Parents with children in Baltimore County Public Schools held a rally on Tuesday to raise awareness about increased violence on campus following multiple viral videos of students fighting. Parents accused school officials of dismissing their concerns while incorrectly insisting the brawls are becoming less frequent.
“It’s to the point where it’s out of control,” Darren Badillo, a member of the Baltimore County Parent and Student Coalition, told WBFF. “We want these kids to be held accountable.”
According to Badillo, there were 23 violent incidents last year. So far this year, Badillo said there have been at least 18 altercations between students.
Baltimore County Public Schools recently held a virtual town hall to discuss parents’ concerns regarding the violent assaults on campus. Badillo argued that repeated fighting proves that the district is not doing enough.
“We need to stop with these virtual meetings. You know, the pandemic is over. You know, the public needs to be and they want to come together,” he said.
The Baltimore County Parent and Student Coalition held a “stop school violence” rally on Tuesday, where several parents voiced their concerns.
The coalition president, Amy Adams, told Fox News Digital, “We were hoping this year would be a better, more stable environment within the schools, but the issues are persistent as evidenced by the extremely disturbing videos.”
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan told WBFF that the amount of fighting occurring in the Baltimore County district is “outrageous.”
“We put hundreds of millions of dollars into the schools specifically for school resource officers,” said Hogan.
The governor stated that he believes the answer to stopping the violence is ensuring more school resource officers are on campus. However, according to Baltimore County executive Johnny Olszewski, the schools have been adding more resource officers.
“Just this last budget we added four SRO’s on top of the fact that we have floating school resource officers for our elementary schools. We have police officers in every middle school and high school,” said Olszewski.
The parents accused the school of not having any consequences for students who initiate fighting.
Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Darryl Williams fired back at parents in a letter sent home with students. In the letter, Williams insisted violence in the schools is down 11% from this time last year, and out-of-school suspensions are up.
“The intolerable actions of 8.2 percent of students who have engaged in fights and other aggressive behaviors this school year create the impression that violent behavior is the norm and accepted in our schools, and that there are no consequences for aggressive behavior,” said Williams. “That is categorically false.”
Adams stated that the school system’s response to concerned parents has been disappointing. She said, “They attempt to dismiss our concerns as a ‘false narrative’ and use data to show that incidents are decreasing, but we hear from staff that many incidents are not documented. So how accurate is the tracking data?”
The Baltimore Sun reported that Baltimore County Public Schools officials announced a new violence intervention program on Tuesday that is set to launch in January. The program will aim to teach students how to resolve and deescalate conflicts.