Responding to recent violence at or near city schools, the Baltimore school superintendent is asking principals for ideas on how to prevent further "senseless assaults on our youngsters."
The request from Superintendent Walter G. Amprey came one day after a 17-year-old special education student at Venable High School was beaten by a gang of youths Tuesday afternoon. The attackers beat Reginald "Reggie" Starks unconscious and stole his Los Angeles Raiders jacket and portable earphones, police said.
An 18-year-old man and two younger teen-agers have been charged in the assault. Meanwhile, police are looking for other suspects.
Starks, 17, of East Baltimore, remains in serious but stable condition at the Shock-Trauma Unit in Baltimore. It took at least five stitches to close his head wound, and he has bruises on the right side of his face,his grandmother said.
About the same time Starks was attacked, Danielle Lashune Allen, an 8-year-old student at Cherry Hill Elementary School, was beaten to the ground by five 9-year-old boys as she left school, police said. She is listed in stable condition at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
The violence didn't stop there.
Yesterday, a fight was reported at Hampstead Hill Middle School in southeast Baltimore. Also, a Walbrook High student was charged with carrying an unloaded 9mm weapon near the West Baltimore school, school security said.
Amprey wants to put a lid on the violence as soon as possible.
"These young victims are our students and we must do everything possible to create an environment for their safety," the superintendent said in a three-paragraph memo due to reach principals today.
In the memo, he asked principals for creative ways to solve the violence that occurs on school property and while students are on the way toor from school.
Yesterday, Amprey said he would urge a review of security procedures to assure close cooperation between city and school police.
He also said he would continue to meet with community groups in areas that have been a focal point for school violence.
Amprey said, "Schools reflect what's going on within our city," and said the community must get involved.
In the attack on Starks, police said, a crowd of at least 50 onlookers did nothing to stop it. The attack apparently stemmed from an argument between Starks and a classmate Monday, his family said.
The attackers are "just a violent bunch of people. No good, that's all," said Starks' grandmother, Anna McGee, 63.
McGee, of the 900 block of N. Chester St., said she was happy about the three arrests. She was disturbed, however, that no one apparently tried to stop the attackers.
Some residents said the beating of Starks, by possibly 15 youngsters, was just the most recent ugly example of increasing violence associated with the students at Venable and in the neighborhood. Residents said police need to increase patrols.
"That could have been me, you or anybody that they jumped on," said Brenda Bond, 33, a resident.
In yesterday's fight at Hampstead Hill Middle School, four girls were taken into custody shortly after dismissal, said Larry Burgan, chief of school police. No injuries were reported and the students were turned over to their parents.
The fight drew a large crowd in the neighborhood.
Burgan said the students were likely to be referred to Juvenile Services and charged with disorderly conduct.
Across town yesterday, a ninth-grader at Walbrook was arrested after he was allegedly seen putting a bag with an unloaded 9mm semiautomatic pistol under a car on a street near the school, Burgan said.
A teacher looking out a school window saw the student put a suspicious-looking bag under the car and contacted school police, Burgan said. He said the investigating officer found the gun in the bag.
The student was charged with a handgun violation, Burgan said. He told the officer he found the gun.
School officials reported 22 gun-related incidents in the most recent school year, down from a peak of 122 incidents in 1984.