Assaulted teachers aren't pressing charges
Interesting letter to the editor in The Sun today by Baltimore state's attorney Patricia Jessamy. In response to the highly publicized attack of Jolita Berry at Reginald F. Lewis High a few weeks ago, Jessamy began investigating the issue of teacher assaults in city schools. She was surprised by the statistic that the school system has expelled students 112 times this academic year for assaults on staff, since very few cases have resulted in criminal prosecution.
Under Maryland law, Jessamy writes, "if a second-degree assault occurs outside a police officer's view, it is up to the victim to file a citizen's complaint or charges against the perpetrator, depending on his or her age, either with a judicial commissioner or with the Department of Juvenile Services." Since most teacher assaults are not witnessed by a school police officer, it's up to the teacher to navigate the juvenile justice or criminal justice system to file charges. And most teachers who are victims don't. Some have told prosecutors their schools discourage them from filing charges, or they are worried about the time and energy a court case would require, Jessamy's letter says.
As of today, Jessamy's office has no record of Jolita Berry coming forward to press charges against the girl who allegedly assaulted her.
UPDATE, 4:15 p.m.: I've just learned that Berry filed charges today.