Tag Archives: exploitation of children

“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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Good riddance to Dr.William Hite Jr.

Dr. William Hite Jr (pictured above) is a pathological liar, there’s no doubt about that. He is also a cover-up artist. If the court reports in Greenbelt Federal courts are correct in its summary of the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) corruption and sexual exploitation of children scandal, the public Dr. William Hite Jr of the last few years is a work of fiction. In his place is a hubristic, indictable hypocrite. He should not be a Superintendent of schools anywhere!

According to concerned citizens of Prince George’s County, we must abolish entire PGCPS leadership led by Dr. Hite and Ms. Verjeana Jacobs in the wake of findings by the federal judge that Scott Smallwood, of Upper Marlboro and an employee of PGCPS hid his crimes of being a child rapist.  The three-hour sentencing hearing on Wednesday July 18, 2012 involved home movies of sexual acts, trembling verbal testimonies from distraught family members and an exhibit of a homemade doll that resembled an anatomically correct adolescent boy Smallwood used in what U.S. District Court Judge Roger W. Titus called his own “fantasy world.” (Read more) “This is a very sad day especially since this happened again not too long ago in Bowie High School in which students were forced in prostitution by athletic coaches”, said a concerned PG parent. Another incident involving student sexual exploitation happened in Flowers High school as well under the leadership of Dr. William Hite Jr.  We need to put a stop to Board of Education’s shenanigans. We have finally reached the tipping point for sure and we have had enough. Enough is enough with cover up and appointing select few who are politically connected like Ms. Monica Goldson as Chief Operating Officer (COO) in order to continue the status quo.

We have said over and over again that, The PGCPS leadership lacks vision, and they continue to bend to parents who lack the insight to recognize that their failure to have control over the student body and place the right staff in the right place has led to an environment in which few are educated but all get diplomas at the end of the school year. Thus very few college graduates emerge from this school district that has many students taking the AP exam but keeps no records on those passing the AP exam. This year for example Central High School had students photographing AP exams and posting the pages on the internet because students are used to using their cell phones while in class and the school staff is powerless to stop it. There is no doubt  Dr. Hite is an outstanding education reform propagandist. Unfortunately there is no substance underneath the propaganda. The Prince George’s County public school district has seriously deteriorated under his leadership which was certainly hampered by a know nothing and do nothing school board again led by one Ms. Verjeana Jacobs.

Therefore, it is disturbing that our members of the Board of Education recently spent untold hours debating who should be included in Executive Session in an apparent battle over whether our student Board member should be included to hear set of facts involving Adult matters.

That’s really not the issue. We want our curricula to be based on sound, empirical data and grounded in common sense. Unfortunately, the best interests of our students and our county have taken a back seat to the promotion of an ideological agenda focused on Board of Education chairperson’s rival in November 2012 election.

Do we need to have public input regarding curricula coming out of the PGCPS Education Agency? Certainly. But the actions of the PGCPS BOE provide more of a distraction than meaningful oversight of our public education system.

If Dr. William Hite knew about corruption, nepotism, professional misconduct  and sexual exploitation of children scandal within the system and refused to do something about it, then he isn’t and wasn’t some aging granddad who was deceived, but a canny and unfeeling power broker who put protecting his reputation ahead of protecting children and staff. There is no question he engaged in a cover-up, “an active agreement of concealment in collaboration with Chief legal counsel Mr. Roger Thomas and others within and outside PGCPS.”

The only explanation we can find for this “striking lack of empathy” is self-absorption. In asking how a paragon of virtue could have behaved like such a thoroughly bad guy, the only available answer is that Dr. William Hite Jr. is no different from Paterno who fell prey to the single most corrosive sin in sports: the belief that winning on the field makes you better and more important than other people.

We can’t afford to continue applying Band-Aids, hoping for a cure. At the very least, we should depoliticize our county  board by taking partisan politics out of the mix. The last resort would be to abolish the board altogether.

The best solution, we suspect, lies somewhere in between. We  look forward to working with  legislators and community leaders to address the problems. The fates of our students and our future — even our history — demands it.

As Dr. William Hite Jr. prepares to jump off ship to Philly, it’s a good riddance for sure!