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Baltimore City School Board votes unanimously to prevent police officers from carrying guns at schools

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Christina Tkacik
The Baltimore Sun

The Baltimore City school board voted unanimously to oppose a measure that would have allowed school police officers to carry weapons during the day.

The school board’s vote effectively kills HB31, which would have overturned a previous prohibition on school police officers carrying guns in schools.

Del. Cheryl D. Glenn, a Democrat who sponsored the bill, said she would be withdrawing the proposed legislation from the General Assembly.

“I can’t move a bill that doesn’t have the support of the school board and the mayor,” she said. “The votes wouldn’t be there.”



The 10-0 opposition vote took place at a meeting Tuesday night at school headquarters on North Avenue after a lively public forum in which students, parents and members of the police union voiced their opinions both in favor and against the bill, each side citing data and other evidence to bolster their arguments.

The roughly 90 city schools police officers are allowed to carry their service weapons while patrolling the exterior of school buildings before and after school hours. But they are required to store their weapons in a secure location during the school day.

Another bill that would have allowed school police officers to be armed inside schools failed during the General Assembly session in 2015.

Some of those who opposed the bill discussed problems in the school police force, which falls under the Baltimore Police Department.

“The SROs are under federal consent decree,” said Kimberly Humphrey from the ACLU of Maryland.


Parent Melissa Schober said that of 90 arrests made by school officers, 89 of the people arrested had been black.

Others said the presence of an armed police officer had done little to prevent the deadliest school shootings in the past.

But those in favor of the measure — including representatives from the police union — touted what they argued was the force’s positive role in the community.

“We have always been Baltimore’s ‘best-kept secret,” said Sgt. Clyde Boatwright, on behalf of the Fraternal Order of Police. He said there was no substantive data that showed armed officers caused problems in schools, only suggestions that “it could.”

Baltimore is the only jurisdiction in Maryland with a sworn school police force. In surrounding counties, local police or sheriff’s departments patrol schools and are allowed to carry their weapons.

Sekou Kasimu, 69, said that’s a violation of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which states that all citizens are entitled to equal protection under the law.

At the end of the period of public input, students with a group called the Baltimore Algebra Project formed a phalanx with their backs to the board members.

“No guns in schools” they said in unison. “We gonna fight for our lives.”

After attempting to get the students to return to their seats, visibly exasperated board commissioner Cheryl A. Casciani declared a break with a pounding of her gavel. “This meeting is officially recessed,” she said.

Glenn, the bill’s sponsor, said she was “very disappointed” by the decision and felt the board had succumbed to pressure from the student group. “I think that this is a very unwise decision,” she said. “These are sworn police officers. They are not security guards. They have more training than Baltimore police.”

ctkacik@baltsun.com

twitter.com/xtinatkacik

Baltimore Sun reporter Talia Richman contributed to this article.

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38 COMMENTS

  1. How about no. That’s not how safety and protection works. This country is getting out of hand. You can’t determine how to do a police officers job you have never done it yourself. You expect them to go save the children and run into a gun fight with no weapon? Well think again because your child is probably going to die (along with many others) all because you took the officers protection away.

  2. The most secure spot to store the weapons would be on the personnel they are assigned to. But, progressives are all about taking the weapons from the good guys/gals, and common sense be damned.
    Let’s see how many of those opposed will be in body bags if a shooter enters their school. Stop blaming the gun in the hand of an evil person, and blame the person holding it.

  3. That’s eastern MD for you. bunch of dummies… Good luck when one of these officers does need a gun to save someone’s life.

  4. I believe they lost their minds. I wouldn’t never be a police officer that is unarmed. Shame on the school officials for allowing this to occur. I assume a mass exodus will occur. The officers would be ignorant under those conditions.

  5. Then I’d be looking for different employment because when an active shooter situation arises the police will bear the brunt of the blame for not doing anything to stop it.

  6. If I was one of their officers, I would find a new job. Let’s see how the school board feels when they have no officers in their schools.

  7. If I were a officier I would transfer out of that position. It should not be up to the school board to decide if a Law Officer can be armed or not, so they may as well hire rent a cops or patrol it themselves since they seem to know best ( only in their minds)

  8. How ignorant are these people. Baltimore is already trashed if they believe this than all police should be disarmed. What will they tell the parents of a child or children that are killed because the officer couldn’t use every tool to keep their child safe. Oh please wait while I go to the office and get my weapon from the vault. I hope they get sued into oblivion.

