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Fredrick Douglass High School Suffers School Shooting

Since the Parkland Shooting on Feb 14, 2018, there have been 31 incidents within K-12 schools, in which at least one person was shot. One of the incidents occurred on Feb 8, within Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore County.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the attacker, 25-year-old Neil Davis, walked into the school angry over previously hearing that his younger sister was disciplined by a staff member over being in the hallways during class and fighting. The staff member is Michael Marks, who is a 56-year-old special education assistant.

Marks told Fox 45, “I noticed that something wasn’t right,” seeing the man pacing by the main office. Marks approached the gunman who shot at him three times, hitting him twice, but was ultimately subdued by Marks. Marks was released from the hospital last week, and is still recovering from his injuries.

Neil Davis already had a criminal record before this event took place. On Nov 10, 2018, it is recorded that Davis murdered his cousin. After being informed of this event as well as the Frederick Douglass High shooting, Judge Kathleen Sweeney decided to withhold bail, and deemed him a threat to the public. He has been charged with attempted first degree murder and related firearms violations.

School was closed until Feb 12 to give students time for proper counseling and support. However, according to several Douglass staff members, it wasn’t enough. Things at Douglass were hurriedly rushed back to “business as usual” and the students weren’t given much time to recover. Even though the recent event had no fatalities doesn’t mean the students and staff were unaffected. Many students and teachers were still traumatized, regardless of how minimal the damage was. Additionally, students and teachers continue to say that they feel unsupported, according to the Baltimore Sun.

“A situation is always bigger when someone dies,” said Mt. Hebron freshman Gary Gibbs II.

“I feel like the shooting would have made bigger national news if somebody had died.”

Teachers at the school felt like the experience left both the kids and staff with trauma which was being overlooked. They were forced to barricade classrooms with desks and set booby traps with text books, all prepared for the reality that they could die at any moment, and yet the students were forced to attend school the following Wednesday “as if nothing was wrong.” Teachers were to use the Monday following the shooting to get counseling and plan for the students’ return on Tuesday, but the county called for a snow day, cancelling those activities, leaving them unprepared to teach their students on February 13.

Thursday, Feb 14, school was cancelled for the students and teachers were given active shooter training, and the school was equipped with metal detectors at the front office entrance, in the hopes that if any more events like this were to happen, they’d be more well prepared.

On Feb 26, the Baltimore city school board got together to reevaluate their position on whether or not the school police should possess weapons. Jan 22, the meeting voted 10-0 in opposition to arm school police, but after the shooting at Frederick Douglass High, the school’s board perspectives changed and the vote was 8-2 in favor of having the school police carry firearms.

School board board chair Cheryl Casciani tells the Baltimore Sun, “It would be nice if we lived in a world where we didn’t need guns at all, but that’s not the reality for us in Baltimore City. This is all about public safety.”

 

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