Do you agree with switching schools?

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Last week we asked: Recent articles described the decisions of parents to bus their children to the new Lime Kiln Middle School in Fulton instead of the Columbia schools nearby. The parents acted because they say the new school will be better academically, but the shift of dozens of pupils -- almost all of them white -- exacerbates a growing racial and economic imbalance in some Howard County schools. What do you think of the parents' decision? Of the school system's decision to allow the switch?

I'm against this "elitist" mentality. They are sending a poor message to their children -- If it's slightly broke, run away from the problem! These parents don't have a clue as to the true meaning of community. The best scenario would be for those parents to move to Fulton, then encourage parents who take pride & responsibility in their community to move in.

Jerry Krasnick, Columbia

I attend Wilde Lake Middle School. I feel very safe, educated and secure here. People should not be talking bad about it if they haven't even experienced being there themselves. As a result of ethnic backgrounds at WLMS, everyone there has a better understanding and respect for themselves and others.

Tessa Laidig, Columbia

We are Clemens Crossing parents who DO NOT have a problem with sending our children to Wilde Lake Middle School. We have had two children there, the youngest now in eighth grade. We are proud to be part of a school which seeks to fulfill Mr. Rouse's dreams for Columbia.

Patricia and Gary Laidig, Columbia

It's a fine idea, if the parents don't want their kids getting beat up, exposed to drugs. And I'll tell you what, I lived in Columbia and my boys would get beaten up on their way home every day and I'm so glad I got out of there. It was a good idea to get out. I lived in Longfellow. It's a mess there.

Bill Evans, Baltimore

I attend Wilde Lake Middle. The people who won't go there are going along with the reputation, which is false. People who have not enjoyed the experience at Wilde Lake, and have left, don't have the right to make it seem like everyone has had a bad time as well.

Luci Mazzullo, Columbia

I am a parent of a fifth-grader at Clemens Crossing Elementary School who will be going to Wilde Lake Middle School. And my younger son will also be going to Wilde Lake. I went to the community meetings, I heard the information, I dug through the rumors and chose to listen to the facts. And it became very clear that Wilde Lake is a good school and it is going to be getting better. I think the decision to leave the school is wrong. And I think the board should make a policy that no one in Howard County may leave their schools. If you're in a neighborhood school, that's part of how Columbia was founded. You stay in your neighborhood school, and if there's a problem you make it better. You cannot run away from problems. That's what I've been telling my children.

Stephanie Gurwitz, Columbia

I really have no problem if a parent wishes to find other accommodations -- at a different school -- for his or her child. My problem enters when these parents try to pressure others to do the same. Individual rights to exercise school personal preferences -- sure. Pressure tactics on others -- absolutely not.

Philip A. Stahl, Columbia

I attend Wilde Lake Middle School. The staff and students have made me feel welcome every day of my education here. Everyone attending WLMS takes the Lime Kiln/Wilde Lake issue very sensitively. My school is just as safe as any other.

Christina Hamilton, Columbia

Many students of ALL backgrounds do still want to learn. People need to remember this is America. Intelligent people should want to help, not abandon ship. Suggestion from a 20-year educator and Columbia resident:

1. Mandatory uniforms

2. Stiffer penalty for absence

3. Grade for conduct and citizenship

4. Compulsory after-school for poor readers

5. Stiffer penalties for those who disrespect teachers, themselves and other students

6. District suspension for proven drug activity

7. Much more emphasis on the do-gooders.

Jacquelyn Miles, Columbia

It really saddened me to read the viewpoint of several parents that reflected a lack of willingness to devote their efforts to make the school better for no other reason than because it would not immediately benefit "their children." We ask ourselves as adults what is wrong with our young people (the gen-x'ers), but the answer lies within us as parents. We owe it to them to demonstrate the importance of conviction, to show them the courage it takes to stand and fight the good fight -- to try and make the changes that sometimes must be made for the good of everyone. What we don't need to show our young people is that it is easier to walk away from problems, than it is to find solutions for them.

Geoffrey Cline, Columbia

Racism, economic isolation and fear of failure are rife in our society. So it saddens, but does not surprise me, to see parent flight from Wilde Lake Middle. However, there are many who value a diverse school committed to good teaching. That is the experience of our daughters at this school.

Robert Conley, M.D., Bryant Woods

I feel sorry for the families that have moved from Wilde Lake to Lime Kiln in Fulton. I know it's very exciting to receive a new school and all the bells and whistles that they get in a new school, but wouldn't it be great if they could focus all their attention on their home school and all the wonderful things they could do to change it and bring it up to their high standards?

Michele Nethken, Hanover

The Howard County school board and administration should act immediately to (1) ensure equality in all schools under their jurisdiction and (2) abolish open enrollment. If there is a need to increase the number of teachers at some schools, do it. Conversely, school transportation district lines exist for good reason.

Kenneth A. Stevens, Savage

I believe parents should be able to choose whatever school they want to sent their children to in the county. We pay taxes that go to all the county schools, and therefore we should be able to choose which school we want to go to.

Lynne Curry, Columbia

Pub Date: 9/21/99

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