More than four weeks have gone by since County Democrats reached out to County Executive Steve Schuh on Nov. 16 for help with an incident of bullying at Southern High School in Harwood by a group calling itself “Confederate Lives Matter.” After a week went by with no response, the group resent the letter and was told by Schuh’s Chief of Staff, that an answer to the letter would come within a week. Since then, there has been no response from the County Executive’s office.
Schuh launched an initiative on September 9 called Anne Arundel United in cooperation with County Council member Pete Smith, who had originally called for a State of Emergency to combat hate crimes in the county after several hate incidents including the murder of Richard Collins, a black man, by a Severna Park resident with ties to white supremacist groups.
The Arundel Patriot reported on Monday that about the same time in the first week of Sept. while Schuh was launching Arundel United, he gave money to extremist Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and attended a fundraising party for Moore in Severna Park. Schuh was shown in two photographs from the party; one with his arm around Roy Moore, another bowing his head with others in what appears to be prayer. Councilman Michael Peroutka, himself a long-time member of a white supremacist and hate group, League of the South, was also at the Party with Schuh and other county Republicans including Sen. Ed Reilly from District 33.
Below is the text of the letter sent to Schuh’s office on Nov. 16:
A letter to County Executive Steve Schuh
Dear Mr. Schuh,
There have now been two incidents inspired by hate at Anne Arundel County schools in recent months – the noose hung at Crofton Middle School in May, and comments recently posted by Southern High School students aimed at a transgender student, using the phrase “Confederate Lives Matter”.
Your Executive Order 23 and formation of Anne Arundel United were useful ways of drawing attention to the issues of hatred and prejudice in our communities, but it is clear that a greater sense of urgency is called for. After the noose incident, Councilman Pete Smith called for a State of Emergency on race relations and recommended forming a task force to identify actions that could be taken to reduce cases of racial bias and prejudice.
We think it is time to reconsider Councilman Smith’s recommendation – but make it broader, to cover not only issues of racial hatred, but also of religion, ethnicity and sexual identification. It’s bad enough when racist statements and actions take place among adults in places they work and play, but when it happens to our children in our schools, we have a major problem.
This is indeed a state of emergency. We call for the County to engage now with school officials, teachers, community leaders, and representatives of disadvantaged groups, to come up with specific actions we can all take to make our schools and communities safer for everyone from hate-based crime, including bullying.
Thanking you in advance for your support on moving forward with this urgent request to protect our students.
Christine Davenport, Chair, Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee
Authorized by Robert Haynes, Treasurer, Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee
Calls were made by Patriot Staff to both Schuh and Councilman Smith. Neither returned calls or made comment by post time.
Yasemin Jamison is a writer and activist from Anne Arundel County.
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