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Unions calls for code of conduct change after recent student attacks on school staff

Posted at 5:46 PM, Dec 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-20 17:46:22-05

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Five Baltimore City school employees have been assaulted by students since the beginning of November. The latest: a nurse and nurses aid at National Academy Foundation.

“I feel horrible. Honestly, I feel horrible,” parent Andrea Hartz said. “These kids, they have no regards for human beings anymore.”

The student allegedly responsible for this attack is the same student who hit a cafeteria worker at the same school 3 weeks earlier, according to the Baltimore Teachers Union.

“It’s very upsetting that it’s happening again, so soon,” Union president Marietta English said. “Under no circumstances should this student have been allowed to be readmitted to NAF after assaulting the cafeteria worker in November.”

In that instance, a cafeteria worker says two female students attacked her, leaving her with a broken arm.

“The student was removed from the building, to my understanding, for 10 days. That is wrong,” School Administration Union president Jimmy Gittings said. “We cannot have our teachers and our administrators assaulted on an everyday occurrence. It’s ridiculous.”

This attack at the middle and high school in East Baltimore is just the latest in a string of attacks on city school employees.

“We should be able to teach without worrying about any kind of violence,” teacher Camille Hinmon said.

Last month, Hinmon was hit by a student at Frederick Douglass High School.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m still in complete shock,” Hinmon said.

Later in November at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, a student assaulted a teacher, but other students were able to intervene.

“Before it gets better, it’s gonna get a lot worse if the situations aren’t handled properly,” Hartz said. “Something’s gotta give. The adults aren’t being respected. The kids aren’t respecting each other and before it becomes a serious catastrophe, I think somebody needs to step in.”

City Schools says the students face consequences in accordance with the district’s code of conduct. The code says an attack against school personnel is a level 2-5 offense, so the appropriate response ranges from detention to expulsion. The lack of clarity is why the teachers union has formed a School Safety Task Force.

“What should we do, what should happen with these students if this happens? What we really are trying to create is a safe climate in our schools for our teachers and our staff and our students,” English said.

AFCSME, the union representing Baltimore City School employees, including the two women attacked yesterday, says they are both beaten and bruised, but doing okay. The union is now demanding the district hold violent students accountable. They are part of the task force, meeting again in the beginning of January to examine the code and see what consequences need to be strengthened and then recommendations will be out shortly after.