Where is the Board of Education?

On June 13th, I was joined by the District Six State Delegation and Councilman Crandell in speaking out against the violence and lack of discipline in our school system. I resubmit a portion of that joint press release:

“Most immediately, the Board should conduct a public hearing as soon as possible so parents can be heard. The Board needs to hear what we as elected representatives are hearing. This discussion should continue throughout the summer so schools can plan now in order to address students and parents when doors re-open in the fall. A letter requesting such a public hearing has been sent to the Board.”

“… we strongly believe our school system is in need of a discipline policy overhaul and a better enforcement model. What has been described to us as “sweeping it under the rug so the numbers look better” is not sound policy, especially when the safety of both students and faculty is clearly at risk.”

The week thereafter, Mychael Dickerson, the Baltimore County Public Schools spokesperson, entirely dismissed our concerns as rumors that were spread via social media, as was reported by the Dundalk Eagle.

We asked clearly and specifically that the concerns expressed to us from students, parents and teachers not be swept under the rug. Unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened.

Given a chance to speak at a public hearing, the concerns of a large and growing number of citizens could be shared and understood. Three months have passed and we have not had a public hearing. Fall is here, schools are about to reopen, no planning has been executed and the entire issue has been written off as hearsay by the “Education Establishment” in Towson.

While I am not surprised by this response, I am frustrated at the fact that none of the representatives on the Board of Education are pressing for a public hearing on violence and discipline. I am frequently told by students, parents and teachers that they feel they have no voice on the Board of Education and this lack of action seems to be another clear example of that.

I will always remember a conversation with a teacher from our district at the yearly Teachers Association of Baltimore County breakfast. Her story about the lack of control and discipline at her school was passionate, urgent and a bit desperate. She ended it by saying “what we are doing isn’t working.” Today I reiterate that “what we are doing isn’t working.” I write – again – to ask the Board of Education to hold a public hearing regarding violence, bullying and discipline in our school system.

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