BALTIMORE (WJZ) —  A rally outside of a Baltimore County Board of Education meeting elicited a response from Baltimore County Public Schools on Tuesday.

Rally participants are calling for a change in the way the school district disciplines its students. Participants are also aggrieved over how the school district responds to academic achievement issues.

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This cry for change stems from growing concerns over student and staff safety in Baltimore County following a year of violence inside school classrooms.

“Nobody is going to learn if nobody is safe,” TABCO President Cindy Sexton said.

NAACP and the teacher’s union joined forces outside Baltimore County Public Schools headquarters to spread their message about what Randallstown NAACP President Ryan Coleman describes as out-of-control violence.

“I think the school board needs to revisit their discipline policy and make sure that it’s up to date and it’s actually working,” Coleman said.

Videos of students fighting have circulated online. One of them captured students fighting  in the parking lot at Dundalk High School Back in October.

Another one shows several student at Perry Hall pepper spray a person, sending them to a hospital.

But that’s not all that teachers want to see improved. Other major problems include staffing shortages, a decline in academic achievement, and unfair pay.

“We need to attract and retain our educators,” TABCO President Cindy Sexton said. “We have hundreds of openings and we’re going to have more.”

“BCPS is always appreciative for the opportunity to hear from stakeholder groups such as the Randallstown branch of the NAACP and TABCO who seek constructive solutions to issues challenging the school system and the community at large,”’ Baltimore County Public Schools spokesperson Charles Herndon said in a statement.

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BCPS Superintendent of Schools Darryl Williams is committed to working closely with the school district’s partners to find solutions to those challenges, Herndon said.

“BCPS has taken many steps to address the issues surrounding school climate, student behavior, staff compensation and school safety that currently impact every school district in America,” Herndon said.

Baltimore City Public Schools plans to host a set of meetings designated to garner feedback on its Student Code of Conduct in late May.

Meeting Schedule:

Administrators: Monday, May 23 at 5 p.m.

Teachers: Tuesday, May 24 at 5 p.m.

Parents: Wednesday, May 25 at 5:30 p.m.

Students: Thursday, May 26 at 4:30 p.m.

Community Partners: Thursday, May 26 at 5:30 p.m.

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Links to each meeting can be found here.

Kelsey Kushner