BOE Chair Segun C. Eubanks Cuts Off Burroughs in PGCPS Board of Education Meeting

“That can be a one way street but it wont be a one way street for long” threats from Eubanks to Mr. Burroughs after “conflicts of interests” are cited by Mr. Burroughs concerning Mr. Rushern L. Baker III, who is County Executive for Prince George’s County and brother in law to Mr. Eubanks.

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Prince George’s County school board chairman Segun Eubanks (Brother in Law to Rushern Baker III)

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Mr. Rushern L. Baker III, County Executive for Prince George’s County is the brother in law to Mr. Segun Eubanks . 

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BOE Chair Segun C. Eubanks Cuts Off Burroughs in PGCPS Board of Education Meeting

“That can be a one way street but it wont be a one way street for long” threats from Eubanks to Mr. Burroughs after “conflicts of interests” are cited by Mr. Burroughs concerning Mr. Rushern L. Baker III, who is County Executive for Prince George’s County and brother in law to Mr. Eubanks.

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Prince George’s County school board chairman Segun Eubanks (Brother in Law to Rushern Baker III)

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Mr. Rushern L. Baker III, County Executive for Prince George’s County is the brother in law to Mr. Segun Eubanks . 

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“PGCPS CEO Dr. Maxwell Should Resign” Due to Mismanagement of PGCPS Schools

A PGCPS parent recently called on the PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell to resign due to myriad of issues.

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MILESTONE BACKS OUT OF CELL TOWERS AT ELEANOR ROOSEVELT HS, ACCOKEEK ACADEMY AFTER PRESSURE

ERHS_SignGREENBELT – Milestone Communications has backed out of two contentious cell phone tower proposals on school sites in Prince George’s County after fierce opposition from residents.

While there was opposition, it was not just the voices of residents that forced the company to withdraw both applications, but guidelines, rules and regulations that ultimately will prevent Milestone from moving forward with the two proposed sites on Prince George’s County Public Schools’ (PGCPS) land.

“Milestone has withdrawn its application for Accokeek due to the school’s conversion to a K-8. PGCPS policies do not permit telecommunications facilities on elementary school sites,” said Raven Hill, a school system spokesperson.

In the case of the proposed tower at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, issues of transparency and due notice have arisen continuously throughout the process, noted Lupi Quinteros-Grady, the school board member who represents the area.

“The process followed by Milestone Communications has shown a lack of respect for community engagement and a complete dismissal of community concerns. The very location of one meeting showed a clear insensitivity to the community’s views,” Quinteros-Grady wrote in a letter to the chief executive officer (CEO) of PGCPS, encouraging him to reject the tower’s application.

“Milestone’s decision to host a meeting outside of the high school and city of Greenbelt limited local participation by design. There was no prior notification to me or the board of education, which prohibited my own participation since the meeting was scheduled the same night as a board meeting.”

Quinteros-Grady also received more than 40 emails with complaints from residents of her district that were vehemently opposed to the tower proposal, as well as from teachers at the high school.

“The frustrations on my end were the transparency around and how things were being done and communicated,” she said, explaining that even as a board member she had difficulty getting answers and planning meetings with Milestone. “And that was what I was communicating in reaching out to the administration.”

However, the board member noted that the board of education cannot vote on proposed tower sites due to the contract PGCPS signed with Milestone that predates most of the board members and the current school administration.

Greenbelt residents showed up in force to a meeting, held outside city limits, about the tower and spent nearly two hours accosting Milestone staff, claiming that the company did not care about black lives or human health.

One of those residents was Dasan Bobo, who said he opposed the tower, which would have been built less than 300 feet from his home, because of the possible health concerns associated with the type of radiation the cellphone tower emits.

“It’s unacceptable,” he said after the meeting in late April, explaining that he would not subject his family to the health hazards a tower brings. “They’re literally pushing me off my land and forcing me to go somewhere else.”

Quinteros-Grady’s letter, in addition to numerous complaints from residents, convinced the school’s CEO Kevin Maxwell to send a letter to Milestone Communications echoing the boardmember’s complaints and opposing the tower.

Milestone Communications did not answer numerous calls to their office and did not return requests for comment.

For Mary Goldsmith, an Accokeek resident, the news of the tower not moving forward at Accokeek Academy brought relief. She said she opposed the proposal from the beginning because she felt the tower would be a violation of safety.

“Although there are no known issues, why should we be willing to take a risk, especially on the grounds of the schools that are supposed to educate and protect our children in our absence,” she said. “Secondly, the health concerns have mixed reports, however, if there is any chance that any amount or any form of radiation is given off, there should be more than enough reason to back off. “

Goldsmith continues to question the contract that PGCPS has with Milestone to allow cell phone towers on certain school properties and the message she believes that contract sends to students.

