Monthly Archives: March 2012

PGCPS General Counsel’s Office is Epicenter for Corruption.

former PGCPS Chief legal Counsel -Mr. Roger Thomas is pictured above.

There are serious problems with our education system today in Prince George’s County public schools (PGCPS): the Elevation of Dr. William Hite was a major blunder and the way the schools and school district in general interact with the students, staff and parents is not cordial. Most teachers enter the education field full of life with hope and desire to change the world and positively impact kids. However, that is not always the case in PGCPS where the life is beaten out of them and some become villains for speaking the truth. These issues need to be brought to light in many ways in order to create accountability. If our blog opens the door for that conversation, so be it. Let that conversation begin. Stay tuned here for more evidence as time goes on.

While we never in a million years would have guessed that this many people would ever see our words and we did not even intend them to, we stand by what we write here and think that it is a good thing that people are now aware of the many problems impacting our kids.

Reform Sasscer team which is composed of professionals, teachers, students and parents concerned with PGCPS corruption with a view to advocating innovation, fiscal stability and transparency has been receiving worrying reports in recent times.

It has been established with great shock and uttter dismay that the epicenter of the corruption in all Prince George’s county public schools (PGCPS) is centered around the General Counsel’s office which is managed by one Mr. Roger Thomas Esq. who is the Deputy Superintendent of schools.

A closer look into the General Counsel’s office establishes that it is the source of much of the corruption and controversy: (Chief Human Resources Officer) Synthia J. Shilling, Esq. who is also known as Synthia J. Kucner and (Director of Employee and Labor Relations) James R. Whattam, Esq. are both affiliated with the Office of General Counsel. Synthia J. Shilling aka Kucner was formerly the Deputy General Counsel before becoming the chief Human Resources Officer. According to reports in Washingtonpost, she has been caught red handed several times drunk driving . (Read more).

Furthermore, Mr. James Whattam Esq. formerly worked with the teacher’s union as legal representative. This definitely creates a conflict of interest at many levels. Someone should investigate how many positions/titles these individuals actually have.

To enhance their corrupt illegal activities, legal department awarded a $5 million legal tender to Thatcher law Firm to represent PGCPS and Dr. Wiliam Hite without competitive bind against the rules of Board of Education in 2011 (Read the story here). The said law firm (Thatcher law Firm) is being used to conduct illegal activities in support of corrupt agendas which includes bribing attorneys and defending illegal activities against staff with legitimate cases. Tax payer’s money is being used by the legal department and Dr. William Hite to undermine transparency and accountability. In addition, the same law firm awarded close to $8,000 towards political contributions to the chairman of the Board of Education Mrs. Verjeana M. Jacobs Esq. hence creating a conflict of interest during the time $5,000,000 was awarded. This is unacceptable.

Changing the PGCPS Board of Education while officials associated with the General Counsel’s office continue to keep their jobs will create some accountability but might not result in the reform needed to improve PGCPS. However, it is important to take a closer look into the activities of this office and the role it has played in denying job opportunities to staff, as well as educational opportunities to thousands of students. For example: Ms. Synthia J. Shilling, Esq. was in the center of a Filipino teacher’s fiasco (read the story here), Roger Thomas Esq. has been involved in shady deals which includes the following: questionable contracts involving Washington Plaza, Dr. Andrea Horsby , who is now serving jail time, was involved in corrupt illegal tender activities and the list is endless which includes Jack Johnson pay to play corruption. (Others read article here). The time has come to seek new and fresh leadership for General Counsel Office within PGCPS which has no ties to corruption. Roger Thomas Esq has been in this position for close to 19 years and he must go with his corruption exposed. If the current board of education cannot do anything to enact any change in this office now, we are asking the general public to exercise its right and vote them out once and for all. The Board of education has power to do many things, they can suspend with or without pay pending investigations. They can fire! Let us demand full investigations concerning this office and let the chips fall where they may. Time has come for the school system to move in a new direction. We are watching!

