County Council bill would restrict picketing near schools

A Baltimore County Councilman is seeking to restrict protesters from picketing outside of schools at certain times, saying it's a matter of protecting children's safety.

Councilman Todd Huff introduced legislation Monday that would create a buffer zone of 300 feet outside school entrances where people could not picket while school is in session or within one hour before or after school. The measure would apply to both public and private schools.

Violators would face up to a $1,000 fee, imprisonment of up to 90 days, or both.

Huff, a Republican who represents the northern part of the county, said the bill was not in response to any particular incident at county schools, but is meant to create "another layer of protecting our kids."

The bill states that picketing at schools "causes emotional disturbance, distress and potential trauma to both children attending the school and to their parents, disrupts traffic, incites children to leave school grounds, and endangers the safety of students and those who may transport them to and from school."

The council plans to discuss the bill at a work session in April.

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