Author Archives: pgcpsmess

Lawsuit claims teachers failed to report abuse as 23 kids violated – Sexually

sylvania-woods-front-ddi_resizedWASHINGTON — Teachers did not follow state requirements on reporting suspected child abuse, according to a lawsuit filed by families of victims of convicted sex child offender Deonte Carraway.

Carraway pleaded guilty to abusing at least 23 children at a Prince George’s County elementary school between November 2014 and February 2016.

 Ten teachers and faculty are identified as having raised concerns about teacher’s aide-turned-volunteer Carraway’s inappropriate and abusive behavior to Principal Michelle Williams or other school administrators, the lawsuit said. Williams and the county board of education are named as defendants in the suits.

The teachers did not uphold their legal obligation as mandatory reporters, the suit alleges. Despite telling the principal of Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary about instances of seeing Carraway alone in the bathroom with a student, pushing three students to the ground and being too familiar with the kids, among other allegations, other teachers dismissed or ignored student’s reports of abuse, the suit said.

‘I don’t believe you.’

Multiple teachers told students they didn’t believe their reports of abuse, including fourth-grade math teacher Gwyndolyn McNair, who is among those being sued in connection with the Carraway case.

The suit alleges a fourth-grade boy who was pulled out of class by Carraway returned to tell McNair that “Deonte wanted another student to ‘hump’ him’.” Carraway removed him from class to take the boy to the dressing room behind the stage, where he instructed him and another boy to perform a sex act while Carraway recorded it on his phone, the suit said.

McNair is quoted in the lawsuit as responding to the child, “I don’t believe you. Go sit down.”

In another instance, the suit said a first-grade boy told a school counselor that he was in the bathroom when Carraway came in with several other first-grade boys and ordered them to urinate on each other while he watched, the suit said. The counselor is quoted as responding to the student, “I’ll deal with it. Go back to class.”

‘Failure to practice effective policies’

Attorneys for the victims’ families argue that the school system policy that teachers followed, as described in the lawsuit, did not square with the state requirements.

“Employees of the Prince George’s County Public Schools follow a practice that violates the law because employees do not make reports unless and until they have personal knowledge of abuse and neglect,” the suit said.

A representative of the school system said student safety remains a top priority and that since Carroway’s arrest, it has taken steps to improve and strengthen procedures for protecting kids.

Educators in Maryland are required to immediately report suspected child abuse or neglect to the head of their agency, only as a first step, according to Family Law 5-704 (a) (2), cited on the Maryland Department of Human Resources website.

It goes on to say that notifying the principal “does not substitute for the staff member’s need to call the local department of social services and complete the (Child Protective Services) form 180 and notify the State’s Attorney’s office.”

Yet not one of the 10 teachers and staff took their concerns past the principal’s office, the suit claims, while Carraway’s sexual abuse of at least 23 children went on for more than a year.

Via  WTOP     Read more >>> Washington Post  Read  more >>>How corrupt politicians launder money 

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Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Kevin Maxwell speaks at a press conference about the Carraway child sex abuse allegations. PGCPS Management knew from the day they took over the county schools that sexual harassment was widespread in the county as reported in this blog. However, the Management did nothing to fix the issues except to cover up including interference with the local court system which is a continuing problem throughout Maryland… Anyone who speaks up against the ills within the county schools is immediately put on administrative leave without pay. They then invite the IRS maliciously to keep the employee who reports illegal activity busy with sideshows hoping something happens there. In the meantime, they pay off any lawyer who might representing the employee in an organized scheme in order to cover up further and delay proceedings. This happens as the PGCPS management promote their close friends and relatives in various roles as problems continue.  We must demand answers and proper changes on these issues. Parents needs to get involved throughout Maryland.   

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Opinion – This is how corrupt politicians launder money

imrshttps://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/ffd977e4-c313-11e7-9922-4151f5ca6168

Financial investigator Jim Mintz has been following dirty money for decades. Here’s what he noticed in the indictment against former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

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Financial investigator Jim Mintz is an adjunct professor in the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism in the Columbia Journalism School and the president of the Mintz Group, 

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Former PGCPS high school athlete slain Monday night

Still1114_00001_1510698098281_4515765_ver1.0_640_360A former football player at a Prince George’s County high school was fatally shot Monday night in New Carrollton, the county police said.

