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Baltimore school board unanimously votes against allowing police officers to carry firearms in schools


Seems like a good idea

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The school board of Baltimore City Public Schools in Baltimore, Maryland, unanimously voted its opposition to arming school resource officers on Tuesday.

Baltimore City Public Schools is the only jurisdiction in Maryland to have its own dedicated police force, according to The Baltimore Sun.

What are the details?

On Tuesday, the school board voted 10-0 to express disapproval of a bill in the state legislature that would have permitted school resource officers to carry firearms inside school property.

Currently, officers are permitted to carry their service weapons while guarding the exterior of the schools, but are forced to lock up their weapons at the beginning of each school day.

WBAL-TV reported that the SROs are the only officers in the state of Maryland who are not permitted to carry their weapons inside of schools while on duty.

The vote took place at school district headquarters. The highly attended meeting attracted members of a student group who chanted and protested against the bill.

Kimberly Humphrey, a spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union, said that armed officers in the building would create a distracting environment.

"[It's] very important that students are in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable, and having a gun around is not comfortable for learning," Humphrey said.

What else?

Maryland state Delegate Cheryl Glenn proposed the legislation, which was ultimately struck down.

"I can't move a bill that doesn't have the support of the school board and the mayor," Glenn said. "The votes wouldn't be there."

Glenn later added, "I think that this is a very unwise decision. These are sworn police officers. They are not security guards. They have more training than Baltimore police."

Leo Burroughs Jr., one parent who attended the meeting, told WBAL, "I support the Second Amendment. De-escalate armed suspects. Let's de-escalate when they're firing at you. You just jump up and shout, 'de-escalate.' It doesn't work."

Baltimore Police Sgt. Clyde Boatwright also expressed his support for the bill, as well as regret that it did not pass.

"We just need to be clear that if and when we have a serious situation in Baltimore, everyone is going to look back at this day and say, 'You know what? They had a chance to get it right and they didn't,'" Boatwright said.

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