Almond Asks State Legislators For Anti-Bullying Support

A resolution introduced Monday night asks state lawmakers for funding and a statewide approach to the issue of bullying.

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."

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M. Sullivan November 20, 2012 at 09:34 PM
While Almond and the others might feel good and get some publicity from these resolutions, declarations, and letters, they are not actually accomplishing anything. For once, Kamenetz is correct, they should focus on the issues in Baltimore County and pass real legislation.
Buzz Beeler November 21, 2012 at 12:08 AM
While Mrs. Almond has the courage to attack this problem the SA Scott Schellenberger does not believe in cyber bullying and even contradicts himself when confronted over the law. His assistant Ms. Slazek seems to think that anything goes and that if you choose to go on the internet it's - oh well. So if I'm to believe him and Ms. Slazek there is no crime such as cyber bullying and you can say anything you want. I'm working on a PIA to see just how many such crimes the SA has not only investigated but prosecuted as well. I wonder how he would like it if someone were to attack him, and his family on a daily basis. I wonder how Ms. Slazek would like it to be the talk of the office at the water cooler every day. Mr. Schellengerber is so confused that when I confronted him about my case he told me to get a warrant for the suspect. I said that's great but who is the suspect since neither your office nor the police even investigated it. Now here is the crazy part. Chief Jim Johnson makes a big announcement about the police and their new - cyber crime unit - and when I call the SA they don't know what I'm talking about. http://dundalk.patch.com/blog_posts/full-agenda-vip-speakers-greet-annual-norwoodholabird-community-meeting Another fine example of our local government at work. I called the new cyber crime unit and told them of the situation and there were ready to move quickly and go after the bad guys. Never heard from them again.
Mark Patro November 21, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Bullying is a huge problem. It happens on a daily basis. Through my affiliation with PFLAG Baltimore County, I hear about bullying on a regular basis. I could literally quit my income paying job and work on this issue and it would take up ALL my time. The comment "I don't need the state of Maryland spending anymore of my money trying to address Bullying," is antagonistic and of course it is focused on the government spending no money on social issues. Obviously, I happen to think we need to focus on this issue. It drives young people to suicide and when it doesn't do that it turns others into future bullies. If your Matthew is that communities or other organizations should be doing this work show me what has been done beside the work that PFLAG & GLSEN are doing? Do we pretend that bullying doesn't happen or do we continue to go with the statement, "oh well, it’s always been that way. Just deal with it." If we do not talk about bullying no one will step up to do the work.
Tim November 21, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Heck, it happens on here, it's hilarious. Simple minds and all.
Buzz Beeler November 21, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Rather suprising from a teacher who fears to use his real name and down plays the problem. What school do you teach? Maybe you should do your homework before you comment. You handle it where, in you class? How's that going to solve the problem for the rest of the suffering? Parents! Look at the stats on that issue. http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-and-suicide.html http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/arts/bs-ae-book-lanier-20121117,0,333480.story If it is not a problem that needs to be addressed at the legislative level put your name and school out there and see how long it takes for you, and adult to become a victim. You need a lesson in reality.
number9dream November 21, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Agree wholeheartedly. "Bullying" is merely the latest code word for the political correctness du jour. Imagine students in Baltimore City schools being expected to adhere to this nonsense. And as Perry Hall and Stemmers Run will attest, it's not limited to the city. Kids are willing to go so far as to blow each other away with shotguns these days.
number9dream November 21, 2012 at 05:48 PM
You can't legislate a solution to a problem, just as you can't legislate a child's mother and father to be good if not better parents.
number9dream November 21, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Don't let Don Quixote get to you.
Buzz Beeler November 21, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Mathew, I hope you get my drift. I am by no means one who excels in grammar and yes my sentence was poorly constructed. I think Evets and others are making the point this is an important subject that takes over 4,000 young lives a year and needs to be addressed seriously, even at the adult level. I think her point is that she demonstrated in a nice way along with some others the impact of this topic. I sure could use an editor like Evets, I haven't seen an adverb sine I got whacked with a ruler.
Buzz Beeler November 21, 2012 at 11:03 PM
number9 over 4,000 kids and countless others suffering has nothing to do with PC.
