Police patrolling Arundel high school Glen Burnie principal sought aid for this week

February 04, 1997|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Uniformed police officers roamed the sprawling campus of Glen Burnie High School yesterday, issuing citations and booting out youths who didn't belong there as a warning to students to improve their behavior.

County school officials said they could not recall another case when a group of officers had been brought to a high school to supervise students.

Principal David Hill said yesterday that he asked for police help because of a string of assaults, automobile break-ins and robberies that have beset the school and its 2,058 students since September. School officials called police more than 100 times in the first semester this school year.

"In some way, some of the students have fallen short of our expectations," Hill said.

He said his decision was unrelated to an assault in August in which a student was treated at Maryland Shock Trauma Center after being kicked in the head by several others. The parents of the youth, who withdrew from the school, have sued the school system for $4 million.

Other Anne Arundel high schools have police liaisons, and this week's action is likely to turn into something similar, Hill said.

Hill sent a note to parents Friday telling them that officers would be on the campus this week and warning them that arrests might be made.

Police said the officers issued four citations yesterday, three for possession of tobacco by a minor and one for possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

The six officers, some in plainclothes, will be at the school at least through this week, said Officer Dwayne K. Johnson, who developed the idea of putting officers in schools. After that, the number will be reduced, he said.

Johnson said students who do nothing wrong "have nothing to worry about."

Hill said he did not "want the kids to think it is a police state."

The students thought otherwise. Some made pig-snorting noises at the armed officers. Others said they would try to ignore the police. But that was difficult, as officers questioned students in bathrooms that reeked of smoke.

Junior Joshua Lee Hoffman was among those who got a pink citation. He said he had not gone to the bathroom to smoke but had to answer to a policeman.

Other students worried about the possible damage to their school's image. "It makes us look bad," said senior Charmeda Berkley, a peer counselor.

Pub Date: 2/04/97

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