  9. And when NO ONE is allowed to have guns, ONLY the outlaws will have guns.

    Enjoy getting what you wish for; though I feel sorry for your kids.

  10. Another set of gun free zones. That simply guarantees more school shootings. Plain and simple. Baltimore is ruled by morons and elected by simpletons.

  11. Guess the citizens of Baltimore City will have to experience a catastrophic event and potential loss of life to recognize the incompetance of their leadership!

  12. That makes as much sense as sending a carpenter to build a house with no hammer. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. There’s no way I’d put my life on the line protecting a school under these circumstances. I’d hate to live with this decision if something we’re to happen at one of those schools. I feel terrible for those officers.

  13. Perhaps the Baltimore City School board members should talk to the Broward County School board, which is the school district in Florida where the school shootings at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School happened, and perhaps the parents of these little school protesters should talk to the parents of the kids murdered and wounded in that shooting. They could also talk to the school board and family members of the murdered and wounded students at Columbine High School in Colorado. I bet there would be a different opinion provided to them about the pros and cons of having armed officers at the school as opposed to unarmed officers.

  14. They let some stupid punk kids pressure them in to this decision, what are they not the adults, there’s only one reason someone doesn’t want the police to have guns, it’s so they don’t get shot while committing a violent crime, this is Baltimore for fuck sakes, the same city that said let them riot, so stupid, I hope the police force pull their officers out of the school systems, if there is that big of a problem that they have had 90 arrests in a school, them pathetic thug kids are going to riot in the schools, and why, because now they can, they don’t need any other reason, I hope the school board enjoys their shit hole these kids ate going to make it.

    • Maryland, and especially Baltimore are a liberal democrat controlled mecca, and there’s not much chance that the Baltimore police dept. will pull their officers out of the schools. the officers should refuse to patrol at any school unarmed.

  15. Tell the school board to hire Private security and stop be resource officers. I would not do a patrol, in a inner city school, unarmed.

  16. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of anything more idiotic. I smell disaster for these unsecured schools in the future. Why would these police officers flat-out place their lives in danger. “When you think of the ideal school”?… yeah… well when I think of the ideal school I don’t think of advertising gun free zones for the nutcases who show up locked and loaded and cause all kinds of mayhem and chaos. These people should be embarrassed. Just hire unarmed guards. Allow these officers to serve and protect the streets.

  17. This is full on stupid, in full on display. What kind of idiot would disarm a police office whose job it is to protect children? This is not America, this is a joke.

  18. What needs to happen is the people who vote these stupid ideas in should be held accountable when people start dying because the police have no power or equipment too do there jobs

  19. That just gave the green light for alot of active shooters. We as law enforcement call schools soft targets. Because an active shooters knows there will be a very little threat to them once they make entry. Theres no way I’d have my child at that school no way !! Plus you got the guy talking about not wanting cops in school and he looks like the thug that’s gonna be pushing the dope in school. Lmbo time will tell everything and by putting it on NEWS !!! OH yeah you gotta some mass shooters headed that way !!! 🏃🏻‍♂️🏃🏻‍♂️🏃🏻‍♂️🏃🏻‍♂️🏃🏻‍♂️🏃🏻‍♂️

  20. Looks like they gonna be needing some top flight security !! The board members dont care cause there not gonna be at the school when it hits the fan. That’s sad that some people have that mind frame of thinking. Next the students will be voting on who they want to be there principal. After that they will be able to drive there own buses to drop off other students 😂.

  21. Let me get this straight. Only school shooters will have guns in a school! So, schools are now designated kill zones because even the police can’t defend the students during the day.

  22. Then what’s the point of having police officers in school? The police should refuse to work in the schools and the schools should just hire glorified hall monitors, since that’s all they would be anyway.

  23. no wonder the jungle bunnies are destroying a once great city. Might as well turn the entire city into a zoo for these animals to further destroy, I am so glad I left before it became Brazzaville.

  24. When/If there is an active shooting in the school. What are the “unarmed” Police Officer supposed to do, Fight the assailant with their bare hands? I suppose, If there are any school Board Members present at the school, the police could use the rocks from the members heads. When thinking about the political makeup of the Baltimore and most of Maryland, I am really not surprised at such a ruling, a liberal mecca.

  25. They are out of their collective minds! They already have “gun free zones” which is a total joke, especially in crime ridden BALTIMORE and now let’s just basically illiminate calling 911, as if that’s particularly effective in a school shooting anyway.

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