Reporting Mike Schuh
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Maryland children are heading back to school for another week of classes. Many parents have safety on their minds after recent alarming incidents involving guns and violence at schools and college campuses.
Mike Schuh has more on the violence and what’s being done about it.
Nerves are rattled and schools are re-examining their security after school shootings, students caught with guns, bomb scares and false rumors of violence.
On the first day of school at Perry Hall High School, police say Robert Gladden, 15, opened fire, critically wounding Daniel Borowy, 17, before he was tackled to the ground.
Days later at Stemmers Run Middle School, a teacher wrestled a gun from the hands of a 13-year-old student.
Those incidents spurred Baltimore County’s new school superintendent to create an Office of Safety and Security that will put someone in charge of school crisis plans and the training of teachers and principals.
“Because it used to be where our teachers could actually go in and teach and you didn’t have to think of anything else. Well, now we have to make sure that our staff– particularly our teachers– are trained in case incidents may occur,” Dr. Dallas Dance said.
Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson promised students and parents will see more police outside and inside schools.
Police also plan to purchase metal detecting wands for use when they have a specific school threat. Just last week, police had to investigate a hoax bomb threat and false rumors of violence at certain schools that circulated online.
That comes as no surprise to University of Maryland’s Dr. Michael Woolley.
“Once one kid brings a gun to school, you often see what’s called clustering,” he said.
Woolley says students often are first to notice disturbing behavior from their peers and need to feel comfortable reporting problems to an adult.
But he says school violence should be kept in perspective.
“Kids are still statistically safer at school than anywhere else,” Woolley said. “Kids are more likely to be the victims of violence in their community and even in their own home than they are at school.”
College campus aren’t immune to the violence either. Police still investigating at shooting of a teenager outside of Morgan State University’s Student Center on Wednesday.
The Perry Hall High School shooting victim has been released from the hospital though his recovery continues.