Category Archives: “Ashes to ashes”

Hathaway-Beck becomes second member…

…of Pr. George’s school board to quit in 2 months

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Donna Hathaway-Beck

Donna Hathaway-Beck, one of the longest-serving members on the Prince George’s County Board of Education, submitted her resignation Wednesday, the second member of the newly reconfigured board to quit in less than two months. According to many keen watchers of the current Board of Education, Hathway-Beck will be missed. She was a true trooper whose leadership knew no bounds and freely helped the community. We at Reform Sasscer Movement wish her well and God’s blessings in retirement.  May God bless her soul. Our wish is to see our County Executive Rushern Baker III appoint a capable leader to carry on the rest of her term and continue the current innovation / accountability initiatives currently in progress.

Hathaway-Beck (District 9), whose resignation will take effect Sept. 6, said work on the board was taking too much time away from her family. She has served on the board for nearly seven years.

Beck said she felt the time had come to step down.

“You need to know when it is time to go, and when to let someone step into your seat,” Beck said. “I am not irreplaceable.”

Read more Washington post and  Gazzette.

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Sincere thank you.

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On August 15, 2011 a group of Democrats, Republicans, and independents from all over Prince George’s County came together to write a blog about our county by people who live in this county. Over two years we have written about great stories, perspectives, successes, failures of our county, covered times of concern, and pushed for a better county through the legislation. We plan to continue helping innovate the county in corroboration with the new county leadership now that our New CEO is in place.

Our Editorial Board will continue to publish and support the new CEO and our County Executive. If you know anything of concern which needs to be fixed, share it with us and we will corroborate to help make sure it is addressed. Some issues deserves a quick fix and others take a long time to address.

We love this county and as individuals are pumped to continue pushing to make our community better for everyone.

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Another PGCPS Employee Arrested for Sexual Contact with Student.

Steven Ray Poe

Steven Ray Poe, a 36-year-old Lanham man and the student allegedly engaged in sexual conduct for more than a month. Photo: Prince George’s County Police

Another employee a janitor this time around at a Prince George’s County high school has been charged with sexual abuse after a 15-year-old student. She told police she had a sexual relationship with him.

Charging documents indicate that Steven Ray Poe, a 36-year-old Lanham man (Pictured above), repeatedly engaged in sexual acts with the victim on the DuVal High School campus, including both on school grounds and inside his apartment.

The relationship allegedly started in late April, when Prince George’s County Police say Poe and the victim began talking causally on campus. Those brief conversations led to the student giving Poe her phone number.

During their conversations, though, Poe repeatedly advised the student to delete any text messages she received from him, according to the charging documents. However, the alleged relationship was revealed when authorities say the victim’s mother went through the girl’s phone and found text messages between her and Poe.

The documents say that about two weeks ago, Poe and the defendant met in a janitor’s closet on campus, where they hugged and kissed. That scene was repeated a few days later; during that encounter, though, Poe allegedly touched the student inappropriately.

Police say Poe and the student then engaged in sexual activity twice more. The next instance happened on either May 25 or 26 at Poe’s Lanham apartment. A week later, sometime between June 3 and 7, police say the two once again met in a janitor’s closet; during that encounter, police say the two had another sexual encounter.

He has been charged with third-degree sexual offenses and second-degree assault.

(Read more Washington post) (Read more Bowie Patch) (Read more PGCP Dept) (Read more ABC News7) (Read more WUSA9) (Read more CBS) (Read more NBC4)

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Reform Sasscer movement is outraged by the negligence of the Prince George’s County School System in this morally dead situation. The problems have now manifested themselves into physical harm for the children. Urgent  intervention is required by our New Board of Education Chairman to look into these episodes and to avoid further harm to innocent victims. We do understand that change is gradual.  However, this is a state of emergency.  The Prince George’s County School System has established over time that its influence is not only harmful to the educational futures of the children; but also the physical welfare of the students. (Read more)

WHY WE NEED TO REFORM EDUCATION IN PGCPS NOW.

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 Education a breeding ground for corruption

The Prince Georges’ County Public Schools (PGCPS) unflinching commitment to conduct that antagonizes the rightfully prevailing winds of wisdom and decency ensures a dark chapter in this country’s history of education.

We are optimistic that the injection of new Board leadership will put a long overdue end to that period. While Board of Education chairperson Verjeana Jacobs’ self-resignation would have had considerable value, the community will settle for any end to her reign of terror.

The task of ousting the current Board of Education has been compared with “…scraping a sticky wad of chewing gum from the bottom of one’s shoe.” Like any other corrupt regime, the Board of Education for Prince George’s County, is deeply rooted and plentiful with regard to resources.  The character of the Board of Education makes the task of cleansing its corruption a difficult task.  The said Corruption started earlier with the former superintendent Dr. Andre J. Hornsby, who commanded the regime. It is no surprise that the former superintendent is now incarcerated. Despite the end of the former superintendent, the reigns of corruption were merely continued in light of the appointment of the current Board Chair person Ms. Verjeana Jacobs. Under the leadership of Ms. Verjeana Jacobs and her trusted cohort PGCPS chief legal counsel, Dr. William Hite Jr, labor relations Director James Whattam, Synthia Shilling and other conspirators. The corruption marely intesfied.

