By Mike Hellgren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new task force met for the first time to discuss violence in Baltimore City schools. They focused on the Code of Conduct and whether it is too lenient and appropriately addresses assaults on teachers and support staff.

“No one should come to school in fear,“ said the vice president of the principals’ union Karl E. Perry.

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Perry said only a small number of students cause problems and also criticized the dilapidated state of some school buildings. “I’ve been in education for 26 years, and I haven’t been able to drink from a water fountain. Neither have my students. We must do better,” he said.

Baltimore Teachers Union president Marietta English said she believes administrators are taking the violence seriously, yet stressed it needs to stop. “Of course, I’ve been horrified. I’ve been upset. What caused this to happen, and why is it continuing to happen again and again in our schools?” English asked.

Incidents include an assault on a teacher at Frederick Douglass High School in early November. The teacher reacted calmly after being struck in the face. She only recently was back in the classroom after undergoing cancer treatment and said she forgives the student who hit her.

Also last month, a cafeteria worker at National Academy Foundation was attacked in a dispute over milk.

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In another violent encounter, a student struck a teacher at Poly.

And a student used pepper spray on a teacher at Dunbar.

Dunbar senior class president Leaynol Tiede told WJZ he believes the violence classmates see outside of campus is contributing to their actions on school grounds.

“Once we come to school, it is not as if—as human beings—we just leave everything at the door. When we come to school, we are still affected by it—sometimes, physically—but also mentally, emotionally,” he said.

The task force will meet again in January. They will eventually share their recommendations with state education officials.

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