Monthly Archives: April 2019

Maryland middle school cancels play but now says the show might go on

7ZIZUIVIHII6NOSZU7MTCZOG2QBy Donna St. George

For months, students at Hyattsville Middle School in Maryland practiced for their spring musical. They recited lines, learned songs and imagined the world of the spelling bee contestants who were at the heart of their show.

Then, just before spring break, performances of the “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” were canceled with little explanation — setting off a wave of concern and criticism from parents who questioned whether the decision was related to gay characters in the musical.

“This is Hyattsville, Maryland, in 2019, and I can’t believe that is a reason,” said Elizabeth Tornquist, whose daughter was rehearsing for the show in the Prince George’s County school.

By Tuesday evening, school officials had agreed to revisit the issue, saying they would look into whether it would suffice to simply let people know the show was for more mature audiences so that they could decide whether to bring younger children.

School officials also said they would go back to the licensing agent for the Broadway hit to ask again about modifying language they said contributed to a decision that the musical was not appropriate for middle school.

None of the changes being requested involve eliminating the gay characters, they said, despite chatter on social media.

“I know that there was a rumor and a concern, but we’re not seeking to remove gay characters, nor was the play canceled because of gay characters,” schools spokeswoman Raven Hill said.

Parents gathered at Hyattsville Middle for a meeting Tuesday, demanding answers for the abrupt cancellation. A small group protested before the meeting, bearing signs with messages that included, “The Show Must Go On!” and “Three Months of Work For Nothing?”

Robert Kapler, whose 13-year-old daughter was involved in the musical as part of the school’s creative and performing arts program, said he was dismayed to hear of the show being halted so close to curtain time.

“She would wake up and practice,” he said. “She practiced after school, and she practiced at night. She practiced her singing. She practiced her dancing. She practiced her lines.”

“My main concern is that they’re shutting down something that should have been allowed to go forward because they put so much work into it,” he said.

The issue hit a nerve in Hyattsville, a community that many say prides itself on being diverse, welcoming and LGBTQ-friendly.

School officials sent a letter to parents in mid-April, abruptly canceling a show not long from opening.

“Unfortunately we have decided to cancel the Spring Musical dates of May 2nd, 3rd and 4th,” the letter said, adding that a parent meeting would be held Tuesday to answer “any of your questions, comments or concerns.”

Some parents complained that they went through spring break without knowing why the show was being stopped.

Justine Christianson, president of the school’s PTSO, said she had received an email Tuesday morning from Monica Goldson, interim chief executive of the Prince George’s school system, saying the cancellation came after teachers expressed concerns about “the extended use of profanity” in the musical.

That email said the play’s content had been reviewed by school officials who decided to cancel the play because copyright laws did not permit a change in language.

“It was then deemed more appropriate for high school and not middle school,” the message from Goldson said. It added that school system officials would create a process for approval of plays before students begin practicing “to ensure this does not happen again.”

At the parent meeting Tuesday, school officials mentioned a number of concerns — with racial humor, sexual innuendo and what one described as some “cuss words.”

Parents pressed to know more about when and how concerns had arisen — and where the process had gone wrong.

“This play is two weeks out. . . . I find it completely unacceptable,” one mother said.

The decision to revisit the issue came after a student who was at the gathering suggested the disclaimer about more mature content, so families could decide if the show was suitable for the very young.

A school board member, Pamela Boozer-Strother, who represents the area and attended the meeting, supported the disclaimer.

“It was something that had been on my mind,” she said later. “I was glad the student asked it, and she was able to take us in a new direction of a solution that may be possible.”

The school system said it would report back within two days about whether the show will go on, Boozer-Strother said.

“I don’t think the reasons for all of this were made very clear, but I am glad there is a way forward and that the students don’t feel all of their hard work was for nothing,” Christianson said.

Karl Kippola, a professor and director of the theater and musical theater program at American University in Washington, directed a campus production of the musical. He called it a “lovely” show — lighthearted and irreverent but also moving as it depicts the struggles of young spelling bee contestants.

He said one contestant’s gay parents appear briefly, and there are a couple of instances of mild profanity “but not anything that people have not heard in school before.”

Jesus is invoked in an exclamation, he said — which leads to the appearance of an actor dressed as Jesus, who gives the speller advice.