Buzz Beeler November 22, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Evets, my mistake. I Googled suicides caused by cyberbullying. I looked at the stats and not the breakdown. The one thing that is missing is adults can be bullied on the internet also, although Mr. Shellenberger does not think it's a crime. Wait till he gest my PIA and I kept my notes on our conversation. The police say yes we do while Shellenberger says no we don't. Jim Smith's money went to his head. It will lead to a good blog.
Buzz Beeler November 22, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Evets, look at the stats on single parents. We know it begins at home but not always. Some kids and adults bully because they were bullied. The sate passes laws to defend the defenseless. If the laws were strict and held those accountable and the schools stop coddling these kids it might stop. Read up on the Catholic Church and Penn State. They did nothing and look where it got them. Bankruptcy and jail time. Many parents are not capable or responsible of raising children when they themselves have severe problems. You make people on this site use their real names and provide contact information and see how civil they would become. Most people don't speed past marked police units.
Buzz Beeler November 22, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Are you suggesting that because schools aren't responsible for enforcing the laws it's not their business to protect the students. What happens when one is attacked and shot by another student - you call 911 - or in most schools there are officers assigned to work there. This issue can be stopped easily for one simple word to stop bullying - ACCOUNTABILITY! It's not PC to suspend students. Bad publicity for the mayor and superintendent. Maybe you should read this account buy a teacher. The county is no different. http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/arts/bs-ae-book-lanier-20121117,0,333480.story
Buzz Beeler November 22, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Matthew these kids would not laugh if they got expelled and charged criminally and held accountable by a system with some guts and teeth behind it. Money won't solve the problem, accountability will. And I mean accountability not some feel good program that coddles these kids. You think that by not holding them accountability in school will change them all of a sudden when they graduate? Why allow a few to disrupt the whole system and that could lead to large scale violence like Columbine. Tim is right there is no need for this bullying on this site if the comments are removed prior to being posted or making sure of a registration that can identify the offender.
Buzz Beeler November 23, 2012 at 11:04 AM
Ms. Almond now that I took the time to praise your effort let me put it in perspective, or as they say the truth. First this resolution means nothing. Look at this way, I resolve to lose 100 lbs. in six months. If I don't what happens, nothing. Remember Olzsewski's resolution on hiring illegals by companies in the county and for them to use E-Verify. Guess what, there are not stats on this matter in the county, no records, no nothing. Why, because it's a Resolution and it means nothing. IT IS NOT LEGISLATION! It's a feel good piece or propaganda. Ms. Almond did not do her homework and she is the Chairwoman of the Council. All she would have to do is read Patch and some of the vile comments posted against adults. I guess she feels that these types of crimes, stop once you out of school. I guess commuter harassment, and libel are OK as long as your under 18. I wonder how long they would take someone accusing them of criminal conduct without a way to stop them. Like Schellenberger and Slazek said there is no crime, it's OK to say anything. Ms. Almond and Mr. Schellenberger I'll repeat to you what was said to me and do it day after day. See how well you handle it? You'll be hearing a lot from me. I can't believe the president of the council could write a resolution like that without any thought of other consequences. A simple Google could have helped I guess I'll have to get the state AG to do Schellenberger's and Chief Johnson's job.
Parkvillehoney November 23, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Times have changed and bullying is becoming an epidemic. Something, within the law has to change. I am sure if you did a background check in the behavior in the majority of criminals, their negative behavior was present in their youth. Kids, who bully and are not dealt with, think it is OK and acceptable behavior. Taxpayers will either pay for programs for stop bullying or pay for criminals in jail. I would rather rescue these kids early and teach them the responsible way to live in socielty.
EHGoodman November 24, 2012 at 05:17 PM
HB 199 passed by the GA and signed into law by GovernorO'Malley in ay of 2008 already addresses this issue and quite well. As the author of the bill, I know the contents and there are remedial actions and counseling for students who are bullied. The Resolution fails to mention this at all. In fact, ABC News picked the story up in '08 and called it the "most comprehensive bullying prevention legislation in the country." Can we totally eradicate bullying - no. But our schools are dealing with it very proactively. Marcie Goodman
EHGoodman November 24, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Meant to say May of 2008.
Buzz Beeler November 24, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Marcie, then why does the county want to scale back suspensions? Not PC I guess. Not good for the stats. Proactive! How, where's the stats. I just filed a PIA to find out. Filled in 08? Then why do we still need cops in the schools?
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