They said Desmond Burns, 24, was found shot in the 5300 block of 85th Avenue. He lived on on 85th Avenue, the police said. police said. When police arrived at the scene, they found Burns on the sidewalk suffering from a gunshot wound to the body. He was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police were sent about 7:45 p.m. Monday to 85th Avenue after a shooting was reported there. Burns was found outdooors, they said. He was taken to a hospital where he died a short time later, the county police said.

In a brief statement on Tuesday the county police have offered a $25,000 reward to help find his killer, Burns’ co-workers are trying to come together to raise money to help his family pay for funeral costs.

Burns worked for years as head chef and trainer at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Alexandria and he also previously worked at their Fairfax location. He had been an award-winning football player at DuVal High School in Lanham. DuVal High

Burns’ manager Travis Larkins said his staff is crushed after learning of Burns’ death.

“He smiled all the time, kept to himself, but he was a fun dude and loved his music, loved to hang out with the staff,” said Larkins. “He was just a great guy, and came to work with the right attitude and did a great job. I’m going to miss him.”

Many people who worked with Burns were too upset to come to work on Tuesday.

Buffalo Wild Wings is in the process of putting together a fundraiser for his family and collections will take place at all of their area restaurants this weekend. A GoFundMe page is also in the works.

Anyone with information is asked to call Prince George’s County Police’s Homicide Unit at 301-772-4925. Anonymous tips can be left with Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477), online at www.pgcrimesolvers.com, or on the “P3 Tips” mobile app.

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Desmond Burns, 24,worked for years as head chef and trainer at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Alexandria and he also previously worked at their Fairfax location. He had been an award-winning football player at DuVal High School in Lanham. 

Read more >>> Fox5DC, >>> NBC4 >>> Washington Post

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State officials want review of Baltimore County school leaders’ ties to tech firms

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks to reporters in Annapolis on Thursday Nov. 9, 2017.  Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday education officials need to consider Brochin’s call for increased oversight of the contracts and the paid consulting fees that interim superintendent Verletta White and former superintendent Dallas Dance received from a company that brokers private meetings between tech companies and school administrators. Hogan also called the results of an audit into Prince George’s County graduation rates “disturbing.”

A Maryland lawmaker has called for an investigation and audit of the Baltimore County school system’s purchasing of digital devices and software after reports that administrators were working as paid consultants for a company that represents education technology firms.

State Sen. Jim Brochin, a Baltimore County Democrat, has asked the Maryland Department of Education and state school board to investigate all contracts related to a technology initiative, launched four years ago, that is expected to cost the school district more than $200 million.

The Baltimore County school board is set to begin considering new contracts next month.

“It falls to the state to provide oversight as recent questionable decisions of the school system and the failures of the Baltimore County Board of Education have come to light,” Brochin wrote in a letter to state education officials. “To ensure that citizens of Baltimore County have continued confidence in our school system, we must provide a transparent and responsible state investigation and audit.”

The state school board responded in a statement saying it “is in the process of reviewing the information” and will make decisions about audits or other appropriate steps at its next meeting Dec. 5.

The Baltimore Sun reported Wednesday that White failed to disclose the payments she has received since 2013 as a consultant for the Education Research & Development Institute. Dance also did not disclose any payments until after he announced his resignation in April.

“If these things are really happening, it’s outrageous and we need to get to the bottom of it,” said Hogan, who as governor appoints members of the county school board.

Another state lawmaker, Del. Patrick L. McDonough, a Baltimore County Republican, said he intends to file a complaint against White with the school system’s ethics panel. A similar complaint he filed in 2013 against Dance resulted in the panel reprimanding the former superintendent for failing to disclose consulting work for another company.

“I’m going to file another complaint. They need to be held accountable,” McDonough said. “The school board people have dismissed” White’s actions, he said.

McDonough and Brochin are running for county executive in next year’s election.

In his letter, Brochin said he is concerned about reports of “digital education companies having unrestricted access to key decision makers in Baltimore County Public Schools and in turn, the awarding of contracts to those companies.”

