Our goal is to continue to work with the Maryland State Department of Education as well as the local school systems to develop and adopt policies that foster disciplinary practices that:
- Improve behavior
- Decrease disparities in discipline
- Keep more students in the classroom
Updates: January 23, 2015 Collaborated with Rais Akbar, juvenile justice policy director, in his preparation for testimony on HB28 which requires that at least one school resource officer be assigned to each public school in the State and requires that specified public schools are to hire retired law enforcement officers as school resource officers for the school. To read testimony click here. January 30, 2015 WBAL-TV reports on an incident in a Baltimore City public school in which three female students were in an altercation with a school resource officer. The incident was recorded on video by the school’s cameras. The incident stemmed from a response one of the students gave to the resource officer. As a result, the students were charged but the case which was to be heard in the Baltimore City Youth Justice Center was dismissed. The girls were suspended and sent to an alternative school. This incident garners concern because after MSDE eliminated the zero tolerance policy, which limits not eliminates the use of suspensions and expulsions as a means of discipline, are arrests now being used as a tool to remove students from the classroom? February 2, 2015 A letter to the editor to the Baltimore Sun, penned by Kate Rabb, was published today in response to the alarming incident in which three female students were in an altercation with a school resource officer (SRO). To read “Don’t Give City School Kids an Arrest Record for Mouthing Off,” click here. February 3, 2015 Kate Rabb was on the Marc Steiner Show (WEAA 88.9 FM) today regarding the topic of school discipline and the SRO’s role in the same “What Should the Role of Police be in Maryland Schools.” Kate was one of six guests on the show which included Mo Canady, Executive Director of NASRO, National Association of School Resource Officers; Sara Love, Public Policy Director of the ACLU of Maryland; Jenny Egan, Juvenile Public Defender in Baltimore City focusing on school-based arrests, who also wrote an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun in response to the incident; Delegate Cluster, the sponsor of HB28 which proposes that a school resource officers be placed in all public schools; and Andrew Turner, Supervisor for Safe Schools for Wicomico County Public Schools. February 4, 2015 Kate Rabb was on Maryland Morning along with Delegate John Cluster, of Baltimore County, who is the sponsor of HB28 which would require every school in Maryland to have a resource officer. To listen to the show, click here. February 6, 2015 The Coalition to Reform School Discipline –in which Kate Rabb, is the coordinator– met with the Chief Executive Officer of Baltimore City Public Schools, Dr. Gregory Thornton and Baltimore City Public Schools Chief of Police, Marshall T. Goodwin. The discussion points were as follows:
- Improve data collection on school disciplinary measures
- Define roles and responsibilities for school resource officers
- Offer better school resource officer training
- Create of task force to monitor schools
February 24, 2015 Kate Rabb and members of the Coalition to Reform School Discipline had another productive meeting with Dr. Gregory Thornton, the CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, and four high-ranking members of the school police force, including Chief Goodwin. The group has agreed to meet regularly to work toward reducing school-based arrests and referrals in City Schools. ACY’s priorities for this group include:
- Collection of data about arrests and referrals disaggregated by race, sex, grade, offense charged, school, IEP/504 status, FARMS status, arresting police officer, and location of the arrest;
- Dissemination and strategic use of the data to significantly reduce arrests and referrals;
- Creation of written policies that clearly delineates the role of police officers in schools and the interaction between police and the discipline process; and
- Creation of adequate and culturally sensitive training protocols and requirements for school police officers.
ACY welcomes the opportunity to work with the school system on reducing arrests and referrals, and believes that this group will be a productive way to bring about reforms. On the same day, Rais Akbar represented ACY at the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioner’s meeting and spoke in opposition to the proposed bill that would allow Baltimore City School Police to carry guns during the school day.