Randallstown High is taking a bad rapAs...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Randallstown High is taking a bad rap

As a student at Randallstown High School I was somewhat disturbed by the article "School of hard knocks?" (March 26).

Although it appears that the reporter attempted to get both sides of the issue, the school came off in a negative light and the statements of students quoted in the article created an inaccurate picture of our school.

Why weren't either the class presidents or officers of the student government association quoted? Why was there no mention of how over 250 students assembled in a peaceful manner to make sure their concerns were heard and addressed?

As far as racial problems, until recently I wasn't even aware there were any. Many of these problems apparently are being created by parents who just started coming to PTSA meetings.

I have friends of different races and none of us fear attending school. If a black student and a white student get into a fight, is it automatically racial? There could be any number of reasons why a conflict occurs.

Granted, there are some problems with teacher and student turnover rates. This is a big concern of many students, because the teachers we knew we could get college recommendations from are no longer there.

Many teachers left because they had a problem with an authoritarian principal coming in trying to make positive changes within the school. Maybe it was difficult for them to deal with that type of change, especially since the year before we had a relatively inactive principal whom many had never even seen.

It is sad that people are taking their frustrations out on Mr. Powell. It would be unfortunate to see him go. He supports many of the organizations and activities that I am involved in. If he left, many of the things I care about the most at our school would be neglected.

When people think of Randallstown they should think of our 3A State Basketball Champions, our Honor Society and the many students on the Honor Roll, not of the small minority with disciplinary problems.

Anyone truly concerned about what is going on at Randallstown should come visit and speak to our teachers and students instead of believing everything they read.

Maya Kirby

Randallstown

No right to smoke

What right does the government have to ban smoking in the workplace? Why aren't businesses allowed to set their own policies?

If you've asked these questions recently, here are some more. If a business buys property near your home to use as a toxic waste dump, to whom will you go for protection? Now, if we can count on the government for protection where we live, why shouldn't we expect it where we make our living?

Was the government wrong, for example, in forcing businesses to remove asbestos from their premises?

Smokers are not bad people. But when a drug abuser surrenders his sense and civility to his addiction, must we all suffer?

John Olszewski

Baltimore

Smoking debate

Diane Turner contends in her letter of April 4 that "the legal community, unlike Mr. Olver, was aware that the 1988 Surgeon General report is flawed."

This is quite interesting. I have been a member of the legal community since 1988. I think I am more competent to comment on how the legal community feels than Ms. Turner.

In 1991, I did a research paper on the issue. I accepted the dangers of second-hand smoke as a premise. I had to defend my report before at least 10 fellow students. None contended that second-hand smoke was safe.

I have talked with another attorney since I read Ms Turner's letter. He agrees that a workers' compensation claim would be hard to prove -- not because second-hand smoke is safe but because second-hand smoke is everywhere.

Ms. Turner's contention that the "Surgeon General Report was hotly debated in the scientific community" is ludicrous. I challenge Ms. Turner to name one reputable scientific study that says second-hand smoke is safe.

Moreover, Ms. Turner's initial letter said there was no evidence that second-hand smoke was a danger. Now she admits there is debate.

Finally, the issue of the ban being our former governor's idea is irrelevant. Ms. Turner's initial letter questioned whether the executive branch had the power to enact the ban. It seems clear that it does. . . .

The state's power to implement the ban and the dangers of second-hand smoke are not matters about which reasonable minds differ.

Even the most ardent opponents of the ban in the legislature conceded this point.

ennis G. Olver

Dundalk

Discipleship

I enjoyed the March 19 story about the missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) in Baltimore. All efforts to increase understanding of the church and our missionary efforts are greatly appreciated.

I would like to make one criticism. In the article, the missionaries were referred to as disciples of Joseph Smith. Although we honor Joseph Smith as a great prophet, we are not his disciples. Like Christians everywhere, we are disciples of Jesus Christ and recognize him as our savior.

The name of the church -- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints -- denotes our discipleship of Christ. The Book of Mormon, from which our nickname is derived, is subtitled "Another Testament of Jesus Christ."

Our belief in modern-day prophets in no way detracts from our being disciples of Christ.

Robert Moesinger

Baltimore

Three to tango

Baseball is a three-legged stool. You have a small group of multi-millionaire owners with a monopoly, a medium-size group of millionaire athlete-performers and a huge group of non-millionaire cash-paying customers. This last group is the source of everyone else's millions.

Originally, baseball owners had all the power and the players and fans had little or no effective say. The players organized and joined the owners at the table. Now you have owner greed versus player greed locked in a lose-lose death grip.

Isn't it time for the most important leg of the stool, the fans, to organize and take their rightful seat at the table?

Surely 100 honorable individuals could be found who would listen to the fans and act as advocates for the best interests of baseball.

Baseball fans are used to filling out ballots. A fan representative structure might even produce a consensus on a number of important issues.

For example, ticket prices for families and children might even go down. Current players with $40 million contracts might not be allowed to charge kids money for their autograph.

And if there's another obscene stoppage of our national pastime, the fans' representatives could step in and arbitrate.

Perhaps it's too soon or too idealistic, but the three-legged stool concept is the only way the fans have a chance.

Roger C. Kostmayer

Baltimore

Fresh air

In an era when caring about each other is a low priority for many Americans and the people they elect, Dan Rodricks is a breath of warm fresh air.

His reporting of spontaneous acts of kindness done by individuals for perfect strangers is marvelous.

More than once his vignettes of human grace have lifted and softened me. As do his stories about good things done by people who, for meager compensation, work so hard to aid the poor or the disabled.

A real friend to the little man, Rodricks targets those who abuse power with sharp commentary and telling sarcasm. He possesses few illusions concerning the fallibility of us all, along with a keen sense of the ironic and the comic. He exposes the innocent foibles of himself and the rest of us with wit and affection.

Richard G. Berman

Baltimore

Unkind words

A student was asked by his teacher to take a feather pillow out to a field, slit it and scatter the feathers asunder. Then he was asked to gather up all the feathers and fill the pillow back up.

"I cannot," said the student.

"By the same token," said the teacher, "you cannot put unkind words back into your mouth."

I wonder just how contrite Sen. Alfonse D'Amato and Howard Stern would be if there had not been outcries over their remarks.

Gerald Ben Shargel

Reisterstown

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