Chris Papst, WBFF, September 14, 2022
Baltimore is on pace to see its eighth straight year with more than 300 murders, making our city one of the most deadly in America. It’s become clear that schools are not immune to the violence. Some even say they’re making it worse.
During the last five years, Project Baltimore has heard from teachers, students, and parents who voiced concerns about the levels of violence in Baltimore City Schools.
In January, Project Baltimore spoke with two City Schools police officers who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. They told us City Schools are less safe than they were 10 years ago.
On September 2, in a tragic end to the first week of school, 17-year-old Jeremiah Brogden was shot and killed outside of Mergenthaler High School. Police say Brogden got into a confrontation with a student from another school, who pulled a gun. When these two officers spoke with Fox45 News they tried to blow the whistle, saying the violence on school property is getting worse, even if the data doesn’t show it.
From 2008 to 2018, the number of students arrested in City Schools plummeted by 98 percent. In 2008, 971 students were arrested. Ten years later, it was just 18. The two officers say arrests are down, not because schools are safer, but because school police have been told not to arrest students, even for more serious crimes like burglary and assault.
When asked why City Schools is trying to keep arrest numbers down, one of the officers replied, “Politics, sir.”
But it’s not just arrests that are significantly down. There’s a similar drop in suspensions. In 2007, more than 17,000 City Schools students were suspended for a variety of reasons, from fights to bringing a weapon to school. By 2020, that number was down to just about 4,500.
“You’re not teaching people, our kids, that it’s not okay to burglarize. It’s not okay to have a fight,” one of the City Schools police officers told Project Baltimore.