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Letters to Editor

June 29, 1998

No in-house investigations

To the editor:

Do legal authorities in West Virginia have the backbone to corral state cops who allegedly acted like cowboys?

I asked this question after reading, "Police abuses alleged in W.Va." (June 24). The article reported that a former state trooper substantiated charges that a group of state police brutalized a Berkeley County man last fall.

Reporter Kerry Lynn Fraley's article also reported that Berkeley County prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely asked the state Department of Public Safety to intervene because of "sufficient information to justify an investigation."

This request is big news. But should a state agency investigate other state employees?

I say this because a June 24 Associated Press article on the brutality allegation reported that Col. Gary Edgell, the superintendent of state police, "has said the agency investigated the incident and found no wrongdoing."

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Considering this statement, how can anyone honestly expect a state sleuth to investigate troopers when the guy who runs the state police has already cleared them?

What's more, it appears the state investigator isn't the only one laboring under a potential conflict of interest.

Games-Neely has called the troopers under suspicion to testify in countless grand jury proceedings and felony trials. Is it fair to ask her to prosecute these same troopers if officials determine they broke the law?

No, what we need here is a disinterested person to investigate the charges and bring to trial any troopers who deserve one.

Hopefully The Herald-Mail will ask more questions about this case, which might prompt public officials to behave more responsibly.

Steve Schneider

Hagerstown

Don't coddle troublemakers

To the editor:

I do not know whether teachers are abusing sick days or not. But if they are, can you really blame them? I, for one, cannot. Would you like to go to work every day to face a classroom with a percentage of juvenile delinquents that are coddled by "The System"? These kids have the upper hand and they are very much aware of it.

I'm not talking about the large percentage of kids who know what is expected of them and conduct themselves as responsible students. I'm talking about the ones who are in the classroom for one reason - to disrupt it. They don't really want to be there but after being sent away for awhile, they are court-ordered to attend classes. They have no respect or consideration for the teacher, their classmates or themselves.

These students are protected by "The System" because some psychologist analyzed them at some point in their lives and determined they are suffering from this or that. Would you like to go to work every day and be cursed at or threatened with bodily harm by someone who knows they are protected and cannot be held responsible for their actions?

Does something terrible have to happen here like has happened in other parts of the country? These same students are the ones who are robbing your children of the education they deserve.

I feel that the problem starts in the home, and there is not much the schools can do about that. But when they bring their actions to the school, don't tie the teacher or principal's hands with high-tech mumbo-jumbo about why Johnny and Susie has the right to an education. Let the schools have the power to make them responsible for their actions.

Steve Kline

Hagerstown

A special line

To the editor:

Knowing this is a well-read page, I felt it most appropriate to use it as a means of thanking Brook Lane Health Services for its donation to the Listening Line. Because of this donation, the Listening Line was able to place posters in the Washington County Commuters. I wish to thank them, also, for this service.

And a big thanks to Career Studies, especially to Ms. Rubino, Timmy Edmunds and the others who helped with the commuter posters. Great work!

A special thanks to Kirk Miller of Brook Lane.

This is an example of our community in action. Isn't it a wonderful feeling?

Wini DeHaven

Office of Consumer Advocacy

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