Class­rooms in Mary­land’s ju­ve­nile fa­cil­i­ties to get more tech­nol­ogy

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND -

Mary­land’s ju­ve­nile fa­cil­i­ties will see an in­crease in tech­nol­ogy in class­rooms as part of an on­go­ing ef­fort to im­prove the long-be­lea­guered ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem for young of­fend­ers. The Mary­land State Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion an­nounced this week that 300 tablet de­vices will be avail­able to youths de­tained in the state’s 13 ju­ve­nile fa­cil­i­ties. Of­fi­cials say the new equip­ment will help pro­vide “en­hanced in­struc­tion” and boost stu­dent en­gage­ment. “By im­prov­ing stu­dent ac­cess to state-of-the-art re­sources, we can ac­cel­er­ate stu­dent achieve­ment and pre­pare stu­dents for a suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion to their com­mu­nity,” Mary­land Schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Karen Sal­mon said in a re­lease. State of­fi­cials said staff from Tal­bot County’s pub­lic schools trained ju­ve­nile ser­vices teach­ers how to use apps on the de­vices for ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams and group lessons, the re­lease said. The an­nounce­ment comes amid a mul­ti­year ef­fort to over­haul the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem for the state’s ju­ve­nile of­fend­ers, who are en­ti­tled by law to re­ceive the same ed­u­ca­tion as their peers in pub­lic schools. In De­cem­ber, a Bal­ti­more Sun in­ves­ti­ga­tion de­tailed a decade of fail­ure by the state ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment to teach youths who cy­cled through the ju­ve­nile jus­tice sys­tem. An­thony Batts moved in 2013 to equip the en­tire 2,900-mem­ber po­lice force with Tasers, an in­crease from the 400 Tasers in cir­cu­la­tion in 2012. The ini­tial con­tract was for $1.5 mil­lion. The lat­est pay­ment to Taser ex­tends the city’s deal with the com­pany un­til Oct. 29, 2017. In April, an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by The Bal­ti­more Sun found that Bal­ti­more po­lice of­fi­cers ex­ceeded widely ac­cepted safety lim­its for Tasers more than any other force in Mary­land, and in nearly all cases fired the weapon at sus­pects who were not com­ply­ing with po­lice or­ders but did not pose a threat. Pro­po­nents of Tasers credit the stun guns with sav­ing lives be­cause of­fi­cers can avoid us­ing lethal firearms.

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