Demonstration in Annapolis on Feb. 9 Larger than Generally Reported

A Chronicle report

A demonstration in behalf of Baltimore City Public School teachers took place in Annapolis on February 9 to show members of the Maryland General Assembly the depth of community concern about the possibility of having to lay off up to 1,200 city school system employees, most of them teachers, to resolve the system's dire financial situation. The demonstration was also designed to spur state legislators to create some form of fiscal rescue operation so that the layoffs could be averted. The Chronicle's reporter, J. Russell Tyldesley, sought to cover the story, but due to circumstances beyond his control could only report the following:
Our bus last evening was stalled by an accident on Rt. 50 and we had just enough time to march to the State House to encounter the rest of the marchers coming back. There were so many people you couldn't get near enough to really hear the speeches. The press reported 6,000 attended, but I think it was at least 8,000, maybe more. Maybe they just counted buses and multiplied by 40 or 50.
Tyldesley's impression of the scope of the demonstration was echoed by a reader, Evan West, who emailed the Chronicle the following message the morning after the event:

"The coverage by the Sun and other big papers has been underwhelming. I'm a teacher in Charles County and was there. The numbers the Sun is reporting are low and based on pre-rally estimates from the state police. The actual numbers are more like 9,500. There were also 50+ buses stuck in traffic on Rt. 50. There were really two shifts of ralliers, as it turned out. One shift came early from places like Garrett County and the Eastern Shore, and the second consisted of those of us from the DC Metro and Baltimore areas, who left later."

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This story was published on February 10, 2004.