BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City Schools unanimously agreed Tuesday night they do not want to see school officers armed on school grounds any time soon.
The decision comes after a heated school board meeting where the public got their chance to weigh in on the issue.
A coalition of students took charge of Tuesday night’s meeting, expressing their reasons for not wanting House Bill 31, which, if it had been approved, would have paved the way for arming school officers.
“I’ve never known of a police officer in my lifetime who doesn’t have all the tools of the trade,” said Leo Burroughs, of Baltimore.
“I believe that armed police officers inside our schools is not going to make them any safer,” said Seem Shah-Nelson, a City Schools parent.
The student advocates against the measure were at first civil, but then refused to give up the floor.
“We respected your place,” “We are not going to stop until we are allowed to talk all our demands,” Students chanted.
Their hostility was geared at House Bill 31, which called for a change in the law to allow school officers to carry their guns during school hours.
As the law currently stands, officers can only carry their weapons outside regular school hours.
“Let’s remember that Baltimore city is the only jurisdiction where our school officers are not allowed to have their tools in schools,” said Delegate Cheryl Glenn.
Glenn filed the bill late last year, waiting to see what school leaders would decide before moving forward.
“All in favor of the motion to oppose House Bill 31 raise your hand,” said School Board Chair Cheryl Casciani at the vote.
The outcome was a deflating blow for the President of the School Union.
“We just need to be clear that if and when we have a serious situation in Baltimore everyone’s going to look back to this day and say you know what they had a chance to get it right and they didn’t,” said Sgt. Clyde Boatwright, President School Police Union.
Other advocates for changing the law argue that after national instances of school shootings including the one at Great Mills in Southern Maryland last year are reasons enough to arm city school officers.
But those firmly against the idea still believe it would do more harm than good.
“I empathize with their fear I think their position is based on their fear,” said Shah-Nelson.
Student advocates passed out a mock report card grading their current relationship with school officers- mostly Fs and Cs.
The head of the School Police Union said their work is far from over on this topic.