Schools in Baltimore will remain ‘Gun-Free Zones’ even to local police officers that patrol the grounds during the school day, reported The Baltimore Sun.
Bill HB31, which would have overturned a previous ban on school police officers carrying guns in school, was shot down earlier this week by school officials.
The result was a clear landslide, with the vote unanimously against the measure 10-0.
Under the current legislation, officers are able to carry on school grounds while students aren’t on campus, but during the school day, their firearms need to be stored away safely.
Earlier this week, a public forum of students, teachers, local citizens and members of the police union voiced their concerns about the passing or killing of the bill.
Sgt. Clyde Boatwright from the Fraternal Order of Police stated, “We have always been Baltimore’s ‘best-kept secret.’” He added that there was no data showing armed officers causing problems in schools, only suggestions that it could help protect the students and faculty in emergency situations.
Protesters of the bill brought up racial profiling as a cry against allowing police to be carry their weapons. One local resident in opposition stated that of the 90 arrests made by school officers, 89 of the suspects were African American.
Baltimore has dedicated school police forces. In other nearby counties, officers and sheriff’s deputies have no law preventing them from carrying their service weapons while on patrol of the schools.
Toward the end of the public forum, a group of students from the Baltimore Algebra Project stood and began chanting, “No guns in schools… we’re gonna fight for our lives.” The meeting was unable to be brought back to order after this display, and was eventually dismissed.
MIC CHECK MIC CHECK! After a passionate plea and protest to say #NoHB31 by @AlgebraProject, Board votes to OPPOSE arming school police 10-0! pic.twitter.com/eBcAEtUA3t
— ACLU-MD Education (@edaclumd) January 23, 2019
Others took to online platforms to protest the measure.
As an organization focused on the principles of peace, unity, and justice, we stand in solidarity with @AlgebraProject & the youth who are fighting back against #HB31! Focus on giving students Reatorative Justice & other support resources! #NoCopsNoGuns #PoliceFreeSchools
— YouthTogether (@YouthTogether) January 22, 2019
Some residents in support of the bill thought members of the board felt pressured by the students.
Cheryl D. Glenn, a democrat who sponsored the bill, was upset by the board’s final decision.
“I think that this is a very unwise decision,” she said. “These are sworn police officers. They are not security guards. They have more training than Baltimore police.”