On January 25th Maryland residents will gather in Ellicott City for a forum discussing school safety and the role of school resource officers (SROs)

The following information is via a press release on January 16th:

Press Release: Parents Gather in Ellicott City to Discuss School Resource Officers and School Safety

On Tuesday, January 25, Maryland residents will gather in Ellicott City for a forum discussing school safety and the role of school resource officers (SROs). At state and local levels, the debate over whether to remove SROs from public schools has been an ongoing conversation. In August 2021, Montgomery County became the first county in Maryland to remove SROs from its public schools. Howard County followed suit and banned SROs from all middle schools.

In light of the upcoming 2022 Maryland General Assembly session, there is a need to discuss arguments for/against removing school resource officers. Specifically, more discussion is needed on the facts that underlie arguments against having SROs. As parents and local leaders strive to halt the pipeline of misinformation about SROs, they are also interested in understanding the role of SROs in light of civil liberties. Key questions that arise: Should SROs be allowed to interview students without prior parental consent if they are investigating a school-related incident? Should SROs be allowed to levy disorderly conduct charges on students during school, on buses or at school-sponsored events?

This forum aims at providing a more in-depth discussion on school resource officers and the future of safety in our public schools. It will feature a mental health practitioner (LaToya Nkongolo), a retired school resource officer from Howard County (Steven Willingham), a current school resource officer in Baltimore City (Clyde Boatwright), and a state delegate (Reid Novotny). The forum will be moderated by Yuripzy Morgan, a family law attorney, WBAL Radio host, and parental rights advocate.

One organizer, Beth Retaliatta, notes, “While no one wants to think about the 2018 vandalism incident at Glenelg High School, it is important that parents like myself understand the relationship between students and SROs and how that relationship can help with investigations in difficult cases.”

Another organizer, Allen Stein, states, “This forum will help clear up the confusion arising from arguments against having SROs in our schools. I look forward to hearing the discussion on the crucial relationship between SROs and students. For many students, meeting with their SRO might be their first time that they meet and know a member of public safety.”

The forum is being organized by Families Unite Howard County, a Maryland-based nonpartisan group of concerned parents. The program will commence at 7PM on Tuesday, January 25 at Kelsey’s Restaurant [8480 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, Maryland 21043].

Key Details: Safe Schools, Safe Communities: The Role of School Resource Officers in Maryland’s Public Schools

  • Date: Tuesday, January 25
  • Time: Doors Open at 5:30PM (Attendees are encouraged to order dinner and drinks prior to the start of the program); Program starts at 7PM
  • Venue: Kelsey’s Restaurant [8480 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, Maryland 21043]
    Panelists & Moderator:

    • LaToya Nkongolo, Mental Health Practitioner
    • Delegate Reid Novotny, Maryland General Assembly
    • Steve Willingham, Retired School Resource Officer
    • Clyde Boatwright, President, Fraternal Order of Police
    • Moderator: Yuripzy Morgan, WBAL Radio Host

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Here is a link for the event that I found online (but not mentioned in the press release): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/safe-schools-safe-communities-the-role-of-school-resource-officers-tickets-247476337387

Scott E

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