The Status Quo Needs Repair
On June 4, another serious fight broke out at Tuscarora High School (THS). There were reported fights at several other Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) making its way through the parental grapevine that same day, some with video for verification, some with multiple parent corroboration.
A friend posted about the THS fight on their Facebook page and tagged several of the Board of Education members. It didn’t go well.
Parents have been discussing among themselves their deep concerns with the local school system’s seeming lack of ability to maintain the peace in our schools – and providing information. We rarely go a week without hearing about a fight, marijuana-laced snacks, and drug deals in the bathrooms.
Frederick County Public Schools, through Board of Education President Brad Young, ensures the public it is “working with” law enforcement and “supporting” student groups. Parents want to know what that means.
When we ask for clarification, we are treated like children who can’t comprehend what “working with” means.
Parents are blaming the school system. Mr. Young says FCPS is doing its part and accused the community and law enforcement of not doing theirs. FCPS position seems to be that if parents can’t control their children at home, what makes them think the school system can control them in school?
To that I say “in loco parentis” (in the place of the parent). There is a well-established legal relationship between teachers and students. FCPS wants that relationship in some instances (allowing a child to maintain a secret transgender identity at school unbeknown to their parents) while rejecting it when it comes to disciplining students.
Parents want some answers. Toward that end, I have talked with Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, and retired Board of Education member Colleen Cusimano. Both agreed that a town hall on school safety would benefit the community.
Several concerned parents and I are putting together such a town hall. We have reserved September 5, 2019, at the C. Burr Artz Library in downtown Frederick from 6 to 9 p.m. We are making arrangements to host an informative and productive event.
We are working on reserving a larger venue if we believe we will need more space than the library’s Community Room can accommodate.
It doesn’t take a village to raise a respectful child, but it certainly takes working partnerships. We all need to know the duties, rights and expectations of the other. Somewhere along the way our children are not learning to respect the spaces of others. Somewhere along the way school administrations at the highest level have forgotten they need to protect their teachers and staff as well as the students.
Could the fix be as simple as putting teachers back in the halls between classes? Let’s talk about it.
Instead of assigning blame, it’s time to look at the cards we have, and figure out how to best play them. We cannot continue on with the status quo.