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Friday, August 26, 2005

Gory Prince George's: New Suitland Elementary School

There have been numerous press and broadcast reports about the new Suitland Elementary School, located at 4650 Homer Avenue, in the deadliest part of Prince George's County.

Many parents are upset that their children will have to walk to school through a thriving drug market and murder zone.

Most reports have mentioned two facts: there have been six murders in a three block area around the school, and school board policies require students living within a mile and a half to walk to school through this area.

But the press has not fully connected the dots and has failed to report the whole story.

Draw a mile and a half circle around the school. Count the murders within that circle. So far this year, there have been seventeen, not six, murders within the area where children may be required to walk--that's about 15 percent of all the murders in the county.

The very first murder of the year was within two blocks of the school, at about 9:00 in the morning.

  • Why would our unelected, unaccountable school board build and open a new elementary school in such a location?
  • Must some child be abducted or killed before the board stops dithering?
  • The board says it would cost too much to bus students past the murder zone, but the same board is proceeding to build an unnecessary luxury gym in a safer part of the county. Why is a gym more important than the daily safety of our children?
  • How many children will be introduced to drugs or gangs on their way to this school?
  • This school is in Council District 7 (Camille Exum), and in an odd finger of Legislative District 25 (Sen. Ulysses Currie and Delegates Anthony Brown, Derek E. Davis, and Melony Griffith). All four legislators supported abolishing our elected school board and replacing it with the one responsible for this situation. Why hasn't the press published their comments. Many of the students live in Legislative District 24 (Sen. Nathaniel Exum and Delegates Joanne Benson, Carolyn Howard, and Michael Vaughn). To give them some credit, none of those four voted to abolish the elected school board.

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