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Letters to the Editor 5/26 Part 1

May 28, 2002

Do we really need police in our schools?


To the editor:

If I had $425,000 to spend on education, putting two policemen in North Hagerstown and South Hagerstown High Schools would not be a top priority. Have we gotten to the point where it is necessary to have police patrols to control our high school students? Folks, I think the school board and the Hagerstown Police Department are sneaking one by us.

About 10 years ago I took a well-known science educator to visit three of our high schools: Clear Spring, North Hagerstown, and Williamsport. Her most glowing accolades went to the behavior of the students of these three schools. She spoke of how well-behaved and how cordial our students were.

In my 40 years with Washington County Public Schools I found the same thing. Most of our high school students were well behaved. There were and still are an overwhelming group of outstanding students. Of course, we had a few students who were discipline problems. They were usually mischievous. Some went on to become teachers and administrators in our schools. I do not think we needed police carrying guns to deal with those students. Has it changed that much in the past few years?

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Occasionally there was that one "bad apple" who threatened to spoil the barrel. I always felt that the principals and the Board of Education did a poor job dealing with these discipline problems.

Who is going to pay for these police when the grant runs out? This money comes from the U.S. Department of Justice but you are still paying a little bit of it with your taxes. Who do you think is going to pay the full amount when the Board of Education and the Police Department declare the program a success and the three-year grant period is over.

Lt. Gary Spielman gave the whole plot away when he said, "We will get two extra officers for the department."

This is classic bureaucracy. The purpose of a bureaucracy is to make a bigger bureaucracy, not to solve problems. Two more police officers will be added to the budget in 2006, and we will wonder why our taxes have increased.

I had a wonderful time working with the students of Washington County. My worst experience came when two policemen walked into my classroom and arrested a girl in front of me and my students. Later I visited a high school in Baltimore. When I entered the door I passed through a metal detector and was frisked by a policeman. At that point I vowed that I would never teach in a school that required the presence of police.

I have a great deal of respect for the people quoted in The Morning Herald article of April 26: Paul Bailey, Herbert Hardin, Boyd Michael, David Reeder, Mike Shockey and Lt. Tom Alexander. If schools have changed so much since when I worked there eight years ago, I retract all of what I have said.

I feel that we have a great group of students in our schools. I am not sure now is the time to involve police carrying guns in their lives. If we must have armed personnel in our schools, then perhaps we need to rethink public education.

James C. Haught

Hagerstown




Orchards Restaurant comes to the rescue


To the editor:

This past Friday, May 10, we held our seventh annual fund-raising dinner and auction at one of the area's local dining facilities. Our auction was a success for many different reasons, but largely due to the assistance of the staff of the Orchards Restaurant and banquet facility in Chambersburg, Pa.

Original intentions were that we would be hosting approximately 120 guests for this year's auction. We feel due to the advertising efforts of our committee members and the radio airtime provided by Dame Broadcasting and your newspaper articles, we almost doubled the ticket sales and projections. This year's finance committee would like to send our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all organizations that made this year's auction a success.

Upon arrival at the Orchards, our guests were warmly welcomed and all seemed well. About a half-hour later we quickly realized that we didn't have enough seats to accommodate all of our guests. This situation could have been disastrous had it not been for the management staff of the restaurant.

They quickly noticed this potential problem and began to set up additional tables and place settings, enough to accommodate all guests, with all said and done, we had enough seating and room to hold our auction and even enough catered food. Please keep in mind we had several hundred people to accommodate.

The staff and management of the restaurant deserves our public appreciation.

Again, we would like to thank all persons, businesses and organizations who continue to help us realize our goals.

Gregory L. Ohler

Habitat for Humanity of Franklin County

Chambersburg. Pa.




Social Security no good deal for retirees


To the editor:

In an article on May 1, entitled "Keep Wall Street's Grubby Little Paws Off Social Security," Anna Burker feels that the privatization of Social Security would only make Wall Street "insiders" richer, while creating another Enron incident.

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