Marisa Moschelle was one of the 40 Bayview residents who filled the Southeastern District police station Tuesday night to discuss safety measures for the community eight days after the shooting death of 16-year-old Izaiah Carter in a public park.
“There’s been several incidents where schools have had to go on lockdown this year. So to say, now we’re going to react and put support in place, they should’ve been in place. ... We need stop this reactive approach,” she said.
Many of the students Moschelle works with at Clay Hill Public Charter School will end up studying at Patterson High School, where Carter was a student.
“And I want them to be able to live to graduate high school and beyond,” she said.
On March 6, Carter was found in Joseph E. Lee Park during school hours suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
His killer has not yet been identified, officials said Tuesday night.
During the meeting, Councilman Zeke Cohen, who represents the Bayview area, said $500,000 will be allocated to renovate and reopen the rec center at the park and provide additional resources, such as mediation led by local activist Erricka Bridgeford, mental health programs, and a carpentry apprenticeship for students.
The councilman attributed some student conflicts to a rift among racial groups in Patterson.
“And then that conflict has been ongoing and brewing for basically the whole year,” he said. “Community mediation comes in, and they work with people and try to squash whatever the conflict is, trying to get to the root of it, and try to avoid what we saw last week with bloodshed.”
Carter’s mother, Michelle Hines, said in a previous interview with The Baltimore Banner that she feared retaliation against Izaiah. Following a January meeting in response to an alleged brawl in the school cafeteria involving 23 students, she didn’t feel the school was doing enough to enhance security, she said.
Maj. Keira Saunders said Tuesday night that police brought additional officers to the high school and increased communication with administrators after another student was stabbed in February. There are about 1,294 students enrolled at Patterson, and two safety resource officers are assigned to the high school.
Cohen said another group, Mental Health First Aid, will teach staff, students and community members how to recognize when someone is struggling with mental health issues. And the apprenticeship program will help students who aren’t bound for college develop a career plan after they graduate.
“One thing that I feel really strongly about both for Patterson, but really, for all of our high schools is that they have vocational opportunities where kids can graduate from high school and then go into a career in a trade,” he said.
Some residents complained about the the lack of lighting in the park and said there aren’t enough police officers in the area. Even though the park technically closes at dusk, Anna Islas said, she can still hear many children and families in the area after dark.
“Sometimes, I’ve come home late from work and I can hear the kids playing. I want them to be safe and aware of their surroundings,” she said.
The renovated rec center, which is slated to open in July, would include better lighting, Cohen said.
Since Carter’s death, the Bayview community has seen an increased police presence, particularly at area schools.
But Saunders told attendees she couldn’t share much about the investigation.
“As far as the case goes, and I know you guys hate hearing this and I get it, but there’s certain things we have to keep close to the vest while investigating, especially because a juvenile is involved,” she said.