A proposal by a local senator to add remedial measures for bullies in public schools has died in committee.
Sen. Michael Hough (R-Frederick and Carroll) drafted the proposal, including amendments to Senate Bill 78, aimed at holding bullies in schools accountable for their actions.
That legislation would have required county boards of education statewide to implement policies requiring children who bully or disrupt the “well-being of the school community” to do any of the following, depending on the case:
- Apologize to those they harmed.
- Offer restitution (money, objects they stole or something similar) to those they harmed.
- Attend a conference with a parent or guardian and school staff.
- Modify their schedule so they are not attending the same class as the victim.
Hough’s amendments would have allowed counties to implement a “disciplinary matrix.” This would have allowed each school system to implement their own measures at the local level, he said in an interview this week.
But the amendments failed and his overall bill died in the Judicial Proceedings Committee. Hough said he was disappointed because he heard this week from Frederick County educators who said they’re experiencing disruptive behavior in the classroom.
“There’s stories about chairs being thrown at teachers, and disruptive kids coming back in the classroom, in and out,” Hough said.
Those scenarios vary countywide, depending on how well-off the community is, he added.
“In certain schools with higher [family] incomes where the parents are more supportive, they don’t have as many problems,” he said. “And in other schools, where kids are coming to school and basically their parents are alcoholics and drug addicts or abusive, you got kids coming into the school system with major problems.”
Another of Hough’s bills, which allows those with medical marijuana cards to carry a concealed carry permit, passed again unanimously through the Senate, like last year.
But Hough said that proposal, Senate Bill 179, has a slim chance of getting through the House of Delegates.
The cross-file in the House of Delegates is House Bill 1582, which had a first reading in House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee earlier this month.
Krimm appointed House chair of Joint Audits Committee
Del. Carol Krimm (D-Frederick) was recently appointed co-chair of the state’s Joint Audit and Evaluation Committee.
That body, which has a chair from both the Senate and House of Delegates, reviews audits done at the state level and recommends if any actions should be taken. Sen. Clarence Lam (D-Baltimore and Howard) is the Senate chair.
Krimm said this week the Joint Audit and Evaluation Committee is important, given the findings of one state audit earlier this month.
The Office of Legislative Audits found that the Opioid Operational Command Center improperly awarded $750,000 for the purchase of a former country club and golf course, according to a news release.
The audit found “inadequate justification” for the grant, which was meant to establish an agricultural-based treatment program at a former country club and golf course — but in Caroline County, which represents less than 1 percent of the state’s total opioid deaths.
“I am very troubled by the fact that the Opioid Operational Command Center had such poor oversight of its grants and expenditures,” Lam said in a statement. “When an agency charged with tackling such a critical public health crisis is found to have practices that call into question their integrity, it is a failure to our citizens.”