ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Some Maryland lawmakers are pushing a bill that requires Baltimore City School police to carry guns in schools.
In February 2019, shots were fired in the vestibule of Frederick Douglass High School, leaving one person wounded. It’s the ammunition supporters of school police carrying guns brought to a Senate hearing Tuesday.
Current policy requires school officers to secure their weapons in lockers when inside the building.
Senate Bill 459 would require a Baltimore City School police officer or a school resource officer to carry a firearm while present on the premises of the school to which the officer is assigned.
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Harford County Senator JB Jennings, who sponsored the same bill last year, said there’s a reason he’s singling out Baltimore.
“They’re the only school district that doesn’t do it,” Jennings said. “Every other school system has stepped up and said, ‘Yes. We want police officers to carry their firearms.’ Baltimore City is the only one that doesn’t.”
The Baltimore City School Board had two years of deliberations on the issue before deciding against changing its policy.
Senator Jill Carter said the bill’s sponsors, all Republicans from outside Baltimore, aren’t listening.
“The bottom line is they don’t bother to have regard for the opinion of the Baltimore Senators before deciding what’s best for us,” Carter said. “It’s a very paternalistic view and I think, hopefully, it’s not going to pass because it’s really against the interests and desire of Baltimore City residents, and mainly parents.”
School police union president Clyde Boatwright supports the bill and cited a group of students who are also in favor of the legislation.
“We know this is an important bill and our students are now saying it’s important to them.”