Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

August 15, 2013

Youth center staffing decision bad for both staff and youths

Please let me add another word about the recent termination of the principal and nine faculty members of the youth centers.

I am more than grateful to Delegates Kevin Kelly, Wendell Beitzel and LeRoy Myers, and Senator George Edwards for their support of those terminated.

Michael Lewis, the principal, is my nephew. I know that fact has some influence on what I have to say, but I hope I can be mostly objective in criticizing the decision of the state secretary of education to dismiss him and nine of his faculty. He has done them a great injustice.

I first went into the “forestry camps” in 1963. I have visited young men there often and at length in the fifty years since then. In the several years before Secretary Abed’s “leadership” the camps had been in better shape than I had ever seen them.

I have gotten to know the faculty of the school that exists in the four camps and I am impressed with their competence and their concern for the young men in their classes.

The school program was aimed at rehabilitation rather than punishment. It caught the attention of many around the country interested in juvenile justice. I met such a group who had come here all the way from Oregon to talk with Michael Lewis and observe the school program.

With no concern, and perhaps no knowledge of the effectiveness of the school, Secretary Abed has made this unfortunate decision to change the program.

I am certainly not opposed to innovation, but when something is working as well as the youth centers’ school, I would think any leader would want to continue to move in the same direction rather than begin a whole new way of treating the students.

That brings me to my final concern, the young men in the centers. In all my years of working with them and ministering to them I have never been treated harshly.

I am willing to believe that there are some who may be beyond help; they probably never came around when I was there. Those I did meet were eager for some sign of care. The school program made the most of that eagerness.

I am sorry that what’s best for the students doesn’t seem to have entered into, this bureaucratic and unjust decision.

Monsignor Paul A. Byrnes

Swanton

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Life-saving law Life-saving law

    Not many pieces of legislation to come out of Annapolis can be described as a matter of life or death. But the CPR law signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley is just that.
    Known as Brenna’s Law, the legislation requires that all Maryland high schoolers will be required to complete CPR training as part of the graduation requirement.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cat sanctuary could use help with veterinarian bill

    Dawn’s Cat Sanctuary, Fort Ashby, W.Va., recently rescued 11 cats and one kitten from a home in Keyser, W.Va.

    April 24, 2014

  • Street flowers Street flowers

    Walk along Frostburg’s Main Street in the spring and summer and one can’t miss the beautiful floral arrangements that adorn the lampposts.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • President and Obamacare: Who needs Congress?

    Being a fellow from a small town like Cumberland I don’t always really understand what’s going on in Washington. But I have watched a few houses being built over the years. I even helped some with one house, but my brother fired me from that work pretty quickly, mainly because it was his house being built.

    April 22, 2014

  • Sweet Success Business Forum this evening in Frostburg

    As a member of the Frostburg Business and Professional Association (FBPA), I am pleased to inform the community of the “Sweet Success” event sponsored by the city of Frostburg and our organization.

    April 22, 2014

  • First base First base

    The idea of spending up to $7,500 for a study about the possibility of bringing a minor league baseball team to the area should at least be allowed to reach first base.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • You can help United Way reach its goal

    The United Way of Allegany County campaign for 2013-14 will end April 30 and to date has raised more than $430,000, which is over 86 percent of its goal. But there is still $70,000 to be raised in a very short time.

    April 21, 2014

  • Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift

    While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.

    April 18, 2014

  • Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man

    I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.

    April 18, 2014

  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo