On Tuesday, the OSI-supported School Climate Collaborative held its first meeting of 2019 at the offices of the Family League of Baltimore, discussing developments during the legislative session in Annapolis and other updates.
Khalilah Harrington-Slater of the Family League announced that Shantay McKinily, director of the Positive Schools Center (which OSI founded at the University of Maryland School of Social Work in 2014), will chair and coordinate the Collaborative going forward. The Center and the Collaborative both work to create positive school climates in Baltimore City Public Schools.
Dr. Tracey Durant, Baltimore City Schools’ Director of Equity (pictured), offered an update on her efforts to create an equity policy for the City Schools that will be ratified by the School Board. Representatives from Advocates for Children and Youth, the Family League, and Disability Rights Maryland offered updates on behalf of the OSI-supported Coalition to Reform School Discipline, summarizing the findings of the Kirwan Commission and reporting that several legislative efforts are being advanced to codify restorative approaches to discipline in schools across the state.
Lori Hines from the district’s Whole Child Services and Support office reported that the district has begun to formally use the School Climate Walk, which is an observational, research-based assessment tool created by Karen Webber, director of OSI’s Education and Youth Development program, when she was at City Schools in partnership with OSI.
The advocates also discussed several recent developments related to arming school police. Last month, the Baltimore City School Board unanimously rejected arming school police, leading Del. Cheryl Glenn to drop her bill, which would do just that. But after a recent shooting at Douglass High School Senate Republicans from Baltimore’s suburbs proposed a new bill that would require school police throughout the state be armed in schools. Del. Glenn, who chairs the Baltimore City Delegation, says she won’t support the Senate bill, since it came from outside the city and attempts to direct city policy, but resurrected her own bill, which would allow Baltimore City school police to carry guns in schools. The Coalition to Reform Schools Discipline has been leading and will continue to lead efforts to keep guns out of schools.