BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The March for Our Lives rally for safer schools will be felt in Baltimore, thanks to a high school freshman who is organizing the event at City Hall.
Hundreds of Baltimore students will march from City Hall to Federal Hill Saturday to call for safer schools.
Poly-Western High School student Anna Hilger said local violence played a major factor in her organizing the march through city streets.
“I just said, ‘We should just have it in Baltimore, we have all this gun violence in our own city, why aren’t we doing it here?'” she said. “It’s local, so we’ll get a bigger turnout, more people will get involved in March For Our Lives and involved in what’s happening around them and in their country.”
Other Baltimore students will be bused to D.C., but the mayor says it won’t be on the public dime.
“All the publicity that folks have given as it relates to why I said it was important for the young people to go to this march has only allowed more private dollars to pour into our city so the young people’s voices can be heard,” Mayor Catherine Pugh said.
Mayor Pugh referenced the school shooting at Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County Tuesday as another wake-up call.
In that case, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office credits an armed school resource officer with saving lives.
In Baltimore, school police aren’t allowed to carry weapons.
“Our officers want to run to the gunfire and stop it, but unfortunately, because of old antiquated laws in the state of Maryland, we cannot do that,” Baltimore City School Police Union President Sgt. Clyde Boatwright said.
The city school police union has pushed to be armed.
“We feed to meet force with force,” oatwright said.
There have been at latest four incidents of guns in Baltimore schools this year, not to mention violence beyond campus, and a murder rate last year that earned the city the title of “most dangerous” in the nation. Students are demanding action.
“Yes, it does take one person to spark that flame, I guess you could say, but in order for all of it to ignite, people have to stand behind it, people also have to stand up,” Hilger said.
About 950 people are expected at the local really from City Hall to Little Havana beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Earlier this month, Mayor Pugh announced that the city will provide 60 free buses to send students to D.C. for the protest. There could be 4,000 local students and parents in D.C. for the march.