General Counsel provides advice on legal representation, including:

  • The Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools, Executive staff, and principals
  • Supervises and manages legal services provided through attorneys in Office of General Counsel
  • Supervision and oversight on liability and litigation claims
  • Advice of counsel and legal representation in areas of student support services and student appeals
  • Advice of counsel in areas of procurement, CIP, business and finance, contracts, leases, MOUs
  • Represent the Board and Administration in appeals before Maryland State Board of Education
  • Legal counsel and representation in all other substantive legal services areas provided through the Office of General Counsel
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Northwestern High Schoolers demands better conditions.

Defenders of Northwestern High Schoolers punished for standing up for a better education, proffessional misconduct, an end to Corruption and nepotism in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS)!

A Demand for the ring leaders suspensions be revoked!

 Call Principal Batenga and other school officials – see info below:

Thursday, March 1, 2012 was the National Student Day of Action in which students around the country organized demonstrations protesting educational  budget cuts and inequality, and advocating for quality and affordable education for all.

Students at Northwestern High School in Prince George’s County Public schools (PGCPS) Maryland planned a walkout and rally as part of the National Student Day of Action. Over 300 students planned to walk out to protest unsanitary conditions in their school, enormous class sizes, cuts to the ESOL program, denial of promised pay raises for their teachers and corruption involving Dr. William Hite. The students were also asking for more teacher/parent/student input in the curriculum and demanding an apology for a group of Filipino teachers who were fired and deported after not having their work visas renewed.

The Administration at Northwestern High School discovered the walkout plan early in the day by trolling Twitter accounts and then put the whole school on lockdown. Police blocked the doors and a canine unit waited in the school’s parking lot. They held student leaders in the Principal’s office all day, threatened them with expulsion, and at the end of the day suspended four students for 5 days requiring that when they return their parents must accompany them to classes all day.


Northwestern is a high school where the majority of the students are Black and Latino. The student organizers’ mission was to walk out for a better school and a better education. Instead the Administration violated their civil liberties, squashed these students’ free speech, and punished them for wanting to improve the school environment for themselves and their teachers. Instead of having a dialogue with students, the Administration at this school chose to make an example of several students and punish them harshly knowing this could affect these students ability to get into college.The students in Northwestern High school are asking citizens throughout the world to stand in solidarity with them. “We cannot let school officials succeed in punishing us like animals for wanting changes to our school and quality education” one student said.

Support these students by contacting the following school officials and other elected officials. Demand that their suspensions be revoked and removed from their permanent record: (Read more, Pics – Courtesy Hyattsville patch)

Mr. Edgar Batenga “Edgar”
Principal
301-985-1820 Edgar.Batenga@pgcps.org

William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent
301-952-6008 william.hite@pgcps.org

Amber Waller
Board of Education Member, District 3
301 952-6115 amber.waller@pgcps.org

Monica Goldson “Monica” Phone: 301 – 669 – 6000

Jane Spence “Jane”
Instructional Director of High School Performance
240-264-1720

Northwestern Vice Principals:
Mr. Douglass Jones, x-2318 douglass.jones@pgcps.org
Ms. Patricia Cox, X-2237 patricia.cox@pgcps.org
Mr. Robert Pollard, X-2280 robert.pollard@pgcps.org
Ms. Jennifer Love, x2280 jennifer.love@pgcps.org
Mr. Arrington, x2265

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Stop the madness.

Dr. William Hite once again has forced the resignation of a well liked principal without a transition plan or explanation as to why. Parents, students and staff are left wondering and guessing. The time could not have been worse as students are preparing for the MSA exams. Again Dr. Hite has demonstrated his clear lack of leadership and judgement skills. Pgcps deserves better. This kind of rot has got to stop. Staff needs to be treated with respect and proper procedures need to be followed when terminating staff. This is the last straw. We have had enough. One is left wondering how many staff have fallen victim to this megalomaniac?. Enough is enough! We need to reign in this loose cannon (Dr. Hite) This is not the wild West. Say NO to the Lone Ranger!
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