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Department of Education Releases School Arrest Report

handcuffs-2102488__480-300x169The Maryland State Department of Education keeps detailed records of all school related arrests, and since the 2015-2016 academic school year has released an annual report with detailed data from all 24 state jurisdictions.  The reports covers arrests made on school grounds or during off-campus school activities such as sporting events and performances.  It also includes arrests made for an incident that may have occurred on a school bus or other school sponsored transportation.  Most of the individuals involved in these incidents are juveniles, which means they can technically be arrested without being handcuffed and taken away.  The data includes both physical arrests where the student is actually taken away in cuffs, and paper arrests where an officer initiates a referral or request for charges to the Department of Juvenile Services.  Some of the main takeaways from the report are that overall school arrests declined significantly, and that School Resource Officers in Wicomico County are not shy about using their arrest powers.

Last school year there were 1,568 school arrests effectuated compared to 2,187 in the 2021-2022 academic year.  This represents a significant decline, especially when factoring in that school attendance was likely up as things began to return to normal following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.  While the results of the annual report are informative, they must be taken with a grain of salt due to the fact that arrests are within the discretion of the SRO.  For example, a fight in a Howard County school may commonly result in internal discipline of the students involved, while the same fight at a Wicomico County school seems to commonly end in an arrest.  In fact, there were 72 students arrested in Wicomico County schools for fighting last school year, which is almost three times more than the 26 total arrests in Baltimore City Public Schools.  Wicomico County reported 204 total arrests in the 2022-2023 academic school year, followed by 175 in St. Mary’s County.  Calvert County reported 168 arrests, which means the top three counties in arrests are also some of the smallest by total enrollment.  Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Harford County and Washington County were the only other school districts that reported triple digit student arrests last year.  Queen Anne’s County was the only jurisdiction with zero arrests, and Kent, Allegany and Garrett counties had single digit arrests.

Fighting was by far the most common reason for student arrests during the academic year, and these students were likely charged with assault in the first or second degree or affray, which means participating in a fight or disturbance.  There were 222 drug related arrests last year in schools and 28 firearm arrests.  120 students were arrested for possessing other types of weapons and 18 for false bomb threats.  Other crimes with more than a handful of arrests include destruction of property, theft, and trespassing.  Most of the students charged will likely be able to have their cases resolved at intake, though the more serious offenses such as firearm possession, sexual assault and first-degree assault will end up with juvenile delinquency petitions being filed.  If your child has been arrested or charged with a criminal offense anywhere in the state, contact Maryland juvenile crimes attorney Benjamin Herbst anytime for a free consultation.  Benjamin specializes in defending assault charges, CDS drug offenses and firearm offenses for juveniles and adults of all ages.  He has successfully handled numerous school firearm offenses and all other delinquency petitions such as detention hearings.  Benjamin also appears at intake hearings where cases can be closed prior to being filed in court.  He is available 7 days a week at 410-207-2598 and offers flexible payment plans in all cases.


Wicomico County Reports Most Student Arrests in Maryland, Fewest in Queen Anne’s,

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