Notre Dame Prep maligned by news mediaI...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Notre Dame Prep maligned by news media

I am a 1993 graduate of Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson, and proud of it. I am very disturbed and appalled at the negative publicity that the school has been receiving lately.

No, I did not see the film about pornography which has been the recent object of such controversy. I do know, however, that the movie was not shown in religion classes, but in a workshop which focused directly on violence against women and pornography.

I also know that a parental permission slip had to be signed for any interested student to attend the workshop. If parents were so concerned about what their daughters would be seeing, they should have requested a preview or more information about the film before it was shown. I am positive that this request would have been generously granted.

As for other parents speaking out about the "deteriorating support by certain faculty at the school for traditional, strong, moral and Christian values," I cannot think of a more dedicated, caring, supportive and confidence-building group of faculty.

If these parents were so displeased, why did they allow their daughters to continue to attend and graduate from the school? Why didn't they pull them out right away, instead of waiting years after the fact to speak out?

I am angry at the derogatory press coverage that Notre Dame has been receiving. I cannot think of a better school whose guidance and preparation for college are done with such devotion and ethical concern.

I am proud of Notre Dame Prep in its mission to prepare young women for college and their future endeavors with confidence, conscience and respect.

I will not stand by and allow such a wonderful school to be subjected to such criticism and disdain. I owe my stability and success in college to Notre Dame, and remain loyally "one of our girls."

Danielle Renee Jablonski

Baltimore

As an alumna, former faculty member and current Notre Dame Preparatory School parent, I was appalled at the behavior of the news media, especially the radio coverage of the unfortunate controversy at Notre Dame.

The reporters were in a frenzy to destroy what I consider to be the finest girl's school in Baltimore. They were not the least bit interested in the facts or the opinions of the many hundreds of students, parents and alumna who stand firmly behind Notre Dame and trust the integrity of its administration and dedicated faculty.

Notre Dame seeks to instill in young women a sense of responsibility based on knowledge, a Christian tolerance for diversity and a love of God. The vicious rumors and hearsay are just that and are unworthy of comment.

My husband and I feel confident that our daughters will be prepared to make good choices in a secular world based on the strong faith and love of God instilled in them at home and reinforced at Notre Dame Preparatory School.

Margaret Zemarel

Lutherville

Brainwashing

At the rate at which Democratic leaders, from President Clinton on down, are flocking into public schools to "share" lunches with children, there may not be enough food left for the children, regardless of the outcome of the Republican proposal.

Of course, the real and even overt purposes of these media events are to discredit the Republican proposal, even at the cost of the truth.

Impressionable children are easily receptive to the concept of big bad wolves trying to steal their lunches.

Obviously, it would be very difficult -- and surely boring to the same children -- to present the ideas of overhead cost reductions, local control and standards, block grants and the other complex issues which are necessary to understand the Republican plan; a plan which is not intended to starve children but to continue to feed the needy ones through rational and balanced alternatives to current wasteful programs.

Speaker Newt Gingrich, perhaps to minimize emotional reactions, labels Democratic tactics, such as their invasion of cafeterias, as "disinformation." I prefer to label them for what they are: blatant brainwashing and deceit.

Paul S. Bridge

Ellicott City

Historic Howard

Regarding your editorial "Putting teeth in historic preservation" (March 6), as a concerned resident of Howard County for over 23 years, I too am concerned about historic preservation in the county.

I was shocked to learn that the county had let a beautiful, historic mansion like Woodlawn be torn down.

I had the pleasure of dining there when the mansion was the Pappillon Restaurant.

Regulations clearly are needed to preserve historic sites in the county. I can only speculate what will be developed on this parcel, but I am sure it won't have the flair it had when Woodlawn stood among the stately trees.

Residents who live near Gorman Road are trying to save an old farmhouse believed to be historic and slated to become a school.

My community school, Ellicott Mills Middle School, is slated for replacement in 1999. It certainly needs replacing, but what can be done to protect the historic part of this school?

I am all for new schools, but not at the loss of historic buildings. We recycle our garbage; why can't we recycle our older buildings?

If we in the community don't take a stand, our county could lose all its historic charm.

Karen Jeffries

Ellicott City

Just say thanks

Regarding the billboard thanking President Clinton for Baltimore's empowerment zone, is it being paid for by the city out of tax revenues?

If so, it is a waste of taxpayers' money, when a 32-cent stamp on a letter would have sufficed.

If it is being paid for out of the empowerment money, then we have a continuation of waste of taxpayers' money and the money not being spent for its announced purpose.

If the billboard company is "donating" the advertising, this being an election year, could it not be construed as a form of campaign contribution, with quid pro quo to follow later?

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

Kenwood 'solution'

I was outraged to learn of the Baltimore County school administration's latest "solution" to academic and disciplinary problems in our public education system.

Kenwood High School principal Frederick W. Cogswell denies that he is blaming anyone. Yet, by firing all of his teachers, he sends a very clear message to everyone.

I question how such a ludicrous and irresponsible course of action was ever seriously considered.

Mr. Cogswell's decision benefits no one but the already unpopular administration, allowing it to rid itself of those teachers not willing to bow to its philosophy.

The purge will ultimately hurt the students, who will lose their best teachers. (Who would want to teach at a school where freedom of expression and thought is so actively discouraged?)

Why were no suggestions elicited from the teachers themselves? Why not implement a community outreach program, with an emphasis on parental feedback and accountability? Or why not a mentorship program, working with local colleges?

What is more disheartening of all is that, by focusing all the blame on teachers, the real problem is not addressed.

Teachers are there to teach, not to baby-sit. Students and parents must be responsible and held accountable for their behavior.

Lowering academic and disciplinary standards condones chronic underachievement. High school is a place for more than academics; but it is not a place to learn basic social skills first developed in kindergarten.

No amount of mollycoddling can compensate for problems inherent in the home and community. Such a policy cannot possibly help students -- the "clients" Mr. Cogswell is so eager to serve.

And if the principal truly believes that a high school should be run like a corporation, he should know that a good company grows its assets -- teachers -- and slashes its overhead.

I am saddened to see the number of good teachers who are being blamed for the administration's failed policies.

In the four years I spent at Kenwood, I had the opportunity to interact with many intelligent, articulate and effective teachers who sincerely cared about my education.

In fact, one of the people who had the greatest influence on me was my high school soccer coach, Maureen White. These teachers are not expendable resources. They are the school's only hope.

I am deeply troubled by this development and worry about what type of graduates will emerge out of this chaos.

I know that I would never want my child to be educated in a system that encourages mediocrity and rejects effective and sincere teachers in favor of political pedagogues.

Susan Boyle

Owings Mills

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