Saturday July 21, 2018: Prince George’s County Parents are up in arms after Rushern Baker regime was caught red handed violating child labor provisions. This happened after the county failed to either pay students in summer camp program timely or paid them less than they were supposed to. The expose begun with One parent who started a revolutionary post expressing her frustration on the illegal scheme. The post highlighted the county’s mismanagement of resources during the ongoing youth summer programme. It was posted by Joan Ogburn-Hyson who expressed her frustration by stating the following:
“I have two children working in the Summer Youth @ Work Program for Prince George’s County. They have to work a month before receiving their first paycheck and required to submit direct deposit forms. Today was payday and several of the kids did not receive paychecks (including my daughter) because someone lost the paperwork. This is a terrible experience for a student.”
Based on the discussion, a number of issues where brought to light which left the county government in a new low and in violation of child labor. This is not the first time these violations have happened. Last year similar fiasco ensued unabated in the county. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker for the first time responded by stating that, “We are well aware of some payroll problems with our Summer Youth Enrichment Program participants. We are working diligently to quickly rectify the situation. We apologize to the students and parents for this inconvenience.”
Another parent tried to send in a follow up question and it was ignored by Mr. Baker. We must embrace vision of equality, justice, freedom and multiracial democracy, built on the premise that all people are created equal. Here in Prince George’s county, too much of politics seems to reject the very concept of objective truth. There is utter loss of shame among many political leaders in this county including union leaders where they’re caught in a lie, and instead of owning to the issues without reservations, they just double down, and they lie some more while inviting their friends to help cover up the misconduct and fraud. This way they can continue their illegal agenda. “Its not right and it’s what is occurring now,” stated one parent interviewed for this article.
Clearly there are serious issues which continues to affect the county and unless they are addressed, the Prince George’s county will continue to be a magnet of corruption many years to come as highlighted in this case. There are reports that, one of the instructors mentioned that the program was supposed to alleviate nepotism because the employees were hiring family members. One parent wondered if “losing” apps was the workaround behind the illegal scheme.
Activist Tommi Makila summed up the best when he stated the following: “This is such a typical scenario for our county. All in all, this is a really great program and I’m grateful that our son was able to get a summer job through it. (His job is with a private company, so he’s not impacted by this county payroll issue.) However, like so many other entities and programs in our county, the execution of this program is sorely lacking. Our son went through the training portion of the program and the placement, and all along management of the program was chaotic, communications lacking or confusing, and given timelines were not followed. This is all more ironic considering that the main point of the training portion was to teach the kids how to perform in a workplace, to do your job well, be responsible, etc. As with so many other entities/programs in our county (including our schools), we could make such great strides if we just found a magic formula to make all people perform their jobs properly and not have the minimal-effort, “good enough” attitude be so pervasive. Too often our county leaders and managers talk a good game, but follow-through and execution is poor.”
It is clear from the experiences here that, Equality is a term largely thrown around in political discourse. However, it is an ideal that is largely out of reach, particularly within the United States’ education system and in Prince George’s County in particular. Violators of the child labor provisions are subject to a civil money penalty of up to $10,000 for each employee who was the subject of a violation. Employers who willfully or repeatedly violate the minimum wage or overtime pay requirements are subject to a civil money penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation, according to the United States Department of Labor. Read more here.
Reaction on Facebook was swift with several parents, administrators and other community stakeholders highlighting their experiences. Below is a sample:
Felicia Meadows “Shameful”
Dawn MsWarddaboss Ward “That system has some serious flaws this also happened to my son a year ago then he went to work for six flags and he has been there every since.”
Quantane L Higginbotham “Is this how we are teaching our kids? 😠😠😡”
Joan Ogburn-Hyson “Yep, not to want to work or volunteer in this county….terrible.”
Crystal Jewel “That is crazy, DC children get paid after the 2nd week (like normal jobs)”
Joan Ogburn-Hyson “Right Crystal Jewel. If we can’t stand for something like our own kids, then we do fall for everything and our children suffer. If it were any adult they would be have a problem getting their money.”
Carolyn Grobes “That’s CRAZY and the system needs to be updated. WHO can afford to work a job where they have to wait a month before they get paid? My child worked for the summer youth program in PGC a few summers and I was a student worker in registrations the whole time I went to the University of Maryland and don’t remember either of us having to wait a month to get paid 25 years apart!”
Joan Ogburn-Hyson “That’s the new rule. They said that all new County employees have to do so too when they start a job. In this economy, I am not sure who can do that anymore.”
Carolyn Grobes “Joan Ogburn-Hyson in any economy that would be hard to do. PGC has to get it together, in 2018 and modern technology there’s NO reason to make anyone wait a month to get their first paycheck.”
Kashey Mynorr “I heard this happened last year too. I hope they get it together soon.”