“The idea that people would be offended by it, that seems to be a little bit of a stretch,” he said. He said he could not call it a safe, traditional pick for a middle school but could see how students would find it fun to work on.

“It would be something they could relate to much more personally and directly,” he said. “Above all, the musical is funny and it makes the problems accessible but not overwhelming.”

He added: “People who are looking to be offended can find something offensive in it, but I think you can do that with most musicals.”

Via Washington Post 

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Family demands answers after 9-year-old PGCPS girl defends herself in altercation against boys

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By Mikea Turner

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — A family in Prince George’s County is demanding answers after a nine-year-old girl was caught on camera defending herself against a group of boys at her bus stop.

A camera mounted on Ailea Arrington’s home captured disturbing video that sparked outrage last week when a family member posted the April 5 incident online.

The video shows Arrington, a fourth-grader at Barack Obama Elementary School, throwing and taking hits from a boy who also rides the bus.

She tells WUSA9 she was involved in a couple of altercations with one boy on the bus before it stopped at her bus stop, which is less than five minutes away.

“I had to defend myself,” said Arrington.

The altercation that started on the bus ended on the sidewalk in front of her home, but it was not a one-on-one fight. Arrington said a few boys got off the bus to help their friend. Before she knew it, she was surrounded by a group of boys. Arrington said the bus driver got off and told everyone to stop, but they didn’t.

“I’m just angry, I’m very angry,” Bonnie Scott, Arrington’s grandmother, said. “My baby could have hit her head on that concrete and couldn’t get back up, then what?”

“It’s not just about Ailea, it’s about all kids,” Scott said. “What do we do to protect the babies on the bus and when they get off the bus?”

Scott was home at the time, but was asleep after suffering from an injury the day before. She learned what happened after a parent close by helped Arrington get home. Now, Scott meets her at the bus stop every day and takes her to school.

“I checked her and she said they pulled her hair and her head was hurting a little bit, so I greased her scalp and just held her,” Scott said.

She said Arrington cried for hours.

It’s not clear what the initial fight was over on the school bus, but Scott has requested to see camera footage from beginning to end.

Scott had a meeting with the school principal lat week, but none of the parents or boys showed up. She was told the incident is under investigation.

A spokesperson for the Prince George’s County Public School System told WUSA9 in a statement:

“We are extremely concerned about the events depicted in the video. While we cannot discuss individual student disciplinary measures, we will take appropriate action according to our student code of conduct once the investigation is complete. The principal has met with families of the students involved and will resolve the matter with the seriousness that it deserves. Every Prince George’s County Public Schools student has a right to be safe while they are in our care.”

This is a developing story. More information will be added as it becomes available.

Via WUSA9

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Former PGCPS Executive Shawn Joseph Forced out of Tennessee dotted with legal, ethical issues – ties to local corruption

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former PGCPS Executive and current Metro Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph

One of the former PGCPS Executive and current Metro Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph who helped cover up corruption through Dr. Lilian Lowery and transferred the same shenanigan in Nashville, Tennessee has been forced out of the job.

On or around June 2011, Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) in conspiracy with Association of Supervisory & Administrative School Personnel (ASASP) headed by Dwayne Jones Principal of Laurel High School engaged in a widespread scheme involving high level executives at Sasscer. The scheme involved Dr. Monica Goldson and other external parties led by O’Neal Law Firm of Ardra O’Neal affianced in a wide ranging plot and bribery to defeat justice for employees. Dr. Shawn Joseph who later joined the PGCPS District at the beckoning of Dr. Lilian Lowery was also part of the mix in the same scheme.

The fraudulent scheme and conspiracy involved Office of the legal counsel and Thatcher Law Firm in which a transcriber company was hired to sabotage the hearings of employees at the systems Headquarters at Sasscer.  Transcripts for the hearings involving employees where changed and omitted major facts to advance the shenanigans and protect Dwayne Jones. Some of the omitted facts even acknowledged extra marital affairs involving Mr. Dwayne Jones and Debrah Toppins. Shortly after the hearings, any lawyer who tried to represent these employees was bribed after the Thatcher Law Firm was given a “no bid contract” for more than $5 million dollars. Many local employees are not getting the justice they deserve due to public corruption in Prince George’s County ties to discrimination. The public corruption in Prince George’s county public schools starts on an administrative level and is interconnected to local lawyers with ties to some local politicians, which has been an ongoing concern for many years.

