Week In Review

September 09, 2007

Anne Arundel

Idea of smaller schools studied

The five-minute scramble between class periods at sprawling Glen Burnie High School leaves little time to socialize or even make a pit stop at lockers or the restroom.

And some students have to make this mad dash between as many as six buildings in a day on the 373,000-square-foot campus.

"When classes change in our high schools, it's complete chaos, like an airport terminal," said Alex Szachnowicz, facilities director for Anne Arundel County schools. "Students don't have time to talk to their teachers or talk to each other [and] build relationships."

Bolstered by emerging research that suggests smaller schools boost academic performance, improve graduation rates and curb truancy and other disruptive behavior, Anne Arundel County school officials are considering ways to make high schools feel smaller.

It is the district's first comprehensive look at high school design since the mid-1970s.

In the future, Anne Arundel high schools will have students organized in buildings according to grade, so freshmen will find all their classes in the same hallway or section of the school and will be taught by a familiar team of teachers.

Anne Arundel section, Friday

Anne Arundel

Bill would allow police to moonlight

The Anne Arundel County Council passed a bill Tuesday night allowing uniformed police officers to moonlight as security guards in bingo parlors and some establishments that serve alcohol, despite repeated warnings from the county ethics commission that such an exception could create conflicts of interest.

The bill, approved 6-0, was introduced at the request of County Executive John R. Leopold after a veteran officer sued to block a ban instituted by police Chief James Teare Sr. Members of the ethics commission called such second jobs an "outsourcing" of police work and said officers could be faced with an "enhanced potential" for conflicts of interest between the businesses that employ them and protecting public safety.

The county Police Department has oversight of liquor licenses and gambling. The bill would allow officers to work in restaurants and bowling alleys, but not in bars or taverns where alcohol is the primary business.

Council Chairman Ronald C. Dillon Jr. said secondary employment opportunities and take-home car programs give taxpayers "more bang for their buck," particularly given police staffing woes. Other council members questioned the commission's logic.

Maryland section, Wednesday

Anne Arundel

Man to serve 2 months in killing

A Glen Burnie man who pleaded guilty Wednesday to fatally shooting a neighbor in what might have been a botched drug deal and robbery will be out of jail in less than two months. The one-year sentence given to Ronald Francis Dawson II, 23, dates to Dec. 4, shortly after he was arrested in New York. He is expected to get time off for good behavior, then will be on probation for five years.

Relatives of the victim, Taveon Jawon "T.J." Watson, 18, were upset with defense lawyer Peter S. O'Neill's characterization that Watson "brought this tragedy upon himself" by arranging to rob Dawson.

Watson's family described him as a good-natured youth who loved sports, video games and animals, and died before the birth of his daughter, now 5 months old.

"To sit here and accept this plea is kind of crazy to me, but you know," said Londa Sanders, Watson's mother, "I guess this is justice."

Maryland section, Thursday

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