She said she feels the school system is putting “dollar signs” before the health and wellness of students.

“Aren’t our children and their futures bright enough and worth more than dollar signs,” she asked.

Still, Goldsmith heralded the withdrawn proposals as a victory for residents, though she believes it is just the starting point for Prince George’s County.

“I think it really starts an open dialogue on what the residents find important. It shows our elected officials that you represent us, and when you go against that, you are not fulfilling your obligations and oath,” she said. “I and many are definitely not going to let this fire burn out. There are several issues facing our communities and we intend to lessen and stop the blows, especially for our youth and elders. I am excited about this victory; however, I am very realistic that this is far from the end. I know this is only the beginning, for this and similar obstacles.”

Bobo and other Greenbelt residents shared a similar message when they came out to the May 11 board of education meeting. They voiced thanks for Quinteros-Grady and Maxwell’s letters, saying they are glad the tower is not moving forward, but they also brought a new message with them: residents want to see this contract with Milestone rescinded.

“I call for the cancellation of this contract that has no place in our community and education system,” Bobo said. “Thanks again for the actions you have taken thus far, but I want to challenge you to go further and reanalyze the need for this no-bid contract with Milestone Communications.”

Goldsmith shared similar views.

“Without a doubt I feel that this decision from the beginning was unethical and money driven, so it should be eliminated and reversed for those schools already impacted,” she said.

And Quinteros-Grady said the board is listening to those ideas.

“I think that there is an interest there to explore the conversation and I don’t think that this is going to go away,” she said. “I think transparency is really what matters, too.”

Via Sentinel

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Health Effects
The microwaves from cell phone towers can interfere with your body’s own EMFs, causing a variety of potential health problems, including:
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Cancer >>> Read more

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DuVal High school parents voice their concerns during a meeting in PGCPS

DuVal High school parents voice their concerns during a meeting about issues involving students;C_5ws-ZUIAEqw3n

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PGCPS board members working on plan to address spike in reported misconduct cases

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Prince George’s school board members working on plan to address spike in reported misconduct cases

– Some Prince George’s County school board members are meeting with employee union leaders to create a plan on how to address the huge number of staff members accused of abuse and misconduct.

FOX 5 uncovered there have been nearly 800 cases of abuse and misconduct so far this school year after new policies and procedures were put in place to address major cases of child abuse. In the majority of cases, staff members are put on administrative leave. Some feel it has reached a breaking point with so many teachers pulled from their classrooms, sometimes for months.

“It’s definitely an overreaction when we have hundreds of innocent people we have placed out on administrative leave,” said school board member Ed Burroughs. “And I’m not confident they are all going to come back to Prince George’s County Schools.”

He and board member Raaheela Ahmed said they met this week with union representatives.

“It was productive, and I feel like those are the types of collaborations and conversations we need to have to address this massive issue,” said Ahmed. “Because it is a massive issue that is affecting not only those teachers, those professionals, those staff members that are out of our schools right now, but the students that work with them.”

“There needs to be a plan,” said Burroughs. “Currently, the superintendent doesn’t have a plan to fix this for next year.”

Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell answered questions about the issue for the first time Thursday. He said he is looking at “adjustments” to current practices and procedures, but did not provide specifics.

“The standards for how we conduct ourselves professionally will not change,” Maxwell said.

He said that he has heard plenty of praise despite his critics.

“I’ll tell you that I get just as many or more people coming up and saying, ‘Thanks for what you’re doing. Thanks for keeping our children safe,’” Maxwell said.

He said there are 128 teachers currently on leave.

FOX 5 has spoken to multiple staff members about the issue.

“I think it’s a situation where people are trying to do the right thing, but doing it in a very poor way,” one teacher said.

She said students are being hurt because their teachers are out, and substitutes and remaining staff have too much to handle.

“(Students) are getting pushed to the next grade level and they may have gone six or ten months without a reading teacher or a math teacher. This is really serious lack of education,” she said.

She and other teachers FOX 5 spoke to said staff members are fearful to have any type of physical contact with students, even if a child needs help. She said she was called by students into a class to help break up an altercation.

“The teacher was standing there separate from them saying, ‘Please stop, please stop, please stop,’” she said. “And the one student just had the other student by the neck. And so I stepped in, and I removed her hands from the child’s neck. And the teacher came to me later and she said, ‘Well, what are we supposed to do in that situation? I thought we’re not supposed to touch the kids?’ And for me, I’m willing to lose my job to make sure that a kid doesn’t get hurt.”

