updated 07/05/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/05/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Judging by our correspondents, there is not a lot of sympathy out there for actress Shannen Doherty (PEOPLE, June 14), But several troubled readers urged restraint in judging someone thrust into the spotlight at age 22.

When I saw your magazine with the infamous Shannen Doherty on the cover, I thought it would he great to read some more cheese on this sad little girl. And sad little girl she is. She is no different in this article than in any previous write-up: manipulative, conceited and downright obnoxious.
MIKALA CABRERA, Anaheim. Calif.

If I hear one more thing about this insignificant actress I'll start a New York chapter of the "I Hate Brenda" club. How I long for the day that a 90210 episode will show Brenda Walsh getting run over by a Mack truck driven by all bet-friends.
JASON MORAN, New York City

I used to be afraid to drive into Los Angeles because of drive-by shootings. Now I'm just afraid that I'll run into Shannen Doherty.
AMY SIMMONS, Redlands, Calif.

At 22 I was out of control too, only it wasn't plastered all over the tabloids. There are all kinds of reasons why we do the things we do at that age—among them immaturity and, for a select few, instant stardom. Give the girl a break and the privacy she needs to get her life back together before it is too late.

We are the only country in the world that encourages broad use of handguns. Our gun lobbyists are some of the most powerful in Washington. The problem of murders by handguns is not new—only spreading to our younger generation. When are our leaders going to put a stop to the easy availability of guns?
S. ABRAMSON, Redwood City, Calif.

Yeah, yeah, I know—guns don't kill people; people kill people. But when was the last time you heard of a drive-by stabbing?

Until two years ago when I left teaching to give birth to my twin boys, I had taught high school English for 22 years. I went into teaching with all the high hopes and expectations that most teachers share. Those eroded as the years passed. Rare indeed were the days during which at some time I was not consumed by fear. A year or so before I left, a student and known troublemaker threatened me. He was suspended and not allowed on campus, but many times security guards would come and tell me to lie low because he was in the building. The school was going to allow him to return to school because it was said I was violating his right to an education! I came to realize that every time I went to work I was putting my life on the line. I loved my job. I still miss teaching. I miss my students, my friends, my lectures. But I don't miss living with the fear.

Knowing firsthand the damaging effects of continual taunting, I was surprised you did not mention peer mediation as an alternative in dealing with conflicts in schools. In 1989, just two weeks from graduating with honors from high school, I planted a bomb in the locker of my tormentor. It exploded, fortunately not causing him any permanent injuries. The prosecutor at the time had the wisdom to see the situation for what it was—a conflict that had gotten out of hand. He requested mediation between my tormentor and myself. Through that meeting we were able to get beyond our anger to see that what we had done to each other was wrong. We were able to apologize, and we made certain promises that we continue to honor. Peer mediation is based on the idea that conflict has a positive value. Mediation is a chance for students to sit face-to-face in a confidential selling where they can talk uninterrupted. With the help of a student mediator, the problem is defined, solutions are created and evaluated. When an agreement is reached, it is written and signed. The concept is being selected by schools all over the country as the most effective means of resolving conflict and preventing student violence.
PHILIP DeFELICE, Philadelphia

The caption under the photo of young shooting victim Demetrius Rice erroneously stated that no charges were filed. In fact two felony charges were filed and sustained against the juvenile involved in the shooting. "Sustained" is the legal term used in Juvenile Court when a youth is found guilty of charges against him or her. The 15-year-old was charged with involuntary manslaughter and with possession of a loaded firearm on school grounds. Sentencing is scheduled for July 8.

Director of Communications. Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, Los Angeles

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