In retaliation for exposing their shenanigans in this blog, the current interim CEO Dr. Monica Goldson ordered this blog to be blocked in the PGCPS network and other parts globally on or around November 2018 in order to minimize their expose of their illegal agenda.

Shawn Joseph’s departure from Tennessee, due to similar issues and public corruption fiasco connected to Maryland and Denver, Colorado is a wake up call in Maryland. While major issues are interconnected, local issues are playing out around this case. The recent indictment of Gregory B. Craig, President Obama’s first White House Counsel shows that while Robert Mueller’s investigation may be over, its effects will continue to ripple outward across the Washington DC metro area for a long time. Paul Manafort’s prosecution was a wake-up call for Washington lobbyists and Craig’s indictment is sounding the alarm for attorneys engaged in a widespread bribery using unaccountable money meant for public schools in a town full of them.

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Attorney Ardra O’Neal is involved in criminal undertaking of defrauding employees while working closely with employers including PGCPS in malicious undertaking. Employees and other citizens be aware of her shenanigans. She is involved in Self-dealing and fraud. Self – Dealing may involve misappropriation or usurpation of corporate assets or opportunities.  Anyone who has been a victim of her mischief is asked to report her fraudulent schemes to the law enforcement agencies at the earliest opportunity. In addition, she needs to be reported to the bar counsel ASAP!

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Monica Goldson (seen here) The culture of corruption which began in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) under Dr. Monica Goldson as part of an organized scheme promises to be a disaster according to the reports from Tennessee. The well connected individuals saw several executives transfer to Tennessee in high level corruption. The current fiasco currently in progress in Prince George’s County in which millions disappeared has ties to Tennessee. Corruption erodes trust in government and undermines the social contract. Tennessee citizens just like Maryland citizens are demanding for Transparency,  accountability and sanctions to the corrupt executives after state and Federal laws were broken willfully in both states.

We reprint the report by newschannel-5 article below:

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Metro Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph

By: Phil Williams

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It’s the end of the road for Metro Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph — a road dotted by legal and ethical potholes.

Under the terms of his buyout deal with the school board, Friday, April 12, is his last day.

But Joseph’s journey as Nashville’s first African-American director of schools began in July 2016 amid high expectations — with the school board essentially giving him a blank check.

“I think that Dr. Joseph needs to do whatever he needs to do to make sure that we are successful,” then-chair Anna Shepherd said.

Within months, there were ethical questions.

When NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked about the qualifications of the people he brought with him from Maryland, Joseph directed staff not to answer those questions – saying the district should wait and attack the reporter’s methods.

A school maintenance worker was also directed to work on Joseph’s house.

An email showed he would be “on the clock,” working at taxpayer expense. Joseph blamed his assistant.

“I hold myself to the highest level of integrity,” the schools director told NewsChannel 5 Investigates in October 2016.

We asked, “So where did she get the idea that he would be on the clock? Did that come from you?”

“No,” he insisted, “and that’s what I corrected it in an email.”

Joseph still ordered the man’s supervisors to allow him to modify his work schedule to work at the director’s house.

That fall, our investigation caught the schools director using a bus driver to chauffeur him around town — including for personal errands — with taxpayers paying for the driver to wait and wait .

But when we tried to show him the video, he walked out of the interview.

“This is one of the few districts where I’ve ever worked where the number of vacancies goes up instead of down,” former Metro Schools administrator Mo Carrasco told NewsChannel 5 Investigates in December 2017.

“People are leaving. People are not happy. And we keep saying to people that everything is great and we’re making progress. We are not making progress.”

Those comments come just before Carrasco, one of the director’s longtime friends, resigned amid a sexual harassment investigation.

On his way out, Carrasco raised questions about how Joseph was spending the district’s money.

“I made a statement one day to some of the executive staff that we have too many contracts, too many consultants in the district,” he added.

“They are running into each other, and I don’t think that was taken very well.”

Our investigation later discovered Joseph’s team had hired consultant friends , sometimes without contracts, sometimes without getting the required board approvals .

When two school board members, Jill Speering and Amy Frogge, requested an independent audit last April, Joseph lashed out, accusing them of behaving inappropriately and risking a potential lawsuit.

