Monthly Archives: September 2014

Prince George’s County reduces printers in schools.

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014
Prince George’s County has significantly reduced the number of printers in its public schools this year, leading teachers to complain that they are losing instructional and planning time because they have to go to the main office to make copies. They also said they often end up waiting in long lines behind other teachers and have dealt with far more machine malfunctions.

“Many of our members have had concerns,” said Theresa Dudley, a sixth-grade teacher at Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie and vice president of the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association.

School officials said they are trying to address teachers’ concerns as they reduce the number of printers as part of cost-saving efforts across the district.  >>>> Read more  Washington Post





UPPER MARLBORO, MD –County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, invites citizens to attend a public meeting on Tuesday evening, September 30, at Northwestern High School.

This meeting is the first of three legislative listening sessions that will provide residents with an opportunity to share ideas on issues that impact their lives and communities. Members from the County’s General Assembly House and Senate delegations, the Prince George’s County Council, the Prince George’s County Board of Education and other community leaders will be present to hear issues that residents are concerned about.

Please click here to visit the County’s website and learn more about the listening sessions. Citizens can pre-register by completing the Registration Form or by calling 301-952-4131. There will be limited opportunities to sign-up to speak; pre-registration is encouraged. Comments will be timed and limited to three (3) minutes per person.

Before the public meeting, you can talk with County agency representatives during an information session beginning at 6:00pm. In addition, CountyClick 311 will be available to assist residents who may have questions or need help resolving non-emergency issues. Specialists will be present to submit service requests on behalf of residents and citizens.

If you wish to submit comments and are unable to attend in person, please email them to:

Below are the locations and times of the County-wide sessions.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 7-9 p.m.

Northwestern High School

7000 Adelphi Road, Hyattsville, MD


Thursday, October 9, 2014, 7-9 p.m.

Oxon Hill High School

6701 Leyte Drive, Oxon Hill, MD


Thursday, October 16, 2014, 7-9 p.m.

Charles H. Flowers High School,

10001 Ardwick-Ardmore Road, Springdale, MD



Survey shows that teachers don’t believe new evaluation system is going well.


A survey of Maryland’s public educators shows that teachers don’t feel the new system for evaluating them is going as well as the principals who are grading them do.

While 70 percent of principals believe the expectations are clear under the evaluation system put in place across the state last school year, only half of the teachers agree. The survey included responses from 16,000 educators across 23 school districts from April to May.

Teachers believed that the new system, which ties their performance to student achievement, was problematic because it was one of many reforms being undertaken at the same time.

Despite their skepticism about how well the new system is being implemented on the ground, educators across the state seem to have some confidence that it will improve teaching in the long term, according to William J. Slotnik, founder and executive director of the Community Training and Assistance Center. The center worked in collaboration with WestEd, an education consulting and research organization, to do the analysis, which was presented to the Maryland State Department of Education on Tuesday.

Last school year, the state required school districts to implement a new evaluation system for teachers that was designed to improve teaching by getting rid of poor teachers and supporting those who are struggling.
Read more:,0,3881307.story#ixzz3EijnX92s

Making the most of teacher evaluations  [Editorial]

Dr. Lilian Lowery has demonstatrated poor leadership skills and discriminative tendencies.


Investigations into teacher misconduct can take more than a year.


By Liz Bowie
Updated September 27, 2014
While Baltimore County officials were deciding whether Michael Williams was fit to continue teaching, he was assigned to a dusty, windowless room at a Pulaski Highway warehouse that held old textbooks, surplus computers and other materials. He, along with a dozen or so employees, sat at a long table reading detective novels and playing Trivial Pursuit.

Sometimes they would fall asleep until supervisors, watching from a security camera, came in to wake them up.

Williams, who had been accused of touching a girl on the cheek with a yardstick, was paid his full salary plus benefits for more than a year to show up at the warehouse when school was in session. At his school, Woodlawn Middle, a substitute was hired to teach his class.

“The county doesn’t move on anything quickly. They let people sit there and rot,” said Williams, who denies having touched the girl. He made $67,000 a year as a teacher.

Every year, hundreds of school system employees are immediately escorted out of Baltimore-area schools when they are accused of misconduct and are told they can’t return to the school until an investigation is completed. Those investigations can take more than a year to be concluded, and in the meantime taxpayers pay the bill for both their salaries and the substitute teachers’.

That problem is not uncommon, particularly in urban school systems and in states with strong teacher unions, said Dan Weisberg, executive vice president of the New Teacher Project, a nonprofit that works on educational equality issues.

“Some of these cases take longer than capital murder cases,” said Weisberg, who was previously a labor relations attorney for the New York City school system. He believes it is important to give teachers an opportunity to argue their case to someone other than the principal who may have accused them, but says school systems should limit the time for reaching a decision.

Read more:,0,3207696.story#ixzz3EiiRQH8C



Quid pro quo suit…



In Latin, “quid pro quo” means “something for something.” Or in American vernacular, “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”

In the business world, quid pro quo, whether blatant or subtle, is a frequent occurrence. Clients may require vendors to make concessions in order to give them their business. Or, a business leader may have to give up a certain level of leadership in order to secure funding for his or her company.

But when it comes to one’s career, quid pro quo can have serious consequences, especially when it comes to the issue of sexual harassment. Moreover, it’s in clear violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

According to the United Nations WomenWatch, quid pro quo harassment occurs “when employment and/or employment decisions for an employee are based on that employee’s acceptance or rejection of unwelcome sexual behavior.” An employee may be given a promotion if she has sexual relations with her boss; another may be fired because she refuses.

 quid pro quo Case in Prince George’s County. 

Antoinette Murphy a Plaintiff in a case filed in Federal court last year, was a bus driver for Prince George’s County public schools. She was a member of Defendant ACE – AFSCME Local 2250, of which Defendant Adams was the President. ACE- AFSCME 2250 is Plaintiff’s collective bargaining agent and is designated to file grievances on her behalf. Plaintiff alleges that Mr. Bernard Palmer, an employee of the school system and Plaintiff’s supervisor, subjected Plaