(HOWARD Co – December 4, 2021) – The leadership of the NAACP Howard County Branch, The Council of Elders of the Black Community of Howard County (TCOE), and African American Community Roundtable (AACR) are calling for a thorough investigation of the circumstances involving an incident at Howard High School Thursday morning.
The video circulating through the community showing a Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) student being apprehended by three adults is very disturbing. What this video shows is obvious, an adult is striking a student in the head at least twice and pulling his hair while two others are trying to restrain his lower and upper body. While this video does not show events leading up to this point it is clear an adult is striking a child.
There are multiple issues that are apparent 1) the restraints taught by the HCPSS are being violated by the staff member 2) no adult employed by the HCPSS has the authority to physically strike any child 3) the impact to all students in HCPSS.
We are calling for the adult who is shown striking this student to be suspended immediately pending investigation with an appropriate level of disciplinary action after the completion of the investigation.
We believe that an alternative to criminal charges be reviewed by HCPSS that considers the mental health of the minors involved following a thorough investigation of the root cause of the incident.
Once the investigation is complete, we call on the Superintendent to:
*Immediately implement a plan for training or retraining of all security personnel
*Review hiring practices and training for ALL persons employed by the HCPSS who will interface with our students to ensure they are safe to be in contact with our students.
A conversation with the community leadership is requested to ensure all issues and concerns are presented and discussed so the community and our students feel safe. We need to ensure that this should never happen again. Every student should feel safe and protected on school property. They are still minors, not grown adults, and are still developing cognitively, emotionally, and physically. We all have a responsibility to ensure these environments are safe for students, staff, and others.
The entire Howard County Community is touched by this incident because of the viral release of the video. Every child in Howard High was impacted and our concern is always their safety and mental health during these times. We also want to be considerate of all families and parents involved so everyone is allowed expressions based on how they were impacted.