Baltimore City School Board Votes to Leave Officers with Empty Holsters

Clarksville ISD employees undergo force-on-force training (Photo: CNN)

The Baltimore City School Board voted unanimously last Tuesday to oppose legislation that would have allowed school police officers to carry weapons during the school day.  The Board’s vote effectively killed HB31, a measure proposed by Del. Cheryl D. Glenn, a Democrat who sponsored the bill.

“I can’t move a bill that doesn’t have the support of the school board and the mayor,” Glenn said.  “The votes wouldn’t be there.”

Without a change in the law, the school police officers are only allowed to carry their service weapons while patrolling the exterior of school buildings before and after school hours.  At other times, all weapons are required to be secured.

Baltimore is the only jurisdiction within Maryland that employs a sworn school police force.  In all of the surrounding counties, local police or sheriff’s departments are responsible for patrolling schools.  They are allowed to carry weapons in schools during the performance of their duties.

The opposition vote took place during a public forum in which parents, students and members of the police union spoke both in favor and against the proposal.  The discussion was spirited.

Those who spoke in favor of the bill, including parents, law enforcement officers, and school principals, argued that the students in Baltimore deserve the same protection as students in outlying school districts.  They pointed to the lack of problems in those jurisdictions where officers regularly carried firearms and suggested that failing to allow Baltimore’s school officers to carry their weapons is a violation of the 14th Amendment’s requirement that all citizens be entitled to equal protection under the law.

Those opposing the bill argued that there was no evidence to support the conclusion that armed school officers would prevent school shootings and other school violence.  They also argued that due to the history of problems with the Baltimore Police Department, arming school officers would cause more problems than it solved.

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The Baltimore Police Department is currently operating under a federal Consent Decree due to misconduct including widespread discriminatory practices focused on poor, black neighborhoods.  The Baltimore City schools are comprised of 78.6% African American, 11.3% Hispanic/Latino, and 7.8% white students.  One parent in opposition noted that of 90 arrests made by school officers, 89 of the students arrested were black.

Near the end of the public input portion of the meeting, students in a group called the Baltimore Algebra Project formed a line with their backs to the board members.

“No guns in schools,” the students chanted in unison.  “We gonna fight for our lives.”

The students refused to return to their seats.  As a result, the Board was forced to take a break from the proceedings.  Upon returning, the Board voted unanimously to oppose the bill.

Glenn, the bill’s sponsor, indicated that she was “very disappointed” by the decision.  She believed that the Board had given in to the pressure from the student group.

“I think this is a very unwise decision,” Glenn said.  “These are sworn police officers.  They are not security guards.  They have more training than Baltimore police.”

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About the author: John Thomas is a U.S. Navy veteran, and a former prosecutor and defense attorney with over 20 years of experience in state and federal courts. He has handled everything from traffic tickets to first-degree murder cases and is a long-time supporter of Second Amendment rights and the rights of individuals to defend themselves, their families and their property.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • oldfuzz695 February 1, 2019, 7:58 pm

    Baltimore City Council, you continue to prove that there are more horses asses than horses.

  • Captain Dave February 1, 2019, 10:51 am

    First point: If kids demand no guns should be allowed anywhere, and parents agree, then the rest of us need to agree that we will follow suit in their schools with having no security in the way of armed protection whatsoever. If a shooter, bomber or other nut case enters to do their deeds of destruction, it’s their problem.
    Second point: Having been in the security and alarm business for over 35 years, given the resources, I could easily set up a school to not only stop intruders, shooters, etc. and in addition, trap them into a barrier type area where police could then simply move in and either take them out or away.
    Third and final point: Find a logical conclusion and implement, while understanding that school kids do not have fully developed brains and should be told to shut up.
    I can be reached at diyalarm.net

  • AJ February 1, 2019, 10:39 am

    This is why we were never a democracy. Because since democracy’s conception, using common sense has been put to the will of the vote.

    And calling a vote in some circumstances (especially when it comes to common sense) empowers morons.

  • Pat J February 1, 2019, 10:18 am

    No doubt the schools, and their politics are wobbley, but it’s the breeders who are sending criminals to schools for networking and day care. Our nation’s first and fatal mistake was kidnapping those people and bringing them to a place where they didn’t want to be. If I was in their place I would want every cracker disarmed and take it from there. Hang on.

