Board of Education Meeting: Arundel Middle Safety, Elementary Transfer Issues
Parents and students expressed concern for the safety at Arundel Middle School, and pressed the board to consider adding another assistant principal for stability.
Arundel Middle Position Request, Safety Concerns
Several parents, teachers and students spoke about safety concerns at Arundel Middle School in Odenton, including bullying and recent knife threats. Some of the parents said an additional assistant principal position would stabilize the school, and lessen the burden of the current administration dealing with discipline issues.
"Our school is facing safety issues and teacher-stacking issues," said Tracy Mathews, an Arundel Middle parent. "This [position] would help our principal be proactive instead of reactive."
Mathews spoke with Patch last month after some high profile incidents took place at the school and said that the administration could use extra support.
Taylor Mathews, an eighth-grader at Arundel Middle, said she wants things to change at the school.
"I know my friends and I don't feel safe at this school," Taylor said.
In addition to the request for an additional assistant principal, one parent suggested an overhaul of the school's appearance could change how some of the students treat teachers and staff.
"I've heard parents say Arundel Middle looks like a jail, just without the bars," said parent Stacy Montaigne.
She requested the school be put in a priority position for a renovation.
Flexibility on Bus Issue for Students in South County
About 20 parents and caretakers requested that the school system continue the "status quo" of allowing out-of-area transfers (OATs) at elementary schools in the southern part of the county to ride school buses to a nearby daycare center.
Several parents—most of them with students at Deale Elementary School—said they can't afford to transport their children to the Tender Years Child Care and Development Center after school due to their work schedule.
Most of the parents said the drive from their workplaces would make transporting their kids from school to daycare a considerable time investment.
"Current bus routes efficiently, effectively and safely transport students," said Deale Elementary parent Lauren Northrop, in a statement submitted to the board. "We are asking that out-of-area students not be denied access to buses they already ride on and that are paid for by our taxes."
The school board said they would look into the issue, but noted that the OAT agreement parents sign explicitly says that transportation is not guaranteed to OAT students.
Board President Andrew Pruski said after the meeting that this was the first time the issue was brought to the board. He said students were using the buses, but that transportation is not guaranteed to transfers.
"We will respond after communication with the daycare provider and the people who were here today," Pruski said.
Correction: This story has been updated to clarify that parents have asked the school system to allow out-of-area transfers to use school buses to transport students to nearby daycare centers.