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Classroom Chaos: Grandparents Day Memory Turns Nightmare

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BALTIMORE (WBFF) - Grandparents Day at a Baltimore City school was supposed to be a special day. Instead, one woman says she left feeling scared for her granddaughter’s safety.

“I wanted to make a memory with them,” Terri Mroz tells Project Baltimore. Though the memory she made was not what she intended.

November 16, 2017, was Grandparents Day at HolabirdAcademy in southeast Baltimore. Mroz was looking forward to sharing it with her two granddaughters. But what she says she witnessed when she walked inside the school, and sat down in her granddaughter’s sixth grade class, was simply shocking.

“It was total chaos,” explains Mroz. “Kids running in and out of the hallway. They were so disrespectful of the teacher.The kids never really took their seats. They were up and down and up and down. One boy was banging away, drumming away(on his desk) the entire time.”

Then, it got much worse. Mroz says one girl ran into the classroom and attacked another student. They were punching each other right in front of her, according to Mroz.

“I was appalled. I was upset. It was bad. It was bad,” she says. “I just couldn’t believe it. I wanted to take my granddaughter out of there and run for safety.”

Mroz tells Project Baltimore she sat in that classroom for 45 minutes. It was so chaotic she doesn’t even know what the teacher’s lesson plan was about. And keep in mind, this was Grandparents Day.

“I shutter to think what they’re doing when there’s no visitors,” she says.

Mroz felt she had to do something. Still shaken, she sat down and fired off a letter to Holabird principal, Stephanie Pappas.

It began: “This letter will address our serious concerns relating to the welfare of our two granddaughters.” In the letter, Mroz detailed what she saw at Holabird.

A few weeks later, the grandmother received an email back from the City Schools administration. They apologized and explained how more resources have been added to the classroom. The letter read in part: “We take any of these types of issues, but particularly those involving student safety, with the utmost seriousness.”

But based off what she saw inside Holabird, Mroz says the District’s reply is not good enough. “Every child deserves a good education. Every child deserves a chance. They are not getting that chance in this classroom that I saw," Mroz says. "I just don’t believe anything was addressed. It was a bunch of words saying we are going to look into it. And every day that goes by is another day my granddaughter is in this classroom and lord knows what is happening in it.”

Project Baltimore paged through surveys filled out by students and staff at Holabird. Inside the school, just 44 percent of students and 60 percent of teachers reported feeling safe – both well below the district averages of 69 percent and 87 percent.

“We worry about them. It’s constant,” says Mroz. “If we could take our girls out of that school, we would. But that leaves all these other kids vulnerable to the same thing.”

As of February 7, Mroz says the principal of the school still has not called her.

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