Child Protection

The Times, in a well-intended editorial (Feb. 17), "Protection for Child Actors," has come out in favor of "continuing" the presence of a studio teacher on the set with 16- and 17-year-old actors, contrary to the proposed new rules for minors working in the entertainment industry, and contrary to existing state law.

While the intent of The Times' concern is commendable, to extend the practice, which now occurs as a result of the illegal enforcement of a whole body of "regulations" never legally enacted, would violate 16- and 17-year-olds' constitutional right to equal protection of the laws, and would lay the State of California open to a whole host of lawsuits, which it could not hope to win and which would ultimately cost the taxpayers untold thousands of dollars.

Since the state is not prepared to require similar supervision of all 16- and 17-year-olds working, wherever that might be, it legally cannot require such supervision for any of them, however well-intended the inclination.MICHAEL HARRAH Universal City

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