“It’s a lawsuit when you are inappropriately pointing people out and making comments that are not appropriate,” he argued.

Frogge responded, “I am doing my job, and I am not inappropriate.”

Last summer, two Metro Schools employees went public with horrific sexual harassment allegations against principal Sam Braden .

The district’s own files showed there was lots of evidence.

Still, Joseph’s team did nothing until after our investigation aired and then only under pressure from school board members.

After repeated interview requests were declined, NewsChannel 5 Investigates tracked down the schools director.

“Did you drop the ball?” we asked.

“I did not drop the ball,” he answered, refusing to answer any specific questions.

To try to calm the controversy, Joseph later convinced the school board to sign a $100,000 contract with a Nashville law firm to review the district’s Human Resources Department.

Then, a secret recording caught him hinting to school bus drivers that they should vote against vice mayor candidate Sheri Weiner, potentially in violation of state law.

In September 2018, new school board member Fran Bush had questions about Joseph’s continued use of a school bus driver as a chauffeur while a bus driver shortage left kids sometimes waiting for long periods to get home from school.

Our investigation discovered that Joseph’s account of how he used the driver did not match records provided by his office.

“I clearly think, at this point, learning about this information, we need to open up an investigation,” Bush told NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

As Joseph’s relationship with a few board members continued to sour, our investigation uncovered new questions about his ties to a company that got a $1 million, no-bid contract in violation of state law.

The district bought the student assessment software, then did not require schools to actually use it.

Then, NewsChannel 5 Investigates obtained the law firm’s confidential HR report, which warned the district is facing a morale crisis that threatens its ability to attract and keep good employees.

And a group of teachers decided to go public, suggesting that Joseph’s discipline policies were making their jobs harder.

“Students are in school and they are disruptive and they are running through the halls and they are using profanity and hurting other students,” guidance counselor Constance Wade said during a Teacher Town Hall.

Through it all, the schools director never took personal responsibility for any of the controversies.

In fact, he blamed NewsChannel 5 Investigates of trying to create hysteria over the sexual harassment issue.

“Let me tell you, what I don’t respect about you, my friend, is that you like to try to create unnecessary narratives on very important topics to try to create this hysteria,” Joseph told us last year.

“You should be ashamed of yourself.”

More recently, he had suggested to support employees that they should not be airing the district’s business in public — a lesson he said his mother taught him as a child.

“I told you about my mom with her little belt thing,” Joseph said during a town hall hosted by the Service Employees International Union, Local 205.

“She said, ‘I wish you would tell somebody our business outside in the streets. We handle stuff right in this house.'”

Via NEWSNEWSCHANNEL 5 

 

 

 

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Fiasco after 1 person dies, 6 Taken to Hospital in Crash Involving PGCPS System bus with students

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A car was sandwiched between a truck and a Prince George’s County school bus. The driver of the car is dead.

A woman in a car was killed and more people, including two students, were injured in a crash in Clinton, Maryland, involving a truck and a Prince George’s County school bus, police say.

Six people, including two high school students and the bus driver, were taken to the hospital with injuries that are not considered life-threatening, Prince George’s Fire Department spokesperson Mark Brady said.

Two people refused transportation to the hospital.

A preliminary investigation shows that a tractor-trailer was traveling south on Route 5, or Branch Avenue, and all other vehicles were travelling near the intersection on Surratts Road when the crash occurred about 6:15 a.m., police say.

The school bus was headed toward Charles H. Flowers High School, Prince George’s County Public Schools says. Video shows it was struck on the side and faced serious damage to the front.

The truck was knocked onto its side, spilling its contents over the road. A Hyunday was smashed between the bus and the truck, badly mangled.

The driver of the Hyundai was killed, police said. Her body was extracted after several hours.

Witness Marvin Simpson, who caught video of the impact on his dashboard camera, said the driver of the truck quickly climbed out and went to check on the car.

The truck driver’s wife, Jeanine Guzman, said her husband is a safe driver who has driven trucks for a long time.

“He doesn’t smoke; he doesn’t drink. Nothing,” she said.

Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski pointed out that the intersection is sloped on each side and compared it to the bottom of a bowl, making it extra dangerous.

“If you’re texting while driving, if you’re not buckled up, this is one of those places that because of the geography you can have worse outcomes,” Stawinski said.

