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Baltimore County Superintendent Says Pandemic Trauma Causing Uptick In Disruption, Invites Community Discussion

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) -- Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Darryl Williams on Friday invited community discussion on an uptick in "disruptive behavior" at schools in the county.

A freshman girl was airlifted to a hospital on Thursday after a locker room fight at Franklin High School. The second girl in the fight was charged with first-degree assault. The incident is the latest in a trend of violence in Baltimore County Schools.

Williams said it's not just Baltimore County. As students return back to in-person classrooms this semester, they're having trouble adjusting.

"The ongoing trauma experienced by families as a result of this global pandemic continues to manifest itself in an uptick of disruptive behaviors," Williams said in a letter to parents Friday. "We are not alone, school systems across the nation are facing similar challenges."

The "increasingly disruptive behaviors," as Williams put it, are adding stress and exhaustion for staff and worry for families.

The superintendent announced a list of opportunities to "ensure the schools can focus on learning and teaching." The opportunities include virtual town hall meetings, bringing central office staff into schools, and round table sessions with community partners, teachers and other leaders.

Here's what was announced:

  • Upcoming Live Virtual Town Hall Meetings by zone during the Week of December 13. These solution-oriented meetings are a follow up to the systemwide meeting held in October and will focus on community-related safety concerns. They will be facilitated by School Safety Managers and Executive Directors that work directly with schools. Meeting information will be sent via School Messenger.
  • Deployment of central office staff to schools to address identified needs, provide an enhanced adult presence, and help ensure safe and supportive environments.
  • Use of alternative education options for students in need of additional support. School staff will work with families to create responsive solutions to meet the needs of all students.
  • BCPS Student Council will launch a system-wide mental health awareness campaign in December and partner with the Maryland Center for School Safety for a "See It, Hear It, Report It" campaign in January.
  • Upcoming Parent University presentation on conscious discipline entitled "Supporting the Social-Emotional Needs of Your Child and Yourself" with a focus on the topic of composure. It will be held on Tuesday, December 14 at 12:30 p.m. For more information and to register, visit the Parent University link or call 443-809-0365.
  • Parent Teacher Association Council of Baltimore County will be meeting in January to share resources with all local PTA presidents focused on the important role of the community in working with the school district to build safe and supportive learning environments. Local PTSA's will host school specific meetings focused on safety.
  • We will bring together leaders, teachers, support professional and community partners for a multi-district, round table session. Participants will collaborate and work together in January 2022 to identify innovative solutions.
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