DA visits Baldi, discusses how to prevent school shootings

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner visits C.C.A. Baldi Middle School to discuss a wide variety of issues.

JOHN COLE/ TIMES PHOTO

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner on Feb. 26 spent his morning at C.C.A. Baldi Middle School in Bustleton, fielding questions from multiple classrooms regarding the duties of district attorney, his position on cash bail for low-level offenses, how to curtail gun violence and prevent school shootings, along with other various topics.

Krasner’s visit comes just over a month after Mayor Kenney’s visit to Baldi Middle School.

Mary Salamone has been a teacher in the School District of Philadelphia for approximately 27 years, the last 10 spent at Baldi. She has started an initiative at Baldi called, “From Kid to Career,” in which she invites “successful community members to the classroom to talk about their careers and how they achieved their goals”.

Salamone had previously known Kenney from her days teaching at Gilbert Spruance Elementary School in Castor Gardens, but thought Krasner would be a guest worth hosting to learn about his career.

Baldi is the biggest “true middle school” in the school district, with 1,440 students enrolled, averaging approximately 470 students per grade. With this number of students comes a very diverse population.

Krasner went on to visit classrooms from multiple grades, but spent the most time speaking in the library with eighth-grade students in a circle.

The approximate half-hour spent in the library brought about a wide range of topics, but students seemed to be most interested in his position on gun control.

When asked, Krasner stated, “I think, frankly, that our country has been kidnapped by the National Rifle Association and by people who have taken the Second Amendment and they have stretched it far beyond what it really means.”

He added that there are certain laws, such as enforcing a regulation to report a stolen firearm within 48 hours, that could be avenues to pursue curtailing gun violence.

In the wake of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that resulted in 17 deaths, students inquired about Krasner’s position on how to prevent school shootings from continuing to occur.

He does not believe this is an easy fix, but addressed some of the dialogue circulating around the country and his position on this issue.

“I am not a fan of teachers walking around with guns in a school environment,” Krasner said. “I think that there may be a role for law enforcement professionals who are specialists in security.”

Krasner used a woman on his security detail as an example of someone who is trained to handle that type of crisis as opposed to arming teachers.

“She places all of us in a much safer position than if there is a gun in a drawer of a desk where some student might get it.”

Krasner was impressed by the questions given to him by that specific group. ••

John Cole can be reached at JCole@bsmphilly.com