America’s shining star: 41% of high school students in Baltimore city schools earn below 1.0 GPA

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BALTIMORE, MD – According to reports, Baltimore City Public Schools has reached a concerning low in terms of student performance.

Apparently, during the first three quarters of the 2020-2021 school year, 41% of high school students in Baltimore City Schools earned below a 1.0 GPA.

Back in 2020, Jovani Patterson ran for the Baltimore City Council President under a platform that revolved around accountability in education.

In one of Patterson’s campaign ads in 2020, the candidate highlighted the copious amount of spending injected into the Baltimore City Public Schools that has seemingly failed to deliver a return on investment:

“They take. They take. They take. Yet, despite the amount of money they get. We don’t see much change. Our schools outspend 97% of other major school districts.”

When Project Baltimore uncovered the unsettling data showing that 41% of high school students in the 2020-2021 school year we’re averaging below D collectively, Patterson refer to the revelation as “terrible”:

“This is terrible. This is just further perpetuating a cycle of poverty, of despair.”

To put matters into perspective, nearly half of the 20,500 public high school students in Baltimore are averaging less than a grade D for three quarters of the 2020-2021 school year.

When confronted with this information, Patterson called it “heartbreaking” and called into question what happens after these children become young adults after leaving high school:

“It’s heartbreaking. If almost half of our kids are failing, what options do they have after high school? This is really disheartening. It’s sad to see this.”

On the upper end of the spectrum in Baltimore, 21% of the city’s high school students earned a GPA of 3.0 or greater, but that also shows the sad reality that roughly twice as many students in the city are averaging below a 1.0 GPA.

City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises was among the first to sound the proverbial alarm regarding failure rates in Baltimore City Schools back in January of 2021.

Santelises noted that the course failure rate for students had nearly doubled during the shutdown caused by the pandemic.

In May of 2021, Baltimore City Schools announced that no students would be held back for failing classes during the 2020-2021 school year.

In a statement provided by Baltimore City Schools, the following was noted:

“Consistent with the experience of many school districts across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic created significant disruptions to student learning.

As early as the summer of 2020, City Schools identified large numbers of students with decreases in their grade point averages and classroom performance when compared to past performances.”

“Starting this summer and beyond, City Schools is providing students with a variety of opportunities to acquire the unfinished learning they lost. Each student’s progress will be assessed, and an action plan will be developed to complete any unfinished learning. These plans will guide families and teachers in helping students get back on track.”

Patterson wound up not winning the election for City Council President in 2020, which that election was won by Nick Mosby, who is reportedly under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice in regard to alleged campaign finance violations.

When commenting on Mosby’s lack of comment on the revelation of the data regarding failing students in Baltimore high schools, Patterson stated the following:

“They don’t care, man. They come from the same environment. Nick Mosby is a product of Baltimore City schools. Brendan Scott is a product of Baltimore City schools and they see what’s going on.

But then when you bring this to them, they don’t care. They don’t care at all. You have to raise the standard. Everyone should be speaking out about this.”

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In other news regarding Maryland, Baltimore County has shown that their mobile crisis teams aren’t able to tend to over half of the calls that come in for them. 

Here’s that previous report from earlier in July. 

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BALTIMORE COUNTY, MD – Mobile crisis teams within Baltimore County have been responding to fewer than half of the calls coming in regarding people suffering from mental health crises.

This of course results in the remaining calls typically being redirected to police.

The Associated Press noted that out of the 4,319 mental health related calls that came in since September of 2020, crisis teams have only responded to 1,844.

When crisis teams aren’t available to respond to a call, roughly 57% of the time, this results in calls being rerouted to patrol officers, according to Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt.

The mobile crisis teams, according to Baltimore County’s official website, are composed of “specially-trained police officers” and “licensed mental health clinicians”. The issue at hand is that these specialized response teams are minimal in size with a county of nearly 830,000 residents.

Apparently, Baltimore County only hosts 20 part-time and full-time clinicians and 12 officers with 40 hours of crisis intervention training, which Chief Hyatt told lawmakers during a state Commission to Study Mental and Behavioral Health briefing earlier this year that “we have a significant capacity limitation.”

According to reports, a pilot program is slated to start rolling out in August that will onboard additional behavioral health professionals create a system that will start redirecting 911 calls to the likes of behavioral health resources.

