This is grim. The violence is so bad in one Baltimore community that the cops are hauling nine- year-old girls out of Morrell Park Elementary School in handcuffs. This follows playground fights in which a child was nearly drowned and another forced to lie on railroad tracks.
Parents have criticized the perp walks (and holding the girls for nealry twelve hours), but police defent thie actions — and also paint an ominous picture of what they’re dealing with in this neighborhood.
The Baltimore Sun reports:
“We handled the detentions as we would any felony suspect,” department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. “I think what they did to the victims speaks for itself. We worked with the school administration to get them out of class. Once we brought them to the office, they were arrested.”
State regulations limit the authority of police on school grounds, requiring immediate notification of parents and forbidding interrogations in the school. The regulations also say: “When possible and appropriate, arrest by police should be made during non school hours and away from the school premises.”
Police in this case arrested the youths Thursday afternoon for an altercation they said occurred nine days earlier. Parents and other critics argue that officers could have detained the youths after the school day had ended — and with much less fanfare.
“It’s virtually impossible to imagine a scenario where it is appropriate to take 8- and 9-year-olds out of a school in handcuffs,” said Sonia Kumar, an attorney with the Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union who works with juvenile issues.
“The notion that this was treated like any other felony case is totally sickening,” Kumar said. “What universe is that?”