The county school board, he said, “failed to adequately scrutinize the relationships between the vendor-driven organizations and BCPS administrators,”

Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, a Perry Hall Republican, also questioned the county board’s oversight.

“Disclosure is the fundamental element for our ethics laws at every level of government,” Marks said. “Many of us were hoping that these controversies had ended with the appointment of the interim superintendent. There are many good things occurring in our school system, but right now, it is imperative for the Board of Education to restore trust and accountability.”

But county Councilman Julian Jones, a Woodstock Democrat, said he continues to “respect” and support White because the consulting job was not with a company that held a school contract and she can fix the mistake by amending her disclosure forms.

“I have a lot of confidence in her,” Jones said. “This doesn’t change my opinion of her at all.”

And Tom DeHart, executive director of the union representing county school administrators, said he still has “complete confidence” in White.

White may have made a mistake in filling out financial disclosure forms, DeHart said, but if she corrects them, “I feel that it does not overly concern me.”

The Sun reported Wednesday that White worked as a paid consultant for a company that promotes education technology firms without disclosing the payments to the school system or the public. She repeatedly filed disclosure forms stating she earned no outside income while working as the school system’s chief academic officer, the position she held from 2013 until she was named interim superintendent this year.

White estimated in an interview that she made about $3,000 a year as a consultant for Education Research & Development Institute, or ERDI. The Chicago-based firm provides all-expense-paid trips twice a year to conferences at which superintendents serve on three-hour private panels with education technology companies to review their products.

White acknowledged she made a “mistake” by not disclosing the payments. School officials are required to file forms annually reporting if they earned any income beyond their official jobs.

In an email she sent Thursday to school system employees, she promised to amend her disclosure forms to include the consulting job.

But she said getting paid by ERDI was not a conflict of interest because the company, though it represents technology firms, does not itself hold any district contracts.

“I will not allow an honest oversight to be misconstrued as something untoward or unethical,” she wrote.

She said Dance, as her supervisor, knew of the position and had encouraged her to participate in ERDI sessions to provide education technology companies feedback.

Dance “recommended and approved my participation in these opportunities,” she wrote in the email. “Sales are not involved in this process. This process is purely for feedback.”

McDonough filed an ethics complaint against Dance in December 2013. He raised questions about a different consulting job that required the superintendent to travel to Chicago to train principals. In response, the school ethics panel ruled that Dance violated the ethics code by taking the job with a company that does business with the school system.

Dance’s connection to the now-defunct SUPES Academy is being investigated by the Maryland State Prosecutor’s office, several sources have told The Sun.

McDonough said the school ethics panel should be able to conduct its own reviews.

“It should be mandatory that anytime something like this happens there must be an ethics review,” he said. “It can’t be left up to the board.”

William Groth, a county resident who last year filed a successful ethics complaint against Dance for holding a university teaching job he did not disclose, said Thursday the school system “is facing a crisis of ethics.”

Groth, a former school system administrator, said the school board has failed to hold Dance and White accountable for their actions.

“There is a big chunk of that board that doesn’t understand its purpose,” Groth said.

Via Baltimore Sun

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Hogan ‘outraged’ over results, response to Pr. George’s Co. graduation audit

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks to reporters in Annapolis on Thursday Nov. 9, 2017. Hogan called the results of an audit into Prince George’s County graduation rates “disturbing.”

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called it “very disturbing” that one in four Prince George’s County students may not have met graduation requirements.

“I was frankly not only outraged at the report findings, but I was somewhat outraged that the response again by Prince George’s County, who still doesn’t seem to want to take it seriously,” Hogan told reporters.

Hogan addressed the results of an independent audit that found that 25 percent of graduating seniors in the county may have had a grade changed, or may not have met certain other state requirements but graduated anyway.

The State Board of Education sought out an independent auditor to investigate claims from 20 high schools of interference in student transcripts, in some cases after the students had graduated.

“Their response was, ‘Well maybe 5,500 people may have had errors with their grades, but we think it’s just clerical errors and crossing t’s and dotting i’s.’ I think it’s much more serious and they better take it more seriously,” Hogan said.

