Board must be held accountable for silence on abuse.

We are sure that when you read the Prince George’s County Board of Education was being sued for failing to take action on complaints from employees who were being bullied and abused by other employees and supervisors,  You were just as shocked as we were. The sad part in this situation is that, this is not anything new in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS). This kind of uncouth behavior happens all the time in many schools and is encouraged by Dr. William Hite Jr and his senior staff which includes legal department Chief Mr. Roger Thomas Esq and HR Chief Ms. Synthia J. Shilling (formerly Assistant to Roger Thomas).

Just recently according to police, Theresa Douglas, a Prince George’s County Public Schools bus driver, had an ongoing disagreement with a co-worker and recently tried to get a protective order against the co-worker, but a judge dismissed the case.  In an effort to seek revenge, she drove the bus into the temporary office where her harassers were. We do not approve what she did. However, there are at least two sides to every story, and you never know the entire story  particulary in cases of bullying, harassment, retaliations and discrimination, you know the things people don’t want to talk about until it is too late. She wasn’t acting like that just because she had a bad hair day.(Read her story here) ( here) (Here) (Video Here) and (Here)

 Our own investigation reveals that PGCPS management and ACE_AFSCME Local 2250 failed to protect Ms. Theresa Douglas against the harassment. “This is what they do if they want to get rid of you” said one employee at the School system’s garage recently. “The unions and Dr. William Hite Jr are in bed with one another which is against the rules of natural justice” said another employee who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation.  If they want to get rid of you, the PGCPS management is employing dirty tactics by using other employees to harass and intimidate someone in order to have them quit.  “This is unacceptable behavior” several drivers, teachers and nurses said recently to the Reform Sasscer movement team during our tour of the facilities recently. Something needs to be done to change things for the better.  Ms. Theresa Douglas the Bus driver had been harassed for an unspecified time without anything being done and she felt so powerless against PGCPS management that she had to resort to a bus as a weapon for action; Something is not right.

There are other cases involving physical fights in recent months including employees involved in altercations recently at Sasscer administrative building. Some are now on administrative leave while others are not.  The Hites administration along with the Board of Education are not doing much to address these situations in a timely manner the way they should. In many cases, they are involved indirectly in starting conflicts involving employees. One issue of concern which seems to be fueling conflict within ACE_AFSCME Local 2250 for example is the hiring of Mr. Fred Shumate (Pictured below) a former senior HR supervisor at PGCPS. Mr. Shumate always seems more interested in undermining employees  to PGCPS management than helping them resolve their grievances or conflicts. This is not how a union is supposed to operate. There seems to be a major disconnect and he is not acting alone. There is definately a conflict of interest because Mr. Shumate hired most of the PGCPS HR staff involved in illegal firing of employees. “He is the ‘eyes and hears’ of the PGCPS management inside ACE_AFSCME Local 2250 to help cover up corruption” said another employee who declined to provide his name for fear of reprisal.  The union needs to do something to address this situation.  There are other examples like this in all four unions including PGCEA.   

In the school bus situation, if the staff, union or management had followed proper school procedure in addressing the problem, we might be in a different place.  This news broke just weeks after it became public after another story involving employees in similar situations. This very same board censured one of its members for investigating complaints he had been receiving from the public after they weren’t getting a response from the administration. More interesting is that, this administration along with some of the other Board members who caused Board Member Edward Burroughs to be censured are not paying attention to civil rights violations. That is right in the span of just weeks; it has become apparent that parents and community leaders in several Districts within PGCPS are begging for help against abuse in various ways involving students and staff.  At High Point High School for example, it took video of a mini-riot breaking out to bring the type of administrative attention needed for the problem. At Goddard it took a million dollar lawsuit to draw attention to a problem involving a student who was being sodomized by another. That is not acceptable to us and we are sure it is not acceptable to the parents and people of Prince George’s County.  This begs the question:  “What is Dr. Hite and his administration doing about this???” and what role will Mr. Christian Rhodes play in stopping this unethical and dangerous practice? Time will tell. There are no questions who are the victim here, children suffer much more in this kind of environment and citizen voters are definitely being duped.

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