Classrooms in Maryland’s juvenile facilities to get more technology
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.