Given the seriousness of the regimes’ practices and the policy of the command in protecting themselves and covering up their crimes, Reform Sasscer movement calls for the reforms as articulated in our earlier post in the blog (Here).

Frantic and very Discouraging Endeavor

Corruption-Your-No-Counts-300x149“What gets us furious and terribly frustrated is that these people have spent huge sums of taxpayer money on shenanigans that have little or nothing to do with children or their education.” (Read more) Washington Plaza fiasco. ( Board Retracts Lease for Headquarters) We also have the Board of Education’s endorsement of sex molesters, some of whom coincidentally are colleagues of Ms. Verjeana Jacobs.  A previous Board member was caught molesting children within the school system. The pimps of the Prince George’s County school system, which include athletic coaches and others, that Prey on young children manage to evade proper scrutiny directly as a result of their political affiliations. The union leadership is compromised in all four unions in PGCPS District in order to continue benefitting illegally from the fraud.  There are many cases of this nature some which have been reported in the media this year alone. (Read more) (Read more). The list goes on and includes Bus drivers who appear drunk and involved in the same with full knowledge of the current administration.

We agreed/agree with our teacher friend. “Due process” is a tool that often times is manipulated by public corruption.  Thus, Due process must be identified and harnessed in a fashion that was contemplated by the Constitution, and not private corrupt entities.

At the time of writing this post, Mr. Rushern Baker, our County Executive for Prince George’s County, was poised to appoint the new Board Chairperson, Vice chairperson as well as additional Board members to the Board as a result of Bill HB1107. We are supportive and very confident that the general Assembly in Annapolis did the right thing in making these changes.

The current chair of the Board Ms. Vejearna Jacobs has some atonement to make, for it was egregiously wrong in giving the PGCPS district a clean bill of health when Superintendent Hite was at the helm. The fact that the state agency could not smell even one rotten fish is beyond belief, in light of the pungent odor of corruption emanating from the PGCPS. It is such a disgrace to lead an organization that constructively prides itself on having the most corrupt Unions in the universe and costing the Maryland tax payers lots of money with impunity. The PGCPS situation is not very different in many aspects to Baltimore jail scandal aided by Union politics. The same elements of dirty politics and inadequate response to serious issues have manifested themself in PGCPS (Read more).

But that is another matter, altogether.

The more important question to ask  is this: What is it about our Prince George’s county and its citizens that attracts corruption and criminal enterprises?

At times, it has seemed to us that the raison d’etre of the law enforcement community is to combat corruption in PG County.

Corruption and criminal behavior in public places are as old as the hills. What is striking, however, is that the educational milieu has started playing host to more and more schemers and charlatans in many parts of the United States, starting with PG County, Georgia, El Paso, New Orleans etc.

So, what is it with public education and corruption? Who are the people sitting on school boards and managing multibillion-dollar enterprises? What qualifications do they bring to their jobs, and have they been vetted, at least to a reasonable degree, to ensure that mismatched ambition, mediocrity and opportunism are not opening a back door to malfeasance? The Washington post article on November 4th, 2012 was very clear and correct in their assertions. After the said Washington post article appeared, PG County citizens decided to change directions and elected two more members with college degrees bringing the number to four. An anonymous employee rightfully said that “We deserve board members who are enlightened to educate our kids and manage the money without corruption.”

Everybody knows that PG County schools rank second to none only to Baltimore City schools with regard to having the worst school system. How is it that we can expect children in PG County to succeed when the leadership itself hasn’t even attained the most basic levels of professional education? What kind of leadership can we logically expect from someone who has only a High School Diploma? I’d reconcile that we’d get what we’re getting……subpar schools. Read more: We posed these questions to our teacher friend.

“The education field is a very safe place for a crook. It offers excellent sanctuary,” she said. “We expect there to be corruption on Wall Street. We expect bankers and corporate CEOs to be motivated by greed and profit margins.

“But a school District anywhere in the US is like a church. Good things are supposed to happen there. Who would want to suspect a teacher, a principal, a superintendent, a lawyer, Chief Financial officer, Chief Human resources officer , a school-board member of underhanded doings and a Board chair of suspected fraud?

“So, a few ne’er-do-wells hide in the public’s trust and do a lot of damage.”

“What blame, if any, does the public bear?” We asked.

