City police and school security officers have begun working more closely in an effort to halt violence near schools. The extra vigilance follows two assaults yesterday near Southeast Middle School in which groups of youths beat two students who were waiting for buses to take them home.
The police termed the attacks racial assaults.
The beatings were the latest in a series of fights, assaults and other incidents in recent weeks that have put school officials on the defensive over the issue of security.
In one incident yesterday, police said a 12-year-old Highlandtown boy was beaten by a group of teen-agers in an attack interrupted by a Mass Transit Administration driver.
Police said James Gray, a Southeast Middle School student, was waiting for a bus home in the 500 block of Dundalk Ave. about 3:10 p.m.
He was accosted by about 10 black males described as being in their early teens. One of whom reportedly said,"Let's bang the white boy."
Police said an MTA bus pulled up while the teen-agers were beating Gray in the head and body. The bus driver, a black woman, shouted in vain for the group to stop the attack. She then got off the bus, grabbed the victim and pulled him on to the bus and away from the attackers.
Gray went home and was taken to Francis Scott Key Medical Center after complaining of head injuries and dizziness. He was treated yesterday and released.
In a second incident, police said, Michael Donaldson, 11, also of Highlandtown, a seventh-grader at Southeast Middle School, was assaulted by a group of teen-agers while waiting for an MTA bus in the 6700 block of O'Donnell St., about two blocks from the school.
Police said Donaldson was sitting on the bench waiting for a bus to his Highlandtown home when three black teen-agers approached and asked for an extra bus ticket, and then for money.
When Donaldson said he had neither, one youth told the others, "All right, let's do it." The three then punched Donaldson several times in the head and face.
Today, the boy was home with a black and blue right eye and lumps on his forehead.
Dennis Hill, spokesman for the city police, said that police and school security officers were working closely to be aware of any spots that need extra attention.
The incidents cap a turbulent week for the city schools, in which city School Superintendent Walter G. Amprey warned against "a sense of panic."
"I am concerned that because we've had a spate of . . . problems, that people will begin to form this opinion that all the schools are unsafe," Amprey said yesterday.
His comments came two days after a special education student at Venable High School was beaten unconscious, and two days after an 8-year-old girl was beaten by five boys outside Patapsco Elementary School, among other recent incidents.
The superintendent admitted schools have been the site of "absolutely horrendous, heinous kinds of acts that turn your stomach, make you sad."
But Amprey also said that "there are many environments in this city that are perfectly safe," and warned parents against panicking and pulling their children out of school.
Amprey said he would meet with principals next week to explore further ways of reducing school violence.