A hazardous materials team was called to clean up fluids leaking from the vehicles, Prince George’s County Fire said.

All southbound lanes were closed during the investigation and clean up; only one northbound lane was open for a time.

Maryland State Police initially said there were no students on board the bus.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The collision closed Maryland Route 5/Branch Avenue for much of the morning, and a hazardous materials team assisted with the cleanup.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Below is dashcam video of the fatal crash, which some might find disturbing.

A dashboard-mounted camera caught the moment a truck slammed into a school bus headed to Flowers High School in Prince George’s County on Wednesday, sending six people to the hospital and killing one woman. The crash occurred at the intersection of Branch Avenue and Surratts Road. (Dash camera video credit: Marvin Simpson III)

(Published Wednesday, April 10, 2019)

Read more  via >>> WTOP   via >>> NBC4 

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Update: Teachers in Fear after PGCPS Administration covers up racism at Laurel area schools.

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Dwight D Eisenhower Middle School

By Reform Sasscer Staff:

Some teachers at Dwight D Eisenhower Middle School, claim the district is trying to find the sources of information to our blog in order to oust them for speaking out against unfair practices. Teachers who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation called the claims against them “nonsense” and said the district is trying to oust anyone for speaking out against deceptive practices. However, one teacher who wanted to remain anonymous said, the teachers at Dwight D Eisenhower Middle School were happy the truth was finally out.

Some of the teachers who did not want to be identified said they repeatedly raised internal concerns about teachers allegedly advancing racists tendencies on school grounds and the district leaders reportedly violating students’ civil rights by placing them into disciplinary action in some cases without proper due process.

However, Mr. Ronald Dortch who is the PTA President at Dwight D Eisenhower Middle School appears to be out of touch with reality. He was said to be unhappy when the story broke out. There are reports he engages external parties to raise money or other items and was afraid the school was looking bad. He was said to be upset with the exposure concerning racism at the school hence the reasons to make up wild allegations against the student whistle blower. While PTA members are not school employees, they are part of the school community. The alleged misconduct of pointing fingers by Mr. Dortch is deeply disappointing and betrays the trust the Dwight D Eisenhower Middle School community placed in him. Mr. Dortch must learn not to take public issues personally as victims of various shenanigans tied to racism have families too and deserve justice. Across the country, there have been many PTA Presidents or members of PTA with ties to the unions who have been arrested and charged for violating trust involving money and other issues tied to schools improvement.

Conflict of interest

At Dwight D Eisenhower Middle School, there are concerns that, Mr. Jonathan Mayhew who is a husband to Mrs. Laura Garon Mayhew, who also works as a Technology teacher at the school might have conflicts of interests. Situations involving conflicts of interest within the school system in Prince George’s County and the entire Maryland system are widespread. Allegations of cronyism, wasteful spending and other misconduct are roiling the entire school district including single source contracts which was reported widely in the media to be more than $78 million dollars.

“I believe that there are several factors which have contributed to the administration’s desire to retaliate against a student who blew the whistle in the first place and find sources of information in order to discipline teachers who have spoken out,” said a teachers who wanted to remain anonymous. “In my opinion, none of these factors are legitimate or reasonable. The fact remains that, there many issues which are being swept under the rug to the detriment of the entire system,” she added.

District’s claims

According to Mr. Dortch, he truly believes that we are damaging people’s lives without all of the facts. He stated in part that, “ALL of your stories appear to be one sided. You and the parent should be sued after these people are cleared of all charges. Did this parent tell you that her so called innocent daughter is accused of bullying students at DDEMS? But I guess since she is a black student bullying other students its ok. Are we now saying that a White Teacher can’t teach Black History? Are we now saying that a Black Teacher can’t teach students about Cinco de Mayo? If people would also educate their children and STOP thinking that education is only done at school, then students would be able to tell the difference between someone teaching them and someone trying to embarrass them. Parents need to stop treating school like it is a daycare. As long as their child is out of the house so they don’t have to deal with them. I challenge any adult to visit a school and just try to make an open announcement to the students and see just how disrespected they will be treated. I am in no way defending anyone that is a racist, but I have know Mrs. Mayhew and the staff at DDEMS and LHS for seven years and I know that what you said about both of these schools are NOT true……..” statement stated in part.

