Hundreds of Baltimore City College Students Demonstrate Against School System’s Handling of Sexual Misconduct
Hundreds of students staged a high school outing at Baltimore City College Wednesday morning to protest the public school system’s handling of allegations of sexual misconduct.
Teens from city high schools, including Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Baltimore School for the Arts, joined City College students around 10 a.m. Wednesday morning to walk around the perimeter of the historic campus in the Coldstream Homestead Montebello neighborhood. .
Organizers said the event was organized to support all victims of sexual assault, but added that the protest was also sparked in part by a video posted to Instagram over the weekend.
In the video, a former City College student described a rape allegation against another classmate and criticized the school system and law enforcement for not taking action. The student said she was then transferred to another high school in town to avoid the person who allegedly assaulted her.
The Baltimore Sun generally does not identify victims who allege sexual assault.
In a statement, officials from the Baltimore City school system confirmed they were aware of the allegations about the Baltimore City College student and were opening an investigation, as required by federal anti-discrimination law, for âDetermine what happened in a precise, fair and clear manner. manner.”
The allegations had already been reported to principals and acted upon, system officials said without providing specific details.
“We are also aware that students at the school voice their concerns in various ways,” officials said in the statement. âAs always, we support the rights of our students to advocate for the causes they believe in and we will take appropriate steps to ensure that they do so safely while on school property.â
In an email to the City College community obtained by The Sun, an administrator announced that the school would be laid off Wednesday morning due to high temperatures. The secondary school is one of many buildings in the school system that are regularly dismissed early due to a lack of adequate air conditioning.
In the same email, the administrator acknowledged the plans for the protest and noted that students would not be allowed to enter the building after they left. Classes would remain in session and attendance would be taken accordingly, the email said.
Several Baltimore police officers sat in cars parked near the school entrance Wednesday morning, but stood back from the students as they exited the building.
Many students cited the video as a reason to join the protest. Some carried homemade signs that read âprotect your studentsâ and âwe will not be silencedâ. A teenager noted “no means no !!” with red felt on the palms of his hands.
As some students circulated a megaphone to share their own experiences of sexual harassment and assault, many in the crowd held up their cellphones to record the stories.
âYou should already know how to treat women,â a student shouted into the megaphone, eliciting cheers from the crowd.
City College sophomore Abigail Bates helped organize the protest in support of her friend, who posted the video.
âI thought it was really important to do everything in my power to try to create change,â she said of the urgency of the event.
Classmates didn’t start planning for the walkout until Sunday, but got a big turnout from students within days with the help of social media.
The organizers never expected the turnout, which they described as “overflowing with love”.
Students at City College say they are working on developing a list of demands for the school system. Their protest is the latest in a wave of student activism seen across the region since the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020. Students are increasingly turning to social media as a grassroots organizing tool.