Hickey School is too big, risky to help children

Here's a trick question: Who should run the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School, the state or a contractor ("Why wait?" editorial, July 26)?


The answer to the Hickey School's problems won't be found in who runs it. Nobody can run it well, because it's too big, too outmoded, too dilapidated, too inherently dangerous and too institutional to serve the children who often regress, rather than manage to rehabilitate, when they are placed there.

The last line of reporter Greg Garland's article "Hickey search put on hold" (July 23) is the key: "Legislation passed last year calls for the state to eventually shrink or close Hickey and its other big detention centers."


That time can't come soon enough.

Sharon Rubinstein


The writer is communications director for the Maryland Juvenile Justice Coalition.

Bush flips his view of 9/11 commission

The Bush administration fought the idea of establishing a commission on Sept. 11, 2001. When the families and public would not take no for an answer, it initially refused to have National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney and President Bush testify. When that didn't work, it compromised and had Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney appear before the commission together.

But now that the report is in, the administration suggests it is anxious to study it and implement its recommendations ("President urges a quicker review of Sept. 11 report," July 27).

So how can this administration call Sen. John Kerry a flip-flopper?


Anne Brooks


Assisting drug firms instead of the public

Yet again, we have evidence that the Bush administration speaks for its real constituency, the corporations. Under the guise of "tort reform," the Justice Department has broken with precedent to argue that individuals who have been hurt by Food and Drug Administration-approved products are not entitled to seek recovery from manufacturers ("Bush moves to block lawsuits against medical firms," July 25).

To date, FDA approval has been a minimum requirement for these products, and states could provide additional protection. Now the administration cynically argues that FDA approval is all the protection an individual should get.

Certainly there have been cases of frivolous lawsuits and outrageous awards by juries. And there should be debate on how best to deal with them in a way that protects individuals and corporations.


But the administration's monochromatic position siding with the industry is clearly inappropriate, and its choosing to ignore its duty to protect the rights and safety of individuals is abhorrent.

David Schwartz


It is outrageous that instead of protecting the right of the public to redress when someone has been injured by medical devices or medicines, the Bush administration seems more interested in shielding the manufacturers from liability for the consequences (which can include permanent disability or death) of shoddily manufactured or inadequately tested products.

Marian N. Cowen



Bush's speech shows conviction, integrity

When I heard President Bush's speech to the National Urban League ("Bush praises Urban League, says GOP has 'work to do,'" July 24), I heard a man with conviction, honesty, integrity and a sense of humor.

Thomas G. Marabella


Why is 'liberal' tag considered an insult?

When did "liberal" become a dirty word?


The Sun's editorial "Insults on the stump" (July 24) cites among examples of insults in political campaigns Sen. Bob Dole blasting his opponent as "liberal, liberal, liberal, liberal Bill Clinton." It goes on to say, "Often such insults seem to be born of frustration, reducing political discourse to its lowest common denominator."

Agreed. Even so, I think we might first define our terms.

The American Heritage Dictionary's definition of "liberal" begins: "a) Not limited to or by established, traditional orthodox or authoritarian attitudes, views or dogmas; free from bigotry b) Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress and tolerant of ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded."

What's so bad about that?

Ingrid Krause



Hershey School gives needy kids a chance

Those of us in the Milton S. Hershey School family were pleased to see the school mentioned in a positive light in The Sun by the author of "Juvenile injustice" (Opinion * Commentary, July 21) but concerned because he seriously misrepresented the mission of the school.

The Hershey School seeks to enroll students with good behavior (not disruptive of home or school) and the ability to learn, and has never sought to serve "troubled children."

Milton S. Hershey founded the home and school in 1909 to provide an education and trade to young men who had been orphaned.

Today, the school serves 1,300 male and female students who are from families with financial and social needs.

Each child is provided a solid education geared toward college or vocational preparation, as well as medical, dental and recreational opportunities - all at no cost to the student or his or her family.


Mark Seymour

Hershey, Pa.

The writer is executive director of enrollment management and family relations for the Milton S. Hershey School.