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    Letters to the Editors

    Principal's action may have averted trouble in the future

    © St. Petersburg Times, published April 1, 2001


    Re: School disciplines baseball players, March 21 story.

    I agree fully with the letter on March 29 from J. Frost in which he applauds the actions of the Palm Harbor University High School principal in disciplining the kids. Read the true crime book Our Guys if you have any doubt that the principal took the right action.

    In the late 1980s, in Glen Ridge, N.J., an affluent community, the budding athletes from grade school to high school were treated like demi-gods and all of their "horseplay" was looked upon as just that.

    It started small but soon escalated to being caught buying liquor, literally destroying the inside of the house of a girl they wanted to embarrass, often harshly intimidating many students who were not one of "our guys" and regularly exposing themselves in class.

    They were not punished or even suspended from playing football and wrestling; teachers, school administrators, parents all looked the other way as this "horseplay" went on for years.

    Since those kids felt they were able to do anything they wished, it was not so strange that they ended up gang-raping a retarded girl from the neighborhood, as several other athletes watched and cheered.

    So, hooray for this principal.

    He knows one must stop such "horseplay" immediately, and nip such anti-social actions in the bud or face much more serious consequences in the not-too-distant future.

    Otherwise, kids would get the idea that it's all okay. And it is not.
    -- Peggy Wiley, Clearwater

    Principal on target with suspensions

    Re: School criticized for players' discipline, March 24 story.

    Palm Harbor University High School principal Alec Liem's responsive action to the reported activity of the baseball team players that took place in Fort Lauderdale is right on the mark.

    The student ballplayers involved know that the behavior they exhibited was wrong and that it is not innocent horseplay.
    -- The response of Mike Pachik (Chris Pachik's father) is very interesting.
    About the 1998 hazing incident, Mike Pachik agreed that principal Liem's action, then, was appropriate.
    And now that the shoe is on the other foot, Mike Pachik disagrees with Liem's action as too harsh.
    Very, very interesting.
    Harold Zallis, Palm Harbor

    Two honor students suspended unjustly

    In the case of the students who were suspended from Palm Harbor University High School for roughhousing on a baseball trip, these administrators have failed miserably.

    It is our duty as adults to help raise children to be the best they can be, to teach them by example.

    Have principal Alec Liem and other school administrators acted responsibly in their duties? I do not believe there was due process.

    Two honor students with very promising futures were suspended unjustly.
    -- Barb Wolfe, Largo

    Art festival's spring break timing poor

    I like the Clearwater Art Festival, but wouldn't it be wiser to have it held at some other time than during the spring break traffic?

    I like concerts, but, for goodness sakes, having one on the same weekend as the Art Festival, during spring break traffic, closing Drew Street from Osceola to the Memorial Causeway Bridge?

    Am I wrong to think that this is poor planning if the city wants the traffic to run smoothly during our busy spring break weekends?
    -- Jan Nierengarten, Clearwater

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