Withdrawal SB17/HB101 - Baltimore City School Police Force – Carrying of Firearms – Scope.
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Without providing notification nor seeking any parent input, Dr. Thornton and the Baltimore City Public School's board requested a bill that creates a significant change in the role of Baltimore City's School Police Force. This change would allow any officer in the School Police Force to be able to carry a firearm in any school in the district during school hours. The Chief of BCPS' police force has stated publicly that this change is necessary for the officers to do their jobs, but has provided no other additional information on why that is so.
We believe the administration of BCPS and the school board should provide more transparency regarding this policy change and input from parents. The school board has provided little to no opportunity for parents to weigh in on this issue. The hearing to take place on February 24th was provided with less than one week's notice and takes place a time that would be very difficult for working parents to attend.
There is a significant amount of research that demonstrates a negative effect of school police on educational outcomes for children. BCPS has offered no information to parents as a counterpoint to the overwhelming evidence that school police do more harm than good. Specifically, the studies say that the presence of school police officers leads to greater arrests and a more punitive approach to discipline, especially in regards to African American boys. There is no evidence that Baltimore's school police, through careful training or evaluation, manages to overcome what all available evidence tells us about school policing: that it hurts our kids.
You can't keep guns out of schools by bringing guns into schools. We should not be paving the school to prison pipeline.
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