BERLIN — What had been rumored over the weekend was confirmed yesterday — Republican Donald Trump, front runner for the GOP nomination at this point in the primary season, will be holding a rally at Stephen Decatur High School in Berlin on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Here’s what we know as of mid-day Tuesday:
- According to Worcester County Public Schools Coordinator of Public Relations and Special Programs Carrie N. Sterrs, the Trump campaign initiated contact with the school system last Thursday about holding an event here.
Ocean City Communications Manager Jessica Waters confirmed Tuesday the Town of Ocean City’s Roland E. Powell Convention Center was initially explored as a site but a scheduling conflict with another large event — the Ward World Championship — prevented the facility from hosting the event.
“We were approached last week to host the campaign event at the Convention Center and we tried everything within our means to accommodate the request but unfortunately the facility was booked. Despite our efforts, the Ward Foundation was set to move in tomorrow morning and we could not make arrangements within the available space to accommodate what their campaign was looking for, space wise,” said Waters.
- Many have been openly questioning on social media threads why the presidential candidate would come to this rural area. The answer could be due in part to the fact a Decatur graduate is a member of Trump’s campaign staff, multiple sources have confirmed.
- A tweet from Worcester County Public Schools yesterday read, “It’s a historic moment in our school’s history. Presidential candidate Donald Trump will speak in our gym Wednesday evening.”
- Doors open at 4 p.m. with Trump expected to speak at 7 p.m. All school staff and students have been told to be off premises by 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Tickets to the general public are free and available at the candidate’s website, https://www.donaldjtrump.com/schedule/register/berlin-md/ As of noon, tickets were still available.
After securing tickets, the following message is sent: “General Information: No posters, banners, or signs may be brought into the event. There is no dress code. No professional cameras with a detachable lens are permitted. No tripods, monopods, selfie sticks, or GoPros. ID is not required for entry. For further questions, please email [email protected]”
- An online petition through www.progressivemaryland.org/hatefreemd has been launched. It reads, “We the undersigned agree that a public school is no place for the kinds of hateful and intolerant rhetoric Donald Trump’s campaign promotes. We also agree that bringing Donald Trump’s divisive message to Stephen Decatur fosters an environment of danger and controversy that will disrupt the learning process.
Allowing Trump to use Stephen Decatur High School as a tool to broadcast his divisive message stands against the principles Stephen Decatur High School expects its students, teachers, and staff to adhere to every day.
Sign our petition below to ask that Wednesday’s planned rally with Donald Trump be canceled. Let’s let Donald Trump take his bigoted message elsewhere. Let’s show that that his message is not welcome here.”
As of 11:15 a.m., there have been “311 reactions” on the petition.
- Questions have been raised on why a school would be allowed to be a site for a political rally of this nature and magnitude. It’s worth nothing Stephen Decatur High School specially has hosted numerous candidate forums and private fundraisers over the years and has served as the home for a local church for numerous year Worcester County Public Schools Coordinator of Public Relations and Special Programs Carrie N. Sterrs said the school system has a policy in place to determine what’s permissible
- Early voting opened last Thursday in Maryland and will stay open until Thursday, April 21 in advance of next Tuesday’s primary, April 26.
- From a law enforcement perspective, with large crowds of attendees and media representatives expected to converge on the school, planning is well underway.“We are in the fluid planning stages. We are addressing the traffic concerns and security of the event. We are working with several allied agencies in the area,” said Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Edward C. Schreier.
Ocean City Police spokesperson Lindsay Richard added, “Planning is still on-going for all agencies in the area but as it stands right now we will be providing assistance to Maryland State Police and Worcester County Sheriff’s Office but it will have a very minimal impact on our operations.”