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Letters to the editor

June 10, 1997

Britner, Gisriel should return to North High

To the editor:

Three Cheers for Del. Joanne Benson of Prince George's County!

Delegate Benson has threatened the Washington County Board of Education with legal action if it doesn't reverse a decision to transfer two of North Hagerstown High School's finest educators, Kurt Britner and Austin Gisriel, back to their former positions at North High.

Britner and Gisriel exemplify excellence in education. Both are dedicated to the profession of teaching. They motivate, challenge and inspire their students. Their interest in our children as individuals is genuine.

In a recent edition of The Morning Herald, Delegate Benson related how her nephew, John, was deprived of a quality education due to a misdiagnosis of attention deficit disorder as an elementary student.

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John is now on the honor roll due to efforts of Britner. Britner recognized and understood John's disability and enabled him to flourish in spite of it. Del. Benson recognizes the importance of the continuity of a good teacher/student relationship and is willing to go to court to preserve it.

If Benson represents one side of the coin, I represent the other. My daughter Kristen, was a "Class of 93" graduate and valedictorian at North High. She recently graduated from Washington College with a B.A. in English, magna cum laude and fifth in her class.

Kristen never had a learning disability to overcome. She has always excelled in her classes and enjoyed learning for learning's sake. She did not, however, enjoy school.

Kristen's success in high school and college and her pursuit of an English degree is due in part to Austin Gisriel. He was her English teacher during her junior and senior years in high school. She had the talent; he gave it focus and inspired her. She related to his style of teaching. His classes were the "high point" of her high school years.

He instilled in her a love of English, both written and spoken. He praised her and offered constructive criticism as needed. he taught her to think objectively, to question, to pursue creativity and to challenge. He gave of his time. His interest in her education did not end with her high school graduation. He followed her progress through college. She plans to teach English in the Montessori System. He is her mentor and her friend.

As a parent, I thank him for his dedication to "quality education" and for his interest in Kristen's education in particular. We need more teachers of his high caliber.

If it takes legal action to return these educators to their former positions, so be it.

Nancy L. Keener

Maugansville

Closing Fairview would be a vote to destroy it

To the editor:

Voting to close Fairview Outdoor Education Center is a vote to destroy it. Perhaps you have heard the statement: "Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it."

In the mid 1970s the Board of Education closed old Clear Spring High School. Within three months a building and an almost new gymnasium were destroyed. First the windows were broken out: then the damage was done to the interior.

Rain came through the broken windows and the damaged roof. The floors buckled. Within a few months a building valued at more than $1 million became useless. David E. Wiles, a Clear Spring resident, described the destruction in a publication.

Clear Spring High School was located in the town of Clear Spring. Fairview Outdoor Center is located in an isolated wooded area west of town. What do you think would happen to the five buildings and other facilities once the superintendent and board if education has rendered their final decision.

Fairview Outdoor Center is valued at over $1 million. Instead of funding a program that cost $50 per child the board of education is willing to let it become a disaster area. We must stop this unwise decision.

In 1996-97, 5,203 students representing K-12 used the outdoor school. If you are a citizen, a parent, a former student or future student, let the board of education know your feelings.

James C. Haught

Hagerstown

New rules won't affect the elderly

To the editor:

The Morning Herald article, "Some Say Rules May Force the Disabled From Homes," by Steven T. Dennis (Friday May 23, 1997), reported on proposed regulations for assisted living that would effect organizations and agencies that provide care to disabled adults and elders.

The proposed regulations are intended to improve the delivery of services to this vulnerable segment of the population. No one is served by giving information that is incomplete and alarms the disabled adults and elders and those who serve them.

The Maryland Departments of Human Resources, Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Maryland Office on Aging have been working together over the past 10 months on the proposed regulations. These regulations will require changes. However, the changes will require providers to meet minimal standards of care that would ensure safety, quality of care, and residents' rights.

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