relief to Chesterfield homeowners in Pasadena, who received verbal assurances of a permanent woods behind their homes, and why I have asked the attorney general to seek a similar remedy on behalf of the Seven Oaks residents who found themselves in similar circumstances.
It is one thing, as noted by The Sun editorial, for sales representatives "not to volunteer information on potential disadvantages of a new development" to prospective homebuyers. It is quite another thing for those sales representatives to deliberately convey false information.
Certainly, home-buying requires in-depth study and insistence that promises be written into the four corners of the contract. At the same time, state law requires that sales representatives should not, as an inducement to purchase, make false statements and misrepresentations. Responsibilities rest on both sides of the settlement table.
John R. Leopold
The writer is a former state delegate.
The Price Affair
The Sun missed an opportunity to explore the basic cause behind the Price affair. (Editorial, Sept. 10). The cause goes deeper than the school system. It goes back to the parents of promiscuous teens. These parents have failed to provide their children with the moral values and disciplines they need to make the right decisions in the face of difficult situations.
There are many reasons why parents fail, but many look to the school system to provide guidance for their children. But how can a school system provide moral guidance for its students if it distributes condoms? Which is to say, "We know you are sexually active, but we want you to have safe sex."
Teens are vulnerable and impressionable during their formative years in school, look to role models for guidance and to peer groups for acceptance. Failing to find this support in their families, they sometimes turn to a teacher who may not be qualified or have the time to become emotionally involved. Emotional involvement can result in disappointment and despair, causing the teen to seek help from another source. Now the tragic story is out and all involved blame each other.
The parents look on in bewilderment and wonder how it all happened.