Councilman seeking rail safety solutions
Monday's Getting There column calling on the entire Middle River community to take a share of responsibilty for preventing recurrences of the tragic railroad track accidents such as the one that caused the death of 14-year-old Anna Marie Stickel was not universally persuasive.
Quite a few readers continue to hold the view that Anna, who was certainly on the Amtrak tracks unwisely and without authorization, was solely responsible for her death -- or as one writer put it "this girl got what she asked for."
Fortunately, the east side of Baltimore County is represented by a councilman who sees a community interest in protecting young teenagers from their own immaturity. Baltimore County Council Chairman John Olszewski Sr. (right) sent me this email signaling that he is interested in looking for solutions -- not merely pointing a finger at a dead girl and her grieving parents:
Good morning Michael, I just finished reading your article in the morning paper and I think you got it right. This issue isn't just a parental one but it is one that everyone involved should come together and come up with some collaborative ideas to bring a bright light onto the subject of dangerous train tracks.
I have asked the Superintendent and the Vice President of the Board to consider putting something in the yearly handbook that is distributed to students so that they and parents as well can be reminded of the dangers of using train tracks as a short cut to school. This will reenforce to students the dangers of railroad crossings and the horrific consequences associated with using these tracks as short cuts to schools.
These crossings are very dangerous areas that need to be clearly marked, patrolled for trespassers and continually talked about in different settings. They should be mentioned in assemblies in school, morning announcements,public television and community meetings where everyone in the community strives for a better quality of life in (their) neighborhoods as well as (a) safer place to live.
I will continue to try to do my part by giving the County Executive some ideas as to what we can do as public officials. Thank you for doing your part by keeping this story alive so that others may act in a responsible way so that other families don't have to face such a tragic situation.