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April 5, 2022, Community Update: A Message from Superintendent Williams on School Safety

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April 5, 2022

Dear Team BCPS,

We want to provide you with an update about our ongoing work to address student safety and school climate. BCPS is committed to supporting students while holding them accountable for their actions. Disruptive behaviors that impact our ability to provide safe and supportive learning environments are not acceptable.

Our Work

Over the last few months, we have taken the following school-safety related steps:

  • Hosted four virtual community forums where we provided information on BCPS’ school safety efforts and answered questions from parents and staff. We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions in a FAQs document that is posted on our new BCPS safety webpage.

  • Surveyed BCPS principals about safety needs.

  • Worked with student leaders from our Baltimore County Student Councils and Junior Councils to launch a peer-to-peer safety campaign.

  • Provided the PTA Council of Baltimore County with tools to support local schools.

  • Completed several school safety walks to identify additional opportunities to strengthen safety processes and procedures.

What’s Ahead

As we approach the end of this school year and prepare for the 2022-2023 school year, we will launch new efforts to address system needs. This work includes:

  • Grant-funded safety assistants in secondary schools. These new safety assistants will focus on de-escalation strategies and relationship building and provide additional adult presence in buildings. We will pilot the use of safety assistants in select schools this spring, with the goal of full implementation in the fall of 2022. These assistants are not replacing School Resource Officers (SROs) but will support school teams.

  • Updated procedures to effectively document and share information about bullying and harassment investigations. Team BCPS staff will receive a refresher training on protocols for responding to reports of bullying and harassment. We are also working to update the Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form so that it can be submitted electronically.

  • Hosting an April 26 roundtable discussion with leaders across the state to identify innovative solutions that address this complex issue.

  • A systemwide information campaign to promote the use of the Maryland Center for School Safety reporting tip line which provides 24/7 access for students, staff and families.

  • Enhanced community partnerships and parent volunteer opportunities to support safe and positive experiences at arrival, lunch, and dismissal.

Additionally, we are committed to: 

  • Providing Team BCPS staff with additional training in de-escalation strategies.

  • Collaborating with Baltimore County government and the Baltimore County Police Department to support an expanded SRO Program.

  • Revising the process for reporting disruptive and dangerous behaviors on school buses to ensure timely responses.

  • Ongoing discussions with neighboring school systems and our local school communities for problem solving and feedback.

  • Working with student leaders on student-focused opportunities to help students create stronger connections through orientation, advisories, mentorships, and transition programs.

  • Providing more social emotional supports to schools including additional school counselors and social workers.

Our partnership is critical during these challenging times. We remain committed to working with all members of the BCPS community to build safe and positive school communities.

With appreciation,
Darryl L. Williams, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Important Resources

WATCH: Superintendent Darryl Williams’ presentation to the Board of Education on school safety and climate

 

Bullying, Harassment, or Intimidation
Report A Tip—Maryland Center for School Safety
BCPS Student Handbook
Virtual Calming Room
Frequently Asked Questions on School Safety and Climate
Parent University

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