Yesterday's budget hearings/tax payers night session at Baltimore City Hall was full of plea's, threats, and calls for action from local concerned citizens. Baltimore City Council members and the Budget and Appropriations committee listen to testimony after testimony varying from disagreements about recent Baltimore city school administration and staff layoffs to community open space/recreational needs. The most common plea was for one of Monarch Academy's founding members, Jerelle Bratcher, a recent victim of school budget cut layoffs, and all other's that faced the same fate.
Students stepped up to the podium to ask for these cuts to be reversed. They spoke of how invaluable school administrators were to their overall well-being. Parents and school staff members plead with the Budget and Appropriations committee to not remove such valuable resources from their schools. But all of these calls to action were only met with a promise of consideration and revisit during the next legislative meeting. Is that enough for a city experiencing one of it's highest murder rate surges in more than ten years? Is this the best way to respond to Baltimore city citizens that are truly working to create positive change? These weren't the over-publicized local community and religious leaders trying to gain more media attention for the sake of their cause. For the most part, they were nowhere to be found during this session. The only media darlings at City Hall were the people hearing request from the community. The individuals who offered their testimony yesterday are the real voice of the community and they deserve more than empty promises. They deserve real answers and solutions. Remember, when an angry youth needs to vent, these are the people that answer the call. If there are problems at home, these are the citizens that try to provide comfort to our young people. While the process of deciding who to cut and keep within the city's budget is difficult, there are some components which should never be removed. Yes, ensuring we have funds to effectively police local communities is important, but policing doesn't begin with police officers. It starts at home and with the very people we are cutting from the budget, school administrators. Police officers may enforce the law, but these individuals encourage young people to retain the hope that creates compliance. We owe them more than a promise of consideration. They deserve real solutions.