Student challenges Baltimore County School Board on March for Our Lives | WYPR

Student challenges Baltimore County School Board on March for Our Lives

Feb 21, 2018

A screenshot of Josie Shaffer speaking at the Feb. 20 Baltimore City Public Schools Board of Education meeting.

The Baltimore County School Board heard a passionate plea from its student member last night for support for the student-driven March for Our Lives protest in Washington, D.C., in response to the mass murder of 17 people at a Broward County, Florida, high school. 


The board did not take a stand on whether to support the March 24 demonstration.




Josie Shaffer, a senior at Pikesville High School, told her fellow board members this is not a partisan issue.


“This is an ‘I am scared to go to a place I thought was safe’ issue,” Shaffer said. “I should not be afraid to go to school. My friend should not be stopped as she is about to leave the house because her mom wants her to change into tennis shoes in case she has to run.”


Shaffer said students have the right to get an education without fearing that someone with an assault rifle might enter the school. She said something has to change.


“I call on the board to vocally support the March for Our Lives on March 24,” Shaffer said. “Countless Baltimore County students will be attending this march. And it is important to know our board supports us.”


The board did not vote on that last night. But it did agree to send a letter of condolences to the Broward County Florida School Board. And board member Roger Hayden called for more school resource officers in the schools. 


Jake Turner, the President of the Baltimore County Student Councils and a Hereford High School Junior, told the board students throughout the country and county are fearful.


“The threat is real, with 18 school shootings so far in 2018 that have resulted in death or injury,” Turner said.


He added the schools need to provide more mental health services for students.


March For Our Lives is calling for legislation to address gun violence. Its mission statement says that not one more child should be shot at school.