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Humor, not racism, on captain's mindFor years,...


Humor, not racism, on captain's mind

For years, Capt. Stephen Drummond of the Howard County Police Department has been putting "Far Side" cartoons on the door frame of his office because he believes bringing humor to the workplace makes for a better work environment.

If you had ever met Captain Drummond, you would know that he tries his very best to improve the work place for the officers and detectives who work for him, regardless of their racial or ethnic heritage.

Your Dec. 16 editorial, "Forgot to laugh," portrays Captain Drummond as a racist who is in serious need of sensitivity training. Personally, I think the detective that filed the complaint could use some sensitivity training. Specifically he needs to be taught how to respond to subject matter with which he doesn't agree or that he finds offensive.

All the detective had to do was say that he found the cartoon offensive and ask for its removal. But instead the Howard County Centurions for Justice are trying to destroy a good police officer's career over a cartoon strip that has absolutely no racial overtones in it (all the slaves in the cartoon were white).

So maybe the reason the Howard County Centurions for (in)Justice "forgot to laugh" was that they were too busy looking for racial discrimination where it doesn't exist. Being racist has many ugly faces, one of which is wrongfully accusing someone of being racially insensitive or discriminatory.

Captain Stephen Drummond is not a racist and he does not discriminate against blacks or other racial minorities. He does, however, like "Far Side" cartoons, which to me is not grounds for conduct unbecoming a police officer.

Mark C. Drummond


K? The writer is the brother of police Capt. Stephen Drummond.

Pagotto's verdict miscarriage of justice

After listening to the verdict on Officer Stephen Pagotto, I have truly lost faith in our judicial system.

Not only is the youth of today out of control, so is the justice system.

When you have a man like Stephen Pagotto serve his community well for all those years, how can a jury convict him of a crime?

With the guilty verdict, I can picture the city police just walking away from questionable situations and then there will be an outcry of "Where are the police when you need them?"

It is sad that another human being had to die, yet Officer Pagatto was doing his job. The family of the victim is splashed all over the news media as if he were a hero. What he was was a person who was caught with drugs in his car, hiding two other people.

When the sentencing is set in February, I hope that the judge takes into consideration all the good that Officer Pagotto has done, and realize he is not only sentencing Pagotto, but his family as well.

Marlene Rackley


Wide public support for boots donations

The Boots for Baltimore Committee was delighted to see such sensitive and understanding article in The Sun on Dec. 12.

Ernest F. Imhoff covered all aspects of our project -- our hard work raising and distributing boots, our effort to be fair to donors and agencies and men, and the continuing need for boots to enable men to get jobs and survive the winters of Baltimore. (And yes, this year we will be able to give boots to a smaller number of women who need them for work.)

Inadvertently, one fact was omitted, that our contributors do not come only from church members and businesses or foundations.

Members of the public who respond to letters mailed by the volunteers or who learn of BOOTS otherwise give about one-third of all our funds. In actual dollars, these three groups contribute almost equally.

We would not want our community donors to feel that they are not important partners in this effort. We send great thanks to all donors, past and future.

Mary H. Bready


County misses mark with black students

"School Results Vary Widely," (Dec. 14) addresses at length the results of the school performance scores. The less than cursory mention made of the performance of African-American Students on the Maryland School Assessment Program (MSPAP) and the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) implies The Sun gives little importance to the academic status of African-American students in Baltimore County.

Eighteen of the 100 elementary schools in Baltimore County are majority or predominantly African-American.

Review of the MSPAP scores revealed that not one of the African-American schools received excellent or satisfactory marks in any of the six areas tested. Of the schools with majority or predominantly white students, scores revealed, four received excellent in one or more of the six areas and seven received satisfactory in one or more of the six areas.

Results of the CTBS revealed African-Americans in these 18 schools doing extremely poorly. Results of white students' scores revealed just the opposite. Not one of the 18 African-American schools had both their 3rd and 5th grade boys and girls attaining 60, which is the norm. Sixteen of the 20 white schools had both their 3rd and 5th grade boys and girls place 50 or greater in both reading and math. Their range was from the 54th percentile to the 96th percentile.

The Sun has heralded the poor performance of students in the Baltimore city school system consistently. The 3rd and 5th grade African-American students in Baltimore County, did worse than African-Americans and whites in Baltimore on the CTBS. Failure of The Sun to disclose this fact to many who purchased $100,000 and $200,000 homes in these areas seeking a better school system, hinges on negligence on the part of The Sun to keep the public informed.

It also suggests that The Sun is biased in its reporting of information that impacts African-Americans except when it can be used to denigrate African-Americans. Baltimore County has fewer socioeconomic ills that plague African-Americans in these areas than Baltimore, yet the city's scores are higher. The question "why" demands to be answered.

The Baltimore County NAACP again contends that the failure of these students to perform well rests in large part with the school system. More specifically, we contend that the superintendent's failure to successfully address the issue of continuously worsening test scores for Baltimore County African-American students warrants his removal from office.

Bernetha George


The writer is vice president of the Baltimore County branch of the NAACP.

Pub Date: 12/23/96

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