A former D.C. police officer who was a longtime substitute was among those accused of abuse and then cleared. Melody Rich-Neal said she won’t return to the school district because she can’t risk being accused again.

“You walk in with a clear record, and then you walk out fighting for your life,” Rich-Neal said.

She and other Prince George’s County Public Schools staff members tell FOX 5 that some students are fully aware they can get rid of staff they don’t like, at least temporarily.

“They know. ‘Oh shoot, all I got to do is say this and she’ll be gone.’ And they’re right,” she said.

Via Fox 5

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Born and raised in Bowie, Md., Raheela Ahmed (seen), said they met this week with union representatives.
“It was productive, and I feel like those are the types of collaborations and conversations we need to have to address this massive issue,” said Ahmed. “Because it is a massive issue that is affecting not only those teachers, those professionals, those staff members that are out of our schools right now, but the students that work with them.”

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“There needs to be a plan,” said Board member Edwards Burroughs (Seen here). “Currently, the superintendent doesn’t have a plan to fix this for next year.” (See Edwards Burroughs interview here on Fox5)

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EXCLUSIVE: PGCPS CEO responds to 788 abuse and misconduct cases in district

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– For the first time, the head of Prince George’s County Public Schools is talking about the hundreds of cases of alleged abuse and misconduct by school staff.

FOX 5 was first to uncover that there have been nearly 800 abuse and misconduct cases so far this school year. Some staff members say new policies put in place after high-profile abuse cases are an overreaction and good teachers are being unnecessarily pulled from their classrooms – sometimes for months while under investigation.

For more than a month, FOX 5 has made repeated requests for an interview with Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell. On Thursday, we caught up with him at a school board meeting for an unscheduled interview.

“I’m not going to say that we don’t have some over reporting that is going on,” Maxwell said. “But I think you have to take that in the context of we have had some very serious things done to our children and they are absolutely unacceptable and we will never, ever tell our employees not to report things that they think are child abuse.”

We asked Maxwell if he thought current policies on abuse were strong.

“I think the board policies are fine,” Maxwell said. “I think we need to make some adjustments and some of our procedures that we are operating under and make clear. We have made some adjustments in our practices.”

“Are we going to see a repeat of this next year?” Watts asked.

“Absolutely not,” Maxwell replied. “We are already not seeing a repeat of what we saw at the beginning of the year or at the end of last year. We are already much improved.”

FOX 5 opened records requests in March and again in April that showed abuse and misconduct cases jumped from 636 to 788.

“When you want to mix apples and oranges and you want to throw in the conduct in those kinds of things as opposed to abuse, we have to be careful which category we are talking about,” Maxwell said. “Are we saying that we should just ignore misconduct? I don’t think we want to go there. I think we want to make sure that we keep our children safe and do what we think is appropriate and expect our people to be professional in that.”

When Maxwell was pressed on the issue, he attempted to end the interview with us. We then asked why there would be any change next year if procedures and reporting standards remained the same.

“The standards for how we conduct ourselves professionally will not change,” he said. “If someone believes, if you believe that a child has been abused, you should report that to child protective services. We are mandatory reporters under state law. I will never tell an employee in Prince George’s County that if they believe a child has been abused, that they should not report that, and so that standard will be there because it is the law.”

He also said, “I have already that our numbers are down and they will continue to go down.”

Maxwell then walked away from our cameras.

Teachers told FOX 5 it is now to the point that if they a touch a child for any reason, they run the risk of being put on leave, and that students know they can make up allegations to get rid of teachers. In a majority of these cases, the accused staff members are sent home on paid leave. The head of the teachers union brought up the issue at Thursday’s board meeting.

“The morale is low,” said Theresa Dudley, president of Prince Georges County Educators’ Association. “When teachers can leave here for surrounding jurisdiction where they don’t fear for their job for an accusation that is not true.”

Dr. Maxwell had this to say about low staff morale.

“I have heard a little bit about morale, but I can tell you I have been a lot of different places, and you heard me talk about a few of them in the board meeting tonight,” he said. “And I will tell you that just as many people are coming up and saying, ‘I like what you’re doing. Thanks for keeping our children safe.'”

He said it is unclear if the number of teachers who have been put on leave is impacting students, emphasizing that there are 128 teachers currently on leave. The majority of those accused over the course school year have been returned to work.

“We are not seeing big declines in our (student) promotion rates, we are not seeing big declines in pass rates,” Maxwell said.

FOX 5 will continue to follow this story. You can reach reporter Lindsay Watts at lindsay.watts@foxtv.com

Via Fox 5 

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