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Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen wants to keep schools open five days a week throughout the summer.

Cohen said city schools are a key part of the public safety ecosystem.

Additionally, he added that it’s a sanctuary for many kids and he is disappointed that city schools will not be open on Fridays this summer.

Partner organizations also operate summer programming at certain school-based locations. Because of this those organizations also are limited to providing programming only four days a week.

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At a City Council Public Safety and Government Operations hearing this past week, Chief of Baltimore City Schools John Davis said schools cut back Friday hours during the pandemic. Cohen called the decision to keep the policy in place irresponsible since crime among youth is on the rise.

“For me, any decision that restricts the amount of time that our young people are safely in programming in groups like elevate, or any of the other summer collaboratives that we have, to me that represents an increase in likelihood that they will be in harms way,” Cohen said.

Cohen said administrators need to think more about prevention and not just the law enforcement response to student safety.

“You know and I know and everyone in this room knows that for some of our kids, school represents a sanctuary and a safe place to be, especially during the summer where we see a rise and a peak in violence. impacting our children,” Cohen added.

“We have to retain our best school leaders. We have to retain our school-based staff, and a few Fridays off has gone over well with them. So yes, we can take that back, but at the same time, I’m not going to promise we’re going to reverse the decision here,” Davis said.

Registration for Baltimore city school summer programs starts Monday, April 17. Click here for more information.

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