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To the Editor:

Although the Anne Arundel County (Md.) school district is to be commended for its "get-tough" approach to drug abuse ("Maryland District's Get-Tough Policy Cited as Model for Drug-Free Schools," Oct. 4, 1989), its policy is not new or innovative.

Many districts have had programs similar to this model since the early 1980's; some of these, in fact, have been around since the late 1970's in northeastern Ohio.

Under the influence of Minneapolis's Community Intervention Program, districts in this area formed a consortium in 1979 to train teacher-intervention teams.

An important part of this program, in addition to a policy stating that the use of illicit chemicals (including alcohol) by students will not be tolerated, is its "community" component. Both parents and other citizens are heavily involved in efforts to educate about and intervene in chemical-abuse problems among youths.

And having been a superintendent in three districts in Ohio and Pennsylvania from 1976 to 1988, I can state that programs essentially the same as Anne Arundel's were implemented in each.

Not only your article, which cites former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett's endorsement of the Anne Arundel program, but also other pronouncements by Mr. Bennett make it sound as though he does not know what school districts have been doing--and are still doing.

In fact, the problem is systemic, with important elements lying deep within the "demand" nature of chemical addiction.

While Mr. Bennett has oversimplified the issue, which cannot be corrected by the schools alone, he could learn a great deal about what has been attempted--and what works.

Further, if he were to urge the use of research-based knowledge concerning some of the correlates of chemical-abuse behavior--for example, early smoking, drinking, latch-key environment--programs would increase their likelihood of success.

William P. Deighan Coordinator Graduate Program in Educational Administration John Carroll University University Heights, Ohio

To the Editor:

Please, Senator Paul Simon, stay away from legislating bills that are supposed to protect me ("Reducing Violence on Television," Commentary, Oct. 4, 1989).

If you really believe in such a simplistic cause-and-effect scenar4io, why not equip prisons and juvenile-detention centers with reruns of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" so that inmates will be cured?

I have read that the murderer David Berkowitz--"Son of Sam"--said that a dog told him to commit atrocities. How about outlawing dogs?

I have also read of some people killing others because, they claimed, God told them to do so. Perhaps what we need to do is outlaw religion.

You and other do-gooder, father-knows-best folks in the Congress should devise fewer bills that affect non-criminals and more that have an impact on criminals.

The best kind of government we could possibly expect from you, and those like you, is less government.

And you really consider yourself a "lifelong civil libertarian"?

Barry J. Koestler Evaluator Board of Education Dayton, Ohio

Education Week takes no editorial positions, but welcomes the opinions, comments and ideas of its readers. You are invited to submit commentary proposals, manuscripts, and letters. They should be addressed to: Commentary, Education Week, 4301 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 250, Washington, D.C. 20008.

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