This effort is reportedly being funded by a $1.6 million federal grant, which plans to expand the mobile crisis team were first announced by Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski in early April.

During the April announcement of plans to expand the mobile crisis teams, Chief Hyatt said that calls related directly to mental or behavioral health “present challenges to law enforcement that we cannot successfully mitigate alone.”

Chief Hyatt continued from there during the April announcement, adding: 

“It takes collaboration with our valuable partners to divert individuals to the proper resources. Under this new initiative, we will have the opportunity to get more resources to the individuals who need them most.”

The $1.6 million in federal funding will reportedly fund this pilot of an expanded mobile crisis team for one year once it launches, which it expects to increase case capacity by 50% and lower response times to said types of calls. 

Mere weeks after the announced planned expansion of the mobile crisis teams in Baltimore County, Baltimore County Police had responded to the scene of where a man, identified as 56-year-old Everton Brown, killed three of his neighbors and set his home on fire

The incident, which occurred on the morning of May 8th within the 7500 block of Maury Road in Woodlawn, resulted in responding officers fatally shooting Brown as he was armed with a gun outside of his burning home. 

It was later found that Brown had called 911 roughly 120 since 1997 and had an unspecified number of interactions with Baltimore County’s mobile crisis team prior to the killings and fire.

A 911 call that was released following the incident revealed that locals had also called 911, alerting that Brown was suffering from mental health issues. 

Audio from an unidentified female 911 caller from some point prior to the triple murder and house fire noted the following: 

“There’s a house where a man has signs all over his house that the ‘FBI is after me.’ And we’ve known for years that he has a mental health problem.”

Officials are apparently unable to share details regarding the specifics of how the mobile crisis team responded to previous interactions with Brown, citing Md. Code, Health General Article 4-307 and 4-302 prohibits releasing of a person’s mental health records or information. 

However, videos from Brown’s personal YouTube account show that he believed that he was constantly being targeted by the FBI, in some videos claiming that the FBI going inside of his house “every day”. 

He also uploaded videos to YouTube where he believed that Sam’s Club was being operated by the FBI, and that he was constantly being harassed and surveilled by the government because he is black. 

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Earlier in July in the city of Woodlawn in Maryland, two Baltimore Police officers were shot while attempting to serve a warrant. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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WOODLAWN, MD – Two Baltimore City police officers and a suspect have been taken to a hospital following a shooting at Security Square Mall on July 13th, Baltimore County police said.

All three have been hospitalized, with their condition being unknown as of this writing, but Baltimore Police said the officers are in Shock Trauma.

The Baltimore County Police Department reported on their Twitter account:

“Active scene at Security Square Mall where earlier two law enforcement officers were injured. One suspect has been transported to the hospital as well as the members of law enforcement.”

The officers injured were part of a Warrant Apprehension Task Force (WATF), according to Baltimore Police. City police Commissioner Michael Harrison was on his way to Shock Trauma.

“Baltimore police Commissioner Harrison and PIO are responded to Shock Trauma after a shooting involving two WATF Officers. Media Staging area West Lombard and Penn Street and Penn Street.”

Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police reported on social media:

“We are aware that two Baltimore Police officers were shot this morning. (FOP) President Mancuso and First Vice President MacDonald are on the way to Shock Trauma. More information to follow as it becomes available.”

Police were called to the scene at 6901 Security Square Boulevard just before 8:27 a.m.

Local news station Fox 45 reported that the officers were attempting to serve a homicide warrant.

The Baltimore County Fire Department said it is assisting police:

“The Baltimore County Fire Department crews continue to assist Baltimore County police with a shooting incident near Security Square Mall.”

Details are unclear as of this writing, and Law Enforcement Today will monitor developments.

Reactions to the shooting have started pouring in across social media this morning. The National Fraternal Order of Police tweeted:

“Please pray for the two officers who were shot this morning. The violence against law enforcement officers continues. Please remember that officers leave their families at home every day to protect and serve our communities.”

Images from the scene show a pickup truck with multiple bullet holes in the windshield and driver’s window. It appears the truck was blocked by unmarked law enforcement vehicles.

Police have not given an account of what happened and the incident is in its early investigative stages. Baltimore police plan to update the media at a later time.

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