Hogan is running for re-election against Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.

Via WTOP

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says he’s outraged by Prince George’s Co. Schools audit findings

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FILE – In this Oct. 20, 2014 file photo, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan answers questions during an interview with The Associated Press in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Saturday that he’s outraged by results of an audit showing students are graduating in Prince George’s County Schools without meeting state requirements.

“We’re going to make sure that the county gets to the bottom of it, and we’re sorry that the parents, students and teachers seem to have been cheated in Prince George’s County,” Hogan said in an interview with FOX 5.

The report released Friday shows that in the last two years, nearly 5,500 of graduating seniors had grades increased after the final grade entry cutoff date. Auditors selected a random sample from those students and performed a closer evaluation of records. They found that nearly 5% of students surveyed were ineligible to graduate and about 25% didn’t have proper records to determine if they were eligible.

“If this is true, and I believe that it is, it’s outrageous and unacceptable that something is definitely wrong with the Prince George’s County School system, and we’re cheating the kids by having this kind of thing where people are getting grades fixed and graduating,” said Hogan. “So the superintendent of schools kind of dismissed and said it was just lack of crossing t’s and dotting i’s. It sounds much more serious to me, and I think that the county needs to take it more seriously.”

After the report came out Friday, PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell was quick to point out that investigators didn’t find evidence of system-wide fraud as was alleged by board members who asked Hogan for a state investigation.

Maxwell and school board chair Segun Eubanks blamed poor record keeping and staff training for the audit findings.

“We don’t see a problem with instruction in most cases,” Maxwell told reporters. “Again, we have kids who go to some of the finest colleges and institutions across the country. This is about checking boxes, sloppy record keeping, not teaching and learning.”

When asked about the notion of sloppy record keeping being to blame for the findings, Hogan replied, “I think that’s complete nonsense. This was a very thorough and complete investigation and so far, we’re extremely upset and outraged with the results.”

The audit, performed by D.C. consulting firm Alvarez and Marsal, found PGCPS “does not consistently monitor adherence to grading policies and procedures,” that “grades are regularly submitted and changed after quarterly cut-off dates, and “a significant number of 2016 and 2017 graduates had unlawful absences in excess of 10 days.”

It found in the 2015-16 school year, about 38% of graduates had more than 10 unlawful absences. In 2016-17 it went up to 44%. That year, 159 students graduated even though they had more than 50 unlawful absences.

The report goes on to say that while reviewing student records, investigators found “handwritten marking on transcripts where schools are performing math to determine the grade change required for a student to pass a class.”

Investigators noted “multiple instances where student transcripts were updated after students had already graduated. In some instances, transcripts were modified after the commencement of this investigation.”

FOX 5 obtained a whistleblower email to Alvarez and Marsal from a high school employee claiming she and others were instructed to modify student records before investigators visited their school after getting a tip from an employee at a different school on what investigators were looking for.

Prince George’s County Schools now has 60 days to respond to the report and submit a plan to the state showing how it will improve its processes and governance.

FOX 5 was first to report that four school board members contacted Gov. Hogan to request an investigation into what they called widespread, systemic fraud to boost the graduation rate. Multiple school staff members corroborated the allegations when interviewed about their own experiences.

Increasing the graduation rate has been a signature achievement of Dr. Maxwell. Since 2012, the rate has gone up from 73% to 81%.

Despite the alarming findings by auditors, Dr. Maxwell is still criticizing the board members who asked for the investigation, saying it became “political” when they contacted the governor. Both Maxwell and Eubanks said the investigation should have been handled internally.

“There’s nothing political about it and what they just said was completely dishonest because they repeatedly refused to do the investigation,” Hogan said. “And only after the legislators representing Prince George’s County begged for help did the state step in.”

Hogan noted that the entire Prince George’s County delegation to the legislature unanimously requested the state investigate.

PGCPS spokesman John White tells FOX 5 students will not lose their diploma if they’re found to have graduated in error, but they will be notified. The district has established an email address for graduates and their parents who are concerned about their eligibility, gradsupport@pgcps.org.

via Fox 5DC

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