Montgomery County Council President Elizabeth Scull proposed this week that the county consider funding special youth-related services for the public schools.
Scull offered her proposal after hearing County Executive James P. Gleason and his staff summarize the findings of a recent series of youth hearings in the county.
Gleason showed council members pages of charts and tables on youth problems as recounted by the students, out-of-school youths, teachers, agency officials, parents and community representatives at seven hearings held last month before Gleason and the council.
"Many of the services needed are going to be school-based," said Scull. "That will bring up the problem of increased funding and that's going to bring up criticsm in a time of declining enrollment.
We should be able to assign money to the schools so it can be used for nothing else (but the services) - a categorical contract."
Scull also suggested that the county study the role schools play in dealing with disruptive students - a problem that was mentioned by more speakers than any other subject, according to the report made by Gleason's office. She speculated that schools might benefit by having the authority to tell parents when a child should be placed in an alternative school program or by having authority to place students directly in alternative programs.
"But if you don't have the family' support they're going to say the child's been mistreated," said council member Esther Gelman. "Without the family support you're nowhere."
Scull also said county residents have suggested that the f drinking age be raised to 21, from the present age of 18.
"Eighteen-year-olds have buddies in high schools," Scull pointed out. "So it's impossible for them not to share with the 13 and 14 and 15-year-olds.
"We are still in the process of evaluating what this testimony tells us," said Gleason, who predicted he would have specific recommendations in a few weeks that might be included in his budget considerations.
Charles Steinbraker and Gary Boyd, the two staff members who organized the data, brought the county council charts that categorized the "486 problems and 626 different recommendations" cited during testimony last month.