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This week is an important week for Baltimore County parents who want answers about an undisclosed uptick in campus violence at area schools. The county is hosting several virtual town hall meetings to discuss the incidents and find solutions to controlling our campuses. Those meetings are to be held:

  • Monday Dec. 13th for East Zone schools (today, I know)
  • Wednesday Dec. 15th for Central Zone schools
  • Thursday Dec. 16th for West Zone schools

According to reports, there have been several violent events at county schools in recent months, though the county is not releasing the full number of incidents. “Trash cans have been set on fire at our schools, guns on and around our school property have been found, reported gang activity and drug use in our schools,” said Mary Taylor, with the Baltimore County Parent and Student Coalition. There were reports of a student bringing a handgun and bullets to Chesapeake High School in Essex, a student carrying a loaded hand gun at Woodlawn High School and other notable issues that are obviously concerning to parents and administrators.

These meetings are exactly what the county needs and its time to start having these conversations, says Cindy Sexton. “Students are worried, staff is worried, the community is worried. It is a concern in our society, not just in our schools, so it is a hot topic right now,” she said. Sexton is the President of the Teacher’s Association of Baltimore County. Officials say the goal for the meetings is to do just that — communicate. “We want to share what we are doing, we want to share challenges that we are facing and solicit support from our family members, from the community. We don’t have all the answers,” said Michael Zarchin, the district’s chief of the Division of School Climate and Safety.

Hopefully these conversations can spark solutions to county school safety and help parents regain comfort with sending their kids to school. If any more details emerge, we’ll have them for you.