Widespread Fraud involves the Unions and Laurel Area Schools

On or around June 2011, Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) in conspiracy with Association of Supervisory & Administrative School Personnel (ASASP) headed by Dwayne Jones Principal of Laurel High School engaged in a scheme. The scheme involved Dr. Monica Goldson and other external parties led by O’Neal Law Firm of Ardra O’Neal engaged in a wide ranging scheme and bribery to defeat justice for employees.

The Fraudulent scheme and conspiracy involved Office of the legal counsel and Thatcher Law Firm in which a transcriber company was hired to sabotage the hearings of employees at the systems Headquarters at Sasscer.  Transcripts for the hearings involving employees where changed or omitted major facts to advance the shenanigans and protect Dwayne Jones. Some of the omitted facts even though acknowledged involved extra marital affairs involving Mr. Dwayne Jones and Debrah Toppins. Shortly after the hearings, any lawyer who tried to represent these employees was bribed after the Thatcher Law Firm was given a “no bid contract” for more than $5 million dollars. Many local employees are not getting the justice they deserve due to public corruption in Prince George’s County with ties to racism. The public corruption starts on an administrative level and is connected to local politicians which has been an ongoing concern for many years.

Employees’ protection

Employees enjoy protection from retaliation under the law for a host of actions in the workplace. State and federal laws protect employees from retaliation for complaints of unlawful discrimination, for seeking reasonable accommodations for disabilities, for taking protected family and medical leave, and from whistleblowing or refusing to engage in illegal activities. The web of legal protections from retaliation is comprehensive and fact-specific, and you should contact a qualified employment attorney if you believe you are being retaliated because of your legally protected activity at work.

You Have Rights to Protect You from Workplace Retaliation

Workplace protections from retaliation can be very broad. Not only do laws against retaliation protect employees from termination, but usually also provide protection from an employer taking an adverse action that would “dissuade a reasonable employee” from complaining about their legal rights. As a result, adverse actions can include termination, refusal to hire, denial of promotion, unjustified negative performance evaluations, or other threats or harassment.

Under civil rights laws, an employee engages in protected activity by opposing unlawful discrimination or harassment, or participating in an employment discrimination proceeding. An employee opposes discrimination when they complain about unlawful discrimination or harassment, threaten to file a complaint, or refuse to obey an order they reasonably believe is discriminatory. An employee participates in a proceeding when they file a complaint of unlawful discrimination or harassment, cooperate with an internal or external investigation of discrimination or harassment, or serve as a witness in an investigation or litigation. Each of these can amount to “protected activity” for the purposes of retaliation under county, state, and federal anti-discrimination laws, such as the District of Columbia Human Rights Act, Montgomery and Prince Georges County Human Rights Acts, Maryland State law, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (“Section 1981”), and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

In the disability setting, employees can engage in “protected activity” by seeking accommodations for disabilities. Similarly, employees can gain protection from retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by seeking or taking protected FMLA leave.

The number of laws protecting against retaliation for protected “whistleblowing” is very extensive. Those laws include the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, the False Claims Act, the Sarbanes–Oxley Act, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and a host of other laws. State laws in the District of Columbia and Maryland also protect against retaliation in a variety of settings. Employees are protected from retaliation for collectively complaining about the terms of conditions of employment under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Importantly, public employees may not be retaliated against for exercising their rights to free speech under the United States Constitution. Employees are also protected from retaliation related to asserting their rights for health insurance or benefits provided under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009.

Theresa Mitchell Dudley, president of the Prince George’s County Educator Association (PGCEA), who was recently elected as the first African American branch director from Prince George’s County of the National Educators Association (NEA) should show proper leadership and help address the local issues affecting staff at the area Laurel Schools. If there was any place to show proper leadership at the union level, it is here.

More to come!

Read more >>> PGCPS Teacher Under Fire Over Slavery Lesson – Administration is accused of cover ups.

Read more >>> Complaint From a Former PGCPS Employee

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PTSA president Ronald Dortch for Dwight D Eisenhower Middle School (Shown here) has no idea on hostile work environment currently in progress at Laurel schools. The community should be concerned he is acting like a Principal while protecting illegal behavior currently in progress in the many PGCPS Schools. There are also worries that, he has been making wild allegations concerning a student without proper review of the issues affecting staff and students on rolling basis at Dwight D Eisenhower Middle School and at Laurel High School. Picture Courtesy Doug Kapustin / For Baltimore Sun Media Group

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Dr. Monica Goldson is the current interim CEO and she is an unexperienced administrator in matters which involve hostile environment in a large school district. There are confirmed allegations of cover ups of many issues in progress in PGCPS.

