The battle over whether or not Baltimore’s public schools should be able to station armed guards on campus has been raging for nearly two years now. The city’s endemic problems with violent crime and shootings are supposedly a priority for all elected officials, but in this one area they have stubbornly refused to compromise. That situation finally looked to be changing a couple of months ago, when a bill making its way through the state legislature would have provided for such protection, but the Baltimore City School Board turned around and unanimously rejected it.
Following that, the state house delegation from the Baltimore area voted against the bill, killing its chances of passing. That apparently was the last straw for Republican Governor Larry Hogan. He’d been trying to craft some sort of a compromise on this issue and was even making headway with the Democrats. But now that the effort has fallen apart he’s throwing up his hands and blaming the failure on the “pro-criminal Democrats” in Charm City. (CBS Baltimore)
Those advocating for Baltimore City Schools Police to carry weapons on campus vow to continue their fight— after Governor Larry Hogan lashed out at lawmakers who killed the measure.
“The only place in the state where we’re not allowing police officers—trained school resource officers cannot carry a weapon—it’s crazy,” Governor Hogan said Monday. “This seems to be like the most pro-criminal group of legislators I’ve ever seen.”
The vote among the Baltimore City House delegation was 10 to 5 against allowing officers to carry their weapons while classes are in session. It likely ends the possibility of arming officers during this legislative session.
Currently, the officers must keep their service weapons in a secured area during the school day.
Hogan has now made some new enemies in the state’s Democratic Party, who clearly didn’t take very kindly to the Governor calling them “pro-criminal.” But his frustration is certainly understandable. The problems with gun violence out in the streets are already well known, but those issues have been steadily migrating into the schools themselves. Just last month, a man walked into Frederick Douglas High School and shot one of the coaches.
And when it’s not someone from the outside coming in and causing trouble, the students in the schools are themselves becoming part of the problem. Students have been physically attacking teachers, sometimes putting them in the hospital. As tragic as it may be to admit, the public schools are recruiting grounds for the city’s countless gangs, and the good kids from responsible families wind up paying the price for being mixed in with the bad apples.
Currently, the school’s police have to leave their firearms locked in a secure location off-site while school is in session. Now that one of the coaches has been shot, perhaps it’s dawning on them that a gun locked up off campus isn’t doing much good in the first minutes after the bullets start flying. There’s no telling if Governor Hogan will make any progress on this front, but we should give him credit for trying. Baltimore’s elected officials are causing more problems than they solve and the citizens of that city really need to begin considering other options on election day.