Carroll Schools Suspend All Field Trips to Baltimore City

Catalina Righter, Carroll County Times, November 27, 2017

{snip}

Last Wednesday, Nov. 22, Carroll County Public Schools suspended all student travel to Baltimore on the recommendation of DeWees. The policy restricts travel to venues within the Baltimore City limits.

“In light of recent violence in the traditional tourist areas of the City, the Sheriff agrees that the best course of action is to temporarily suspend travel to Baltimore City venues,” according to a statement from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.

Schools spokeswoman Carey Gaddis said some trips may be allowed on a case-by-case basis, but school administration would weigh the importance of the trip with student safety when making those decisions. The policy will be re-evaluated around the start of the second semester in late January, she said.

{snip}

The conversation began Nov. 16 after Smith sent the email to DeWees, schools Superintendent Stephen Guthrie and members of the Board of Education, Gaddis said. DeWees responded to the email, which was obtained by the Times, stating, “I also have great concern about school trips to the city. I have three children in CCPS’s (sic) and will not allow them in Baltimore City without me present.”

{snip}

Ultimately it was the decision of the schools superintendent and his staff to restrict the field trip travel, DeWees said. As a former Maryland state trooper and husband of a CCPS teacher, he is in support of the decision.

“I think any reasonable law enforcement executive and parent of three children in the Carroll County Public Schools would agree that there’s an uptick in violence in the tourist areas in Baltimore City,” DeWees said.

Board of Education President Devon Rothschild said she found the recommendation confusing because no acute incident of violence was cited, but “as a board, we obviously cannot ignore the recommendation of the sheriff.”

{snip}

Bob Lord, the vice president of the Carroll school board, said there is precedent for this decision: A county-wide suspension on travel to Baltimore was implemented during 2015 citing concern over rioting.

{snip}

Any trip already planned for Baltimore that could be rescheduled to a different location or that could be canceled should be, according to the guidelines, and no new field trips to Baltimore are to be planned until CCPS re-evaluates at the beginning of the second semester. Trips that could not be canceled due to prepayment are not to include “free time” or “lunch on your own” for students to walk around the city or Inner Harbor, and school administrators are to contact Baltimore City Watch to advise them of the field trip.

Time on your own, for example, could be students visiting the Maryland Science Center may be able to have lunch, along with a chaperone, at a restaurant in the Inner Harbor, Gaddis said.

Special events such as sports playoff or championship games, proms and senior dinner cruises must make transportation available to students and must provide security officers at the location, according to the policy.

{snip}

Francis Scott Key High School’s band will not participate as planned in the Baltimore Mayor’s Annual Christmas Parade, taking place in Hampden Sunday, Dec. 3. Carroll County has sent other school bands in past years, but this would have been Francis Scott Key’s first time in the parade.

In a statement emailed to the Times, president of the FSK Instrumental Music Boosters Joanie Mayle wrote “CCPS made this decision as a precaution for the safety of students, staff, and volunteers. After consulting with law enforcement and the Maryland Center for School Safety, CCPS deemed this decision to be necessary. As a parent and volunteer, I appreciate that our children’s safety is and continues to be the highest priority at CCPS.”

{snip}

Schools bands from Baltimore County and Baltimore City, and bands from Philadelphia and Virginia, are planning to perform. Kerr does not expect other school cancellations.

{snip}

Kerr said he was “disheartened” that crime in the city was discouraging people from coming to a fun and positive event for the city.

{snip}

“Mayor Pugh is disappointed by the Carroll County Public Schools decision and hopes that they will reconsider,” spokesman Anthony McCarthy said. “The events and sights the students were set to participate in and visit are unique and represent positive experiences for these young people.”

{snip}

Topics: ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.