- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The county commissioners agreed Tuesday to help address the issue of school bullying after several residents spoke out against the problem during the public comment portion of the board’s regular meeting.
Jeff Brown, who said his daughter has been bullied on a daily basis at one of the county middle schools, said he wanted to make the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners aware of the bullying issue in the county’s public schools.
He said even though he has tried to work with staff at the school and with the Calvert County Board of Education, nothing has been done “to remedy” the issue. He said his daughter has been “isolated” and “removed from classes” and “the bullies” have not been reprimanded.
Brown explained that his daughter, who speaks with a therapist who comes to the schools, told the therapist she doesn’t know what else to do “because nobody will help.” He said the therapist called him and told him his daughter should be taken to Calvert Memorial Hospital’s emergency room and admitted to the “psychiatric ward.” He said he was told that if he did not, a police officer would then have to come and take his daughter.
“He said he was going to put my 12-year-old daughter in handcuffs,” he said of the officer.
The experience was “humbling, traumatic and humiliating,” he told the commissioners. “And it’s all because she’s getting bullied.”
Debbie Buckingham, another parent who complained of bullying in Calvert County public schools, told the commissioners, “You guys need to step up to the plate. And so does that school board.”
She explained that her son has been beaten, pushed under a bus and threatened to be killed if he shows up to school. She said when he’s been beaten, she doesn’t receive a phone call from the school.
“Why can’t the county step in?” Buckingham asked of the commissioners.
Brenda Davis, whose son has Asperger’s syndrome and has been bullied for the past year, said her son also told her he was told he’d be killed if he showed up to school.
Davis said she created the Facebook page “Stop Bullying in Calvert County Maryland,” where she has heard stories of children’s fingers being broken and beatings occurring on buses.
She said she had to involve the state police when her son came to her and said he was told he was going to be raped in the school bathroom by other boys and beaten until he’s killed.
“My son doesn’t know what the word ‘rape’ means,” she told the commissioners, adding that “having to explain it” to him is “despicable.”
She said when the bully was removed from the school, the parents came to her home and threatened to kill her “for having him removed from the school.”
Davis said she’s contacted several national, state and local authorities and was told to contact the BOE.
“And we have. And we’ve gotten absolutely no response from the Board of Education whatsoever. So, we’re asking that possibly you could help us bring to light to the Board of Education that there is a problem, even if it is a miniscule problem and it’s for certain children.”
Davis told the commissioners children should not have to worry “if they’re going to take a punch that day” or anything else but learning.
The commissioners agreed to send a letter to the BOE requesting it respond to the BOCC, explaining its procedures and what it is doing about bullying in the schools.
Solomons residents express opposition to SMECO poles
Also during public comment, members of the Solomons community spoke in opposition to Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative’s Southern Maryland Reliability Project, which proposes to place approximately 18 140-foot poles in Solomons.
Don McDougall, a Solomons resident and member of the Solomons Civic Association, told the commissioners the poles will have a “negative” impact on the town and its appeal to tourists.
“The ‘megapoles’ are an absolute disaster to the aesthetics of our town,” McDougall said. He told the commissioners several of the community’s organizations, businesses and residents are “all aligned on this” and have spoken with Sen. Roy P. Dyson (D-Calvert, St. Mary’s, Charles) about their concerns. He said the community needs the commissioners’ support as well.
Lisa Batchelor Frailey, president of the Solomons Business Association, said the community is “really, really concerned about what the poles will do to the town.
“Visual appearance has tangible consequences on a town whose fame, livelihood and economy are based on aesthetics and tourism,” she said. She added that the association believes the consequences of the poles will be failed or faltering business, increased unemployment, reduced business property values and reduced home values. “All this means disenfranchised residents and business owners, and an erosion for the tax base for both the county and state.”
Solomons resident Chris McNeils, who said she also owns business property in Solomons, said Solomons’ aesthetics “have to be a priority” of the BOCC.