    • Robert April 7, 2020, 10:11 am

      The ‘enslavement’ did not begin with us and in fact continues to this very day. But I do agree, bringing them here was a very big mistake.

    • SD April 24, 2020, 9:53 am

      They were not kidnapped, they were bought from other slave holders. But we can both agree, it was a huge mistake. So here’s my offer Pat: I’ll buy you a one way ticket to go back if you’ll never come back here and all of us crackers can keep our guns.

  • Walt Morris February 1, 2019, 9:51 am

    What everyone seems to have forgotten is that whenever a dictator is going to takeover a country the first thing they have to do is disarm the populuous. Do we want a dictator running America? That is exactly where we are headed. Wake up Americans!!!

  • John February 1, 2019, 9:50 am

    Why bother to have them at all if you are going to disarm them

  • Mr. Sparkles February 1, 2019, 9:42 am

    More proof that ignorance can be trained or taught out but stupid goes clear to the bone.

    No evidence to support the position that arming security officers reduces shootings? That is like saying that there is no evidence that fire extinguishers and volunteer fireman reduced the severity of fires so we should only allow paid firemen to fight fires. Not only is that a stupid thing to say but it is a clear indicator of a stupid persons thinking as the evidence abounds that would have convinced a previously ignorant person that a good man or woman with a gun is the only immediate solution to a bad person with a gun.

  • Michael Gothard February 1, 2019, 8:59 am

    As a retired police officer I can tell you every department I know of requires, is mandatory, to be armed 24/7. You are in uniform, that uniform includes your weapon. You are in civilian clothes, you are still on duty and expected to act if a crime is committed in your presence. This is more proof of the dumbing down of the American public. Any of these officers injured by being unarmed will have a mega law suit.

  • John E Townsend February 1, 2019, 8:49 am

    While I believe that in today’s crazy environment, police officers and teachers that are will to do so, should be armed; I am not sure that having a show of lethal force is beneficial in a learning environment. To be more accurate, adults walking around with holstered weapons may make the kids feel like they are in an armed camp instead of school. Open for discussion; why not require the school officers and allow teachers to conceal carry? Wouldn’t such a policy keep any potential shooters in the dark as to where the guns are?

  • joefoam February 1, 2019, 8:05 am

    Proof positive that the schools are merely indoctrination centers not education classes. If they’ve got them thinking that gun free zones are safer they have certainly been brainwashed or totally unaware of the gun free zones that were the sites of the mass shootings at schools. God forbid we do anything to protect them.

  • michael February 1, 2019, 8:03 am

    I think they should have security officers to patrol inside the school. and school police can patrol the outside grounds. I would feel comfortable with that solution. what do you think?

  • mikelasnicov February 1, 2019, 7:35 am

    Kids have always thought they know better than the grownups, nothing new there. What has changed is that now when the kids say, “We know what’s best” The grownups say okay you’re absolutely right, you do know what’s best for you. And we don’t want to upset you so have it your way kids. Un effing believable.

    • SD April 24, 2020, 10:02 am

      You hit the nail on the head Mike

  • Altoids February 1, 2019, 6:53 am

    Looks like those politicians are trying to keep the body count up so that they can make the case for more gun control.

  • Steven February 1, 2019, 6:31 am

    Baltimore P.D. shouldn’t even bother with providing officers on school grounds. Can’t properly defend the students, faculty, or yourself, then it is a waste of time and resources.

    • john February 1, 2019, 9:47 am

      Steven My thoughts exactly.If they won’t allow a sworn police officer to carry his duty weapon while on duty pull the cops off campus and let them police themselves.Idiots.

    • Brandenburg February 1, 2019, 11:05 am

      Except Baltimore PD doesn’t provide these officers, they are Baltimore Public School Police. Different training, different job description, and although they are ultimately payed by Taxpayers, these cops are paid by the school board not the police department.

      Don’t misunderstand me, disarming cops doesn’t make sense.
      Won’t the anti-American politicians just weep for joy when they can show a dead (unarmed) cop along with teachers and students in their next “Mass Shooting” news cast.

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