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Middle school girls deserve math support

The content of Diane Steinle's June 5 column, "Duke physics equation doesn't include women," utterly distressed me, but I wish to congratulate Ms. Steinle for having the courage to write on a controversial subject.

I am in my 14th year as a guidance counselor for Pinellas County and currently work with middle school pupils (the age at which research says girls stop believing in their ability to succeed in math and science). As did Laurie Freeman, the Pinellas County student who was harassed out of a physics major at Duke University, my girls hear that they can "shoot for the stars" and choose any career for which they are capable.

At the end of this school year, my bulletin board was a source of support for girls. Posted articles included, "Any Goal, Every Success," "Girls are thriving now that it's OK to be smart," "Leaving at Top Speed" (about Bonnie Blair), "Girls working harder for success," "Women play increasing role in sports marketing," "Experiments in Equality" and "Florida Women: Let Your Actions Free Your Dreams."

Am I setting these children up for heartbreak?

For the last two years, middle school girls have been targeted for encouragement from the Mid-Pinellas and Clearwater branches of the American Association of University Women and from Kennedy Middle School. Are these groups wasting their time, energy, and money on programs such as "Girls + Math + Science = Success"?

If Laurie Freeman, the best of our best (valedictorian of the International Baccalaureate Program at St. Petersburg High), is not welcome in physics at Duke, then our country has much further to go than I thought in utilizing the latent resources to be found in talented, intelligent women.

I hope we can all take Ms. Freeman's experience to heart and double our efforts to make opportunities in this country fair and to make our country the best it can be by utilizing and developing all of our resources, including young women.

Cecilia B. Colbert

Oak Grove Middle School

Yearbook shenanigans

overshadowed the good

As a parent and resident of Dunedin, it saddens me to hear of the recent events surrounding the 1995 Dunedin High yearbook.

The student body, including the class of '95, accomplished many things to be proud of. Its members honorably represented the high school and our city throughout the world. They participated in academic, athletic and music events, with each student each time doing his or her personal best.

Unfortunately, the slanderous work of two or three students has overshadowed the good. It has brought a negative spotlight to the school. In no way do these students represent the leadership or ethical standard of the 1995 student body of Dunedin High.

I applaud Principal Mildred Reed's strong statement to the students involved. Behavior such as this needs to have serious consequences. The reputation of this school and its entire student body has been damaged.

After four years of hard work, the class of 1995 deserved better.

Margaret J. Golay

Dunedin

Belleair Bluff officer

proved overzealous

In 1994, my car was pulled over twice by police. In both cases my vehicle was similar to one that was used during a robbery.

In the first case three Pinellas County sheriff's deputies boxed me in with their patrol cars. I was nervous and apprehensive when surrounded by police and flashing lights, but they treated me with courtesy and professionalism. I was questioned for about 10 minutes and released.

In the second instance, I was a passenger in my own car and we were pulled over by a Belleair Bluffs policeman. I remember the officer's words very well. He said, "Drop what's in your hands and put them on the dash. If you don't, I'll blow your head off and it will hurt."

I had a hot cup of coffee in one hand and coins in the other. The coffee ended up in my lap and the coins rolling around on the floor board. This officer also had a backup _ a Belleair Beach patrolman. After about 10 minutes of interrogation, we were allowed to leave.

I applaud the decision to eliminate the Belleair Bluffs Police Department and replace it with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Eric Nystrom

Clearwater

Tower would mar

beach's beauty

I am very much against the erection of a tower on Clearwater Beach. It would be as out of place on our beach as a beach would be in downtown Seattle.

The tower in Seattle is as much a part of the city as the Empire State Building is a part of the New York skyline.

Clearwater Beach's beauty is due in no small amount to its horizon, sand and openness. A man-made steel skyscraper would be an abomination in the middle of our beautiful natural beach.

Fred Nassif

Clearwater

There's only one answer:

Limit politicians' terms

"8-Is-Enough" is now alive again. I have read the journalists' views on it. They tell us uneducated stiffs a simple solution is available by merely voting the bad guys out.

I disagree. My point is that these long-term parasites have managed to help send a lot of small favors to local voters, so that a built-in bloc of voters keeps them in office (to keep getting "favors"). That bloc is big enough to overcome the few smart ones who try to vote them out. That's why Clearwater City Commissioner Fred Thomas is pushing the only path open: Close the door. I endorse it 100 percent.

Pat Imperato

Palm Harbor

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