In the aftermath of two days of protests and rioting in Baltimore, city school officials have resumed classes Wednesday morning. Gregory Thornton, the CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, says the district is providing resources to support students dealing with the events of the last several days.
"Beginning [Wednesday], principals and teachers are planning activities that will help students learn from the past days’ events," Thornton says.
"Counselors, social workers, and psychologists will be on hand to support students’ emotional needs. We are reaching out to community organizations to work hand in hand with our school police to ensure safe passage for our students along their walking routes to school and between school buildings and bus stops. We are ensuring that all security protocols are in place and followed at all school buildings, and we are deploying district office staff to support school leaders as needed."
Thornton closed schools on Tuesday because of the violence in the city. He acknowledged the decision caused hardships for some families, but stressed that it was necessary because of the cleanup occurring in some areas, the lack of transportation available, and "most important, the need for district staff to plan and make arrangements to ensure the safety of students and staff at school for the remainder of the week.
The CEO also is vowing that students who took part in any rioting will face consequences.
"A small minority of our students did not make responsible decisions, and I am deeply angered that the inexcusable actions of those few now threaten to color perceptions about the many," Thornton says. "That is why I assert in the strongest possible terms that the students who engaged in violence on Monday will be held accountable. We are working to identify those students, who will experience consequences in full accordance with the law and City Schools’ code of conduct.
"Students have a right to voice their opinions, and we all have the right to demonstrate — and the obligation to work for positive change. But violence is never the answer. Parents, please talk with your children about how they’re feeling about recent events and support them in expressing those feelings in positive ways."