The chairwoman of the Baltimore County Council is hoping legislators in Annapolis will put more effort into anti-bullying efforts in local schools.
Vicki Almond is sponsoring a resolution calling on the General Assembly to "provide the necessary resources to school systems and appropriate agencies who work with young people and allow them to establish multi-disciplinary teams in each jurisdiction, to include but not be limited to school personnel, and representatives from the local police department, the appropriate local mental health agency and the local State's Attorney, to address bullying, harassment, and intimidation." [A copy of the resolution is attached to this story.]
The resolution does not specify programs or a desired funding amount. It does not carry the force of law and state legislators are not required to comply.
"It brings it to the attention of the General Assembly in a broader way," said Almond. "This is just a way to encourage our delegates and senators to look for funding to address bullying.
Almond said she'd like legislators to approach the issue on a larger scale than simply each local school system.
"I'm not sure we have a statewide way of handling bullying," she said.
Almond said her efforts in Baltimore County mirror those of Howard County Councilwoman Courtney Watson and another effort in Montgomery County.
While once unheard of, this is not the first time Almond or other Baltimore County councilmembers elected since 2010 have taken a stand through their public office.
In 2011, Almond and four other councilmembers issued a letter urging their constituents to sign a petition to place the Maryland DREAM Act on the 2012 ballot.
That same year, Almond was part of a group of four freshman councilmembers who signed a letter calling a school board task force to reconsider a vote it took on the issue of elected school boards.
In the past, the council has abstained from such public declarations on state and federal issues.
While on the council, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz frequently lectured his colleagues about not following the lead of the Baltimore City Council and refraining from getting involved in state and federal issues.
He said it can become a distraction.
In 2011, Kamenetz urged Almond and others to stay away from issues like the DREAM Act.
"Once you open that door then it's hard to say 'No,' to other issues that come along," Kamenetz said at the time. "Next thing you know we're passing resolutions on United Nations issues."