Drug bans in public housing: Too draconian?
Regarding "One strike and out, in public housing" (Feb. 19): I appreciate the effort to make readers aware of the problem in the Oakland, Calif., public housing projects as a result of the law passed by Congress. I understand many may see this as a problem. But the goal of the law is to help fight the war on drugs. Any drug use on the tenants' premises is grounds for eviction. In order for this law to be effective, it needs to be practiced, and practiced without provisions or exceptions. The use of illegal drugs is not permitted and should not be condoned in any circumstance.
I fully agree with the law and the efforts being done to support its success. Public housing is a benefit that should be given only to drug-free households willing to ensure they don't contribute to illegal drug activity. Families that can live by the laws are the ones who should have the privilege of federal government public housing. If this is a problem, obviously those families do not have a place as tenants in that complex. Holding people accountable by enforcing the law is the only way a change is going to be seen.
It is unfair that innocent people are being held responsible for drug use going on in their homes when they have no knowledge that it's going on. It is obvious that the public is trying to help control drug issues, but blaming and punishing innocent people for the acts of others simply does not help solve the problem. In the case mentioned, the tenant had no idea her grandson was using drugs. Blaming the tenant and kicking her from her home is a little extreme. If innocent people are being treated this way for something they never did, I am wondering what the punishment should be for actual dealers and users - and what punishment the grandson is facing for actually smoking the marijuana.
It is unfair to evict tenants after "one strike," especially when the tenant is a senior citizen and the offender doesn't even live in the home - and grandparents should certainly not be held responsible for their relative's actions.
I do believe, however, parents who have children under 21 should take more responsibility in monitoring their children's actions. Young people often lack clear judgment and are conducive to peer pressure. Parents' lack of knowledge in what their kids are doing does not give them freedom from responsibility. They should, however, be given a second chance based on investigations on whether or not the offenses and drug abuse have been going on for a long time without the parent's awareness. In cases where parents are totally ignorant of the fact their children have been involved with drugs for quite a while, meaning months, and they should have seen the signs in their children's behavior but did not, the eviction should take place.
I fully agree with the law designed to enforce people to take a stand against drugs. Public housing is intended to help people, and should be respected and cared for. With this law, tenants who want to keep their homes are forced to take into consideration the effects their guests may have on them. Even though it is rough for these individuals who are being evicted due to the acts of their guests, this law's enforcement will bring greater public attention to the war on drugs. If this law is taken seriously and enforced by tenants, it will only serve as a protection of those living in public housing and the surrounding community.
The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.
Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to email@example.com.