“A lot,” she said. “School-board elections are important ones, and yet, it is like pulling teeth to get people to vote in them. A sleepy County like Prince George’s may be a good place for retirement, but it is a bad place for honest politics.” Just look what Jack Johnson (johnsonjackindictment) and his wife  Leslie Johnson did to the county. She added. In addition, it’s wrong to have communication Director brought in for the sole purpose of covering up the corruption.  This person continues to bad mouth the county’s leadership, while purposely misidentifying the inadequacies of the county.

“You can hood an ass here with reverend purple,” one member in the movement said, borrowing from Ben Jonson.

“Sad, but true,” agreed our teacher friend.

Anytime you introduce the possibility to deviate from the lowest sealed bid, you introduce the opportunity for influence, favoritism, possibly fraud, possibly corruption. The PGCPS status quo of continuous unabated corruption, conmanship, gerrymandering and professional misconduct involving the Sasscer adminstation with the support of the unions and other conspirators etc is not the answer!

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Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County

reformsasscer@gmail.com

“Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form.” ~ Sir Ken Robinson

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1st Homeless Shelter for Youth Opens in PG County.

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Senator Joan Benson, County Executive Rushern Baker and others pictured above

An emergency homeless shelter for the Youth in PG County opened on May 2, 2013 in Capital Heights this last Thursday, many thanks to Senator Joan Benson, County Executive Baker, other elected officials, volunteers and donors etc. who advocated and donated supplies for the 20 Bed youth shelter. We at Reform Sasscer Movement are thrilled to see this actuality here in PG County. It’s something we advocated for and have always wanted to see for a long time.joan benson

As County Executive Rushern Baker said during the ribbon cutting ceremony, “This initiative represents several years of dedication and hard work from so many committed individuals,”. “I have to commend those who worked tirelessly to ensure that this “safe haven” for youth has become a reality. It is important that we provide all the necessary resources to support those youth that are vulnerable in our County—for that, I thank you.”

Funded by local, state, federal and private dollars, the shelter’s goal is to partner the homeless youth with a caring adult in their lives as soon as possible, though they can stay in the shelter for up to 21 days. This shelter hopely will help solve some of the problems we highlighted earlier because of high suspension rates. (Read more)

The youth shelter has 20 beds and is open to homeless youth ages 12 to 21. All youth should contact the Homeless Hotline at 888-731-0999. If they are in trouble.

We hope PGCPS Board of education members, the school superintendent, principals, teachers etc will help in disseminating the vital information to all students in the county in order to create awareness of the facility for those homeless youth or those in transition!

(Read more), (Washington post)

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“Ashes to ashes” in PGCPS District Md.

Elegy for a 16-year-old

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May 01, 2013 01:17 AM EDT

The cemetery grass was soggy, the ground muddy between newly laid headstones. Rain-soaked pallbearers watched their step and kept a tight grip on the casket while moving from the hearse to the grave.

Under a green tent, the casket lay on straps, ready to be lowered into the ground, as a preacher prayed: “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”

And that was pretty much it. In a service that was shorter than the time it took to move the casket into place, Darius Cannon, 16, was finally laid to rest Monday at Washington National Cemetery in Suitland. (Read more)

Darius Cannon

(Courtland Milloy/The Washington Post) – Pallbearers carry the casket of 16-year-old Darius Cannon on Monday at Washington National Cemetery in Suitland.

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“Nevertheless, in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) District, one would hope that school officials would do more to understand why kids act up and realize the danger of just kicking them out of school and leaving them to fend for themselves on the streets is not right.” What is currently happening in PGCPS system is not very different from District of Columbia Public schools. When we highlighted this issue more than a year ago (see point number 7 Amended top priorities), it became polarized by the Maryland State department of Education officials. We truly believe this is not fair to the children throughout the state of Maryland and an alternative mechanism can be explored.

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” Said one parent recently.  In other words, Prince George’s county public school system officials should find alternative solutions for these kids on the street and not be subjected to a different set of standard where students are suspended at will. Anytime a child is kicked out of school for bad behavior, they tend to resort in all manner of mischief including drug abuse, fighting, thieving, death etc.

The story about Darius Cannon is very sad one but also applicable in so many counties across America including PG County.  The wounds are mostly self-inflicted but adults in many of these buildings including PGCPS District needs to make a proper assessment on how to help this population of the youth. A proper corroboration with the Maryland State Department of Education needs to be enacted without any further delay. PGCPS or Baltimore City children are not different to those of Washington DC. We live in interconnected world.  What jumped out of the story was the fact that his burial was sparsely attended except for kids who were on suspension or apparently dropped out. There was no Principal, Guidance counselors, Superintendent of schools etc.

What future will these kids have in a 21st century economy? What is the PG County chapter of NAACP doing on these issues including advocacy for discrimination, immigration, child abuse, death, high suspension rates within the schools  etc.?

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“The cynics may be the loudest voices – but they accomplish the least. It’s the silent disruptors – those who do the long, hard, committed work of change – that gradually push this country in the right direction, and make the most lasting difference.” ~ President Barack Obama

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