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Audit finds wide-ranging problems in functioning of Prince George’s liquor board

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Former Prince George’s County Council member William Campos, seen in 2010, was sentenced to 4½ years in prison last year for accepting bribes in exchange for official favors. (Mark Gail/The Washington Post)

The Prince George’s County liquor board, which officials promised to overhaul after a federal corruption investigation in 2017, did not properly vet or inspect licensees and failed to adequately respond to complaints, a state audit found.

The board, whose former director admitted that he facilitated thousands of dollars in payouts to elected officials in a wide-ranging bribery scandal, did not confirm that licensees had paid county taxes, document whether they had conducted required criminal background checks or inspect of all its licensees, the audit found. Of the 50 inspections that auditors reviewed, half were not properly completed.

Auditors examined the activities of the board in fiscal 2017, plus a few additional months.

“The finding provided essential insight into the operating deficiencies of the agency,” Terence Sheppard, the liquor board’s director, wrote in a letter responding to the audit.

He said the board is committed to “addressing all aspects of the audit” and has developed an action plan to improve accountability and transparency. That plan addresses each concern listed in the audit, which Sheppard wrote he anticipates will be corrected by Aug. 1.

The liquor board, which had $2.3 million in revenue in fiscal 2017, is responsible for approving and processing alcoholic beverage licenses. That year, the board granted 732 alcoholic beverage licenses and 12 entertainment permits.

The audit, conducted by the General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Audits, was the first in a series of reviews that will be conducted every three years. It covered four areas: licensing, inspections, disciplinary procedures and management oversight.

Of 73 applications that auditors reviewed, all lacked documentation that should have been required before approval, including proof of residency for the business owner and security plans for the business.

Complaints about licensees that were directed to the board and the county’s 311 system were not always investigated, and the board had no written policies or procedures specifying how to do so.

From fiscal 2015 though fiscal 2017, there were 53 complaints reported directly to the board. As of July 2018, 17 remained unresolved, the audit found.

Routine inspections were not assigned in 2017 for 102 of the 618 licensed businesses, and inspection reports were sometimes incomplete or had errors, the audit found.

Instead of asking licensees to attend public disciplinary hearings, staff would allow licensees to avoid hearings in exchange for an admission of guilt and payment of a fine, sometimes at a reduced rate. That violated a 2015 opinion by the Maryland attorney general that said the board did not have the statutory authority to delegate to staff decisions about whether to fine offenders and in what amount.

The audit found that in 10 of the 20 cases it reviewed where there had been inspection violations, licensees accepted a compromise offer from staff.

The audit also found that written policies and procedures were not comprehensive and had not been formally adopted by the board.

County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) reappointed two board members and appointed three new members to the five-member board, all of whom were confirmed this week by the Prince George’s Senate delegation.

John Erzen, Alsobrooks’s spokesman, said her administration is “very confident in the members we appointed and that any issues that surrounded this board in the past will not continue.”

“There will be schedules and procedures and policies that will ensure the board is efficient and effective,” he said. “We want to make sure we are having accountability across our boards.”

Alsobrooks, who took office last year, reappointed Armando Camacho and Kenneth Miles. She appointed three new members: Daphne Turpin Forbes, Tammie Norman and Tammy Sparkman.

Turpin Forbes, a senior attorney at Microsoft, will chair the board.

Former county executive Rushern L. Baker III led an overhaul of the board in his second term, shifting the responsibility of appointing the panel from the governor to the county executive. That move followed the conclusion of the long-running federal probe, which resulted in two state lawmakers pleading guilty to bribery.

Former Maryland state delegate Michael L. Vaughn (D) was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison last year after he was convicted of accepting cash in exchange for votes that would expand liquor sales in Prince George’s.

Former state delegate and county council member William Campos (D) was sentenced to 4½ years in prison for accepting bribes and kickbacks in exchange for official favors, including legislation relating to liquor.

David Son, the former director of the liquor board, was sentenced to five years for bribery, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Former board member Anuj Sud was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to accepting cash for votes.

Via Washington Post

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