Rife with videos of students in fisticuffs, social media has captured a much different story on school violence than the one told by Baltimore County’s overall declining school suspension numbers.
“In Baltimore County, we have teachers who have been hit, punched, kicked and bitten by students,” said Abbey Beytin, president of Baltimore County Schools’ Teachers Association, of the system’s uptick in violence. Stating in a 2016 newsletter, Beytin continued: “We even have pregnant teachers who have been threatened verbally by students with ‘having their stomachs cut with a knife.’ We have teachers who have been sent to the doctor, or even worse, to the hospital, because of out of control student behaviors. How much longer are we going to ignore these issues?”
While the school system’s suspensions have plummeted over the last five years, parents and onlookers of victims – aghast – have recently relied on Facebook and YouTube for reporting incidents via photos and videos, in hopes of directing attention to apparent dangers. Yet few media outlets picked up on the stories; and elected leaders have remained silent. Until now.
In May, Fox 45 uncovered a disturbing trend: the number of weapons showing up on Baltimore County School property is actually on the rise. Counting occurrences at just five of the system’s schools over the last five years, 171 weapons incidents have been reported.
Included in the sample count: Deep Creek Middle School and Chesapeake, Franklin, Lansdowne and Milford Mill Academy high schools.