A candid moment

The Baltimore Sun

You have to hand it to her, the mayor of Baltimore. Sheila Dixon arrives for a speaking engagement at a city high school where a student has been stabbed and finds out the auditorium where she's going to talk is dark. The overhead lights are out, and no one is there to fix them. Does she call out the light bulb brigade? Does she storm off? Does she reschedule? No, she takes the microphone, and with the illumination of some television cameras, quiets the crowd and begins to speak. She tells the students she's there for some "frank conversation" and to talk about what the city and they can do together to make schools safe, help them succeed in the classroom and accomplish their dreams and goals.

The former schoolteacher is in her element here, comfortable enough to complement a student on her appearance and chide another for not shutting off a cell phone. She's quick to reprimand those talking aloud for being disrespectful, but at the same time genuinely sincere in sympathizing with a student's desire to go on school trips and not use raggedy books.

It's a moment in a mayoralty, one of many, but it's an appearance that reinforces this mayor's desire to improve the education of Baltimore's children, advance their opportunities in life - and keep the lights on.

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