Revised Weapons Policy
Four months after a student alarmed parents and educators by bringing an unloaded handgun into Elkridge Elementary School, Howard County school officials have issued new guidelines on weapons that mandate prompt reporting of such incidents to parents and police.
Under the old rules, a student found with weapons on campus could face suspension. The disciplinary policy also allowed school officials to bring in the student's parents for a conference.
With the new guidelines, school officials are required to report the weapons violation immediately to police and parents.
The new guidelines also list the types of banned weapons, including the traditional guns and knives, along with more modern ones, such as throwing stars and nunchakus, a weapon often used by martial arts experts.
The new guidelines will be presented at tonight's school board meeting.
Board Chairwoman Anne L. Dodd asked school officials last fall to review the weapons policy after a parent complained about the handling of a handgun incident at Elkridge Elementary.
Superintendent Michael E. Hickey said a student brought a .38-caliber revolver to school on Oct. 16 in a gym bag to show to his friends.
Fellow students notified a teacher, who escorted the youth to the principal's office. The principal, Mary Jane Mitchell, called the boy's parents, who did not know the child had the weapon, school officials said. The student was taken home by his parents and kept out of school the next day, according to school officials.
Hickey said school officials plan to evaluate the new guidelines in June to determine if additional changes are needed.
Weapons violations are infrequent at county schools, Hickey said. The Oct. 16 incident was the first one at Elkridge Elementary. Rides for Young Mothers
Howard County school officials have agreed to provide bus service for about four teen-age mothers and their babies who have enrolled in the teen parenthood class this year.
Superintendent Michael E. Hickey said Monday that he plans to use a projected $3,000 in surplus funds from the school's transportation budget to pay for the additional bus service. The teen-age mothers will be included on a new bus route for elementary school students, Hickey said.
Funding for transportation for the teen parenthood program is a controversial item in the school budget. Hickey said he plans to ask the county to allocate $19,000 for a second bus to transport the teen-age mothers in next year's budget. School officials want the county to foot a larger share of the program's cost. This year, the school system expects to spend about $105,000, Hickey said.
Between 10 and 18 teen-agers are enrolled in the program, staffed by teachers and county health and social services workers.