Annapolis program aims to bring black role models to school

April 12, 1993|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer

Sometimes the fights start on weekends. Students from different communities challenge one another with an attitude of "they think they're better than we are."

But come Monday, the aftermath of the tension becomes Principal Laura Webb's problem at Annapolis High School.

"We're trying to bridge the gap between community and school," Mrs. Webb said. "For the first time, we're trying to get black men involved with the black male students at the school as role models. We're starting out with visibility, having black males come to the school as role models, and then we're going to try to make leaders out of the students."

The new program, "Concerned Black Males," will be introduced to teachers tomorrow at a workshop. It is the brainstorm of Orlie Reid, a licensed social worker who lives in the area, and about 10 area professionals.

Mrs. Webb said she turned to Mr. Reid for help after several fights involving students who attend her school, because she knew he already was counseling several students at Annapolis High.

"There have been a couple weekends with our students having some problems, but not anything like what happened last year," said Mrs. Webb, referring to a fight that led to the suspension of more than 10 students. "But I now have people in the community who call me over the weekend to tell me when something's happened."

Mr. Reid referred to last year's fight as "the riot" and said that was when he first started talking with students at the school.

"They'd say, 'Those kids think they're better than we are,' that sort of thing," and the fight would start, Mr. Reid said.

In talking with more students at the school this year, Mr. Reid said he quickly realized that role models could help students with proper behavior. And he noted recent community concerns about the number of young black males being suspended or expelled from schools.

"They need someone to be models and mentors, so they can have somebody who's interested in what they're doing," said Mr. Reid, who has a private psychotherapy practice.

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