Creating Safer, Better Schools Means Safer, Better Students

For all of the greatness and promise we see in our youth, we strongly believe our school system is in need of a discipline policy overhaul and a better enforcement model.

This week marks the end of the Baltimore County Public Schools 2016-17 school year. We are so proud of our local high school graduates, the millions of dollars in scholarships they have earned, as well as their many academic, athletic, and humanitarian achievements. We are equally proud of the students throughout the BCPS system who contribute positively to their school community.

As the elected leaders of Dundalk, Essex, Rosedale, and Edgemere, we must, however, express our deep concerns regarding school safety, student behavior, and discipline. Since we took office in 2014, there have been many incidents throughout our district – in elementary, middle, and high schools – that include criminal violence, bullying, and other forms of harassment that have no place in our schools. That trend continued to the end of this school year, with numerous reports and complaints from parents, leaving us troubled by the seeming lack of consistency, consequences, and sound disciplinary policy.

No child should be fearful of attending school or have the behavior of others affect their learning environment and experience. When a child misbehaves, there should be quick, decisive, and consistent discipline. In our many discussions with teachers and parents, we are learning that the opposite is the case. What exactly are we teaching our children when there are little to no consequences of their actions? Current policy is setting children up for major failure as they mature into adulthood believing that society will look the other way when they do wrong. We are strongly advocating to both the incoming Interim Superintendent, and the Board of Education for a change in policy and practices.

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.

Secondly, we encourage our schools’ leadership to find new ways to engage parents and guardians. The success of a school is directly proportional to parental involvement. Parents and guardians should understand the expectations of them and their children, and also know that bad behavior which disrupts or jeopardizes the safety of others, will be met with serious consequences.

For all of the greatness and promise we see in our youth, 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.

As always, please contact us to weigh in on this or any other issue.

 

Councilman Todd K. Crandell

State Senator Johnny Ray Salling

State Delegate Bob Long

State Delegate Ric Metzgar

State Delegate Robin Grammer

Diamond Point Flea Market Closed *Update*

If we are to continue our progress toward a cleaner, more prosperous community, we all have a role to play.

Update: 

As any good parent, teacher, or coach knows, sometimes stern measures are necessary in order to achieve results. The permit for the Diamond Point Flea Market is reinstated, as the operator has agreed to hire a contractor to clean the site on Saturday and Sunday nights. I agreed to allow this and will monitor along with Code Enforcement. We’ll be watching.

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Bill 32-17: Department of Corrections – Duties

An elected official’s first duty is to public safety.

287g Program Logo

An elected official’s first duty is to public safety. Today, there are very real threats to our communities in the form of criminal illegal immigrants who not only disregarded our laws by crossing the border at least once, but continue their criminal behavior and are now incarcerated in our county detention center, and awaiting release back into our communities without local authorities taking direction from federal immigration officials on their immigration status.

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Bill 8-17: Building Permits – Rat Eradication

The bill requires that the property owner has a certified pest control technician from a licensed company certify that an eradication was performed

I introduced, and the Council passed Bill 8-17, aimed at addressing cases where buildings are razed to permit new development. The bill requires that the property owner has a certified pest control technician from a licensed company certify that an eradication was performed, and the premises is rodent-free BEFORE the structure can be demolished.

Community Leaders Gather For Annual Meeting

We had our annual Community Leaders breakfast on Saturday January 21, gathering together nearly 50 leaders of various community associations, business groups, and other civic organizations

We had our annual Community Leaders breakfast on Saturday January 21, gathering together nearly 50 leaders of various community associations, business groups, and other civic organizations – something I began before the election. We talk about where we’ve been, what we’ve accomplished, and what is yet to come. My thanks to the Hawks Club in Essex for hosting this year, and my thanks to all the community leaders who work tirelessly every day in order to make all our neighborhoods better places to live.

Bill 84-16: Transient Occupancy Tax

The Tourism Bill will take 8% of the county’s existing hotel tax in order to increase that $35k a year by roughly $650k! This will give the county the funding it needs to promote some of the treasures we have.

County waterfront

I was proud to co-sponsor Bill 84-16, which allocates a percentage of the revenue derived from the “Hotel Tax” to be used to promote tourism in Baltimore County. Previously, the County spent a mere $35k a year on promoting all that our county has to offer. The Tourism Bill will take 8% of the county’s existing hotel tax in order to increase that $35k a year by roughly $650k! This will give the county the funding it needs to promote some of the treasures we have.

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