Weapons violations spike at Baltimore County school
A Project Baltimore investigation has uncovered a troubling trend in Baltimore County Schools. Just in the past year, County schools have seen a 26 percent increase in weapons violations – with certain individual schools seeing upwards of a 500 percent spike.
Overall, Baltimore County Schools has seen a 35 percent spike in weapons violations since 2012. Yet still, parents have not been told.
Analysis of State Department of Education data found the number of students suspended or expelled for weapons violations at Franklin High School has increased 500 percent, from three in 2012 to 15 last year.
“It’s just frightening to think kids can get weapons,” says Marsha Caplin whose granddaughter attends Franklin High.
“I think it would be helpful for the County to be alerting parents. I don’t know if it’s the school’s responsibility,” says Dave Gede, a Franklin High parent.
Franklin High is not alone. Chesapeake High, Lansdowne High, Milford Mill Academy and Deep Creek Middle School have seen weapons violations double, triple or quadruple in the last five years.
Project Baltimore contacted all five of schools requesting an interview to discuss the increase. They all declined. Baltimore County’s School administration also declined an interview. Instead, we received the same statement we got when Fox45 first exposed the County-wide increase, which read in part:
“Our schools are the safest places for students. We believe the increase in weapons incidents is due in part to our efforts to provide anonymous resources and tools for students to inform us of violations.”– Mychael Dickerson, BCPS Chief Communications Officer.
David Murphey, a developmental psychologist with Child Trends, says this weapons increase is likely a sign of a larger problem – that a growing number of students don’t feel safe in the classroom. He says school leadership needs to send a clear message soon that this behavior will not be tolerated.
"I think they're alarming,” Murphey says of the increase. “Anytime a young person risks their safety by engaging in violent behavior, it's concerning."
Baltimore County Schools told us that individual schools notify parents every time a weapon is found, but as far as the overall increase in student suspensions and expulsions for weapons violations, that data is reported to the state but not directly to parents.