Baltimore County does not record violence, so long as suspension and expulsion are avoided as a disciplinary action.
We have heard from many community members over the years that our local schools have become more and more violent. People ask for safer schools and the schools, many have said have gotten worse.
Baltimore County has been reducing suspensions for a long time and attempting to reduce the number of suspensions superficially by race for a few years. Baltimore County’s own statistics show from 2004-5 to 2018-19, the percentage of suspensions went from 11.1% down toe 6.3%.
Obviously, the goal should be to reduce violence directly, but maybe simply reducing disciplinary actions for it will have the same effect?
After seeing how reducing disciplinary action failed in another town [Fig 1], we wanted to see how reducing disciplinary action has affected overall violence in BCPS too.
We asked Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) for “information on violence to students by year and violence to staff by year.
BCPS responded “no records exist that are responsive to your request.”[Fig. 1, Fig. 2]
This is not an attack on the Baltimore County Public School system, it’s a wakeup call. You are needed to reduce violence – reducing suspensions does not make schools safer and may in fact have the exact opposite effect.
School Board members across the country must ask themselves, is reducing the level of safety in their schools worth the bureaucratic prize awarded for lower suspension numbers? Are you for education and safety or are you for political favor?
Not one black, white, rich or poor student benefits from increased violence in their schools. Nor do they benefit from the increased learning disruptions associated with increased violence and misbehavior.
David Rader II