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Money Spent on Safe Schools

September 13, 1998

Many thanks for your Sept. 6 Sunday Report on the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. This sort of comprehensive, no-punches-pulled reportage is sorely needed. While good intentions may underlie such legislation as this, the implementation usually falls far short of what one might wish, and the very size and scope of the federal government make it almost impossible for the average citizen to comprehend how poorly his or her tax dollars are being utilized.

I dare say that The Times could do one such report a month for the next 100 years and not cover all of the waste, stupidity and, yes, corruption within our governmental bureaucracies.

BILL FARLEY

Sun Valley

* How could paying a counselor for a gay student group not be considered a good investment of safe school funds (" 'Soup to Nuts': Where the Money Goes")? Gay and lesbian students are subject to ongoing verbal and physical harassment in our schools. Comparing the allocation of funds to a counselor who might be able to make the schools less of a nightmare for these students to the spending of funds for a magician is both absurd and inflammatory.

Making our schools safe applies to all students and unfortunately, in many parts of this country, gay and lesbian students are particularly in need of that safety to learn.

MEG ROBINSON, Secretary

Gay, Lesbian, and Straight

Education Network

Santa Ana

* Your article typifies the response most school districts offer to the problem of drugs and violence within the school setting. Rather than offer preventive measures that would encourage alternatives to violence and drugs, school districts (like LAUSD) present high-profile, catchy programs that satisfy the short attention span of politicians.

Within the school setting, the professional who typically has the most advanced education and training is the school psychologist. Instead of creating programs that lack accountability and often die as the money runs out, hire more school psychologists to provide interventions that have proven to be effective to students, and also to educate and empower the school communities in which they work.

STEVEN P. RUDE, President

L.A. Assn. of School Psychologists

Los Angeles

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