Group to Hold Rally Tomorrow in Support of Police-Free Schools, Restorative Justice, and Mental Health Support for Students

A group known as Young People For Progress will hold a rally at 4:30pm tomorrow (Thursday, February 24th) outside of the Montgomery County Board of Education meeting at the Carver Educational Services Center on Hungerford Drive. The goal of the rally is to urge MCPS Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight and school board members to support police-free schools, restorative justice, and more mental health support for students as the most effective way support student wellbeing and safety, according to a press release.

The Board of Education is holding a meeting tomorrow, Thursday, February 24th. The business meeting will begin at 3:30 p.m., and closed session will begin at 1:00 p.m. The meeting will be broadcast live on Comcast Channel 34, Verizon FIOS Channel 36, and RCN Channel 89. Meeting is rebroadcast at 1:00 p.m. on the Saturday and Sunday following the meeting.

The full press release regarding the rally can be seen below:

Montgomery County, MD (February 22, 2022) — On Thursday, February 24th, 2022, from 4:30pm-5:30pm, students, parents, and community members, will hold a rally at the Montgomery County Board of Education to urge the Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight and school board members to support police-free schools, restorative justice, and more mental health support for students as the most effective way support student wellbeing and safety.

As students, parents, and community members, we are all concerned about recent violence and mental health crises in our schools. The superintendent has proposed a plan to expand the presence of Community Engagement Officers (CEOs), or armed police officers, in schools. While the district claims to have removed police from schools, students have reported that police officers never truly left MCPS schools when the CEO model was established last fall. Ironically, MCPS proposed to expand the presence of police in schools in the same presentation as it discussed its commitment to student wellbeing and a racially equitable school system. However, evidence shows that the CEO plan is not only ineffective, but dangerous and counter to its student wellbeing goals.

The reality is that police are not effective in preventing violence in our schools. In fact,  peer-reviewed research finds that out of 133 school shootings, there were “three times as many people killed when there was an officer on the scene who was armed.” Instead, police in schools can increase student anxiety and worsen school climate, increase student arrests and involvement in the criminal justice system, and especially harm students of color and students with disabilities. In fact, in the one semester that the CEO model has been in place, Black students continue to be disproportionately arrested. Black students constituted 36% of arrests at MCPS schools in the fall 2021-2022 semester, despite making up only 14% of MCPS student population. It is clear that police in schools serves to jeopardize student well-being and does not effectively support student needs.

The solution is for students to have strong, supportive, and trusting relationships with adults (who are not law enforcement officers) and other students in their buildings. For this we need 1) restorative justice practitioners and training for all adults and students in schools, 2) culturally competent, and trauma-informed social workers and mental health practitioners, 3) positive youth development programming and wrap around support for students.These holistic measures are needed to create an environment where students are safe and conflict does not escalate.

Montgomery County officials will soon make a decision that will affect over 160,000 students across 209 schools. In this critical moment, students and the community are coming together to speak against putting CEO police in schools, and for restorative justice, mental health, and other student supports. We understand that every member of this community wants our students to be safer, but the answer is not to militarize our classrooms.

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AC Milan Soccer Camp at Maryland Soccerplex

AC Milan Academy is hosting a soccer camp at Maryland Soccerplex from March 1st through March 3rd for girls and boys aged 5 to 16 from any club who want to develop their soccer skills and learn the unique methodology of AC Milan directly from AC Milan coaches.

March 1st (Friday) 6pm-7:30pm

March 2nd (Saturday) 6pm-7:30pm

March 3rd (Sunday) 10:30am -12pm and 3:30pm-5pm

Location:18031 Central Park Cir, Boyds, MD 20841

Price: $349 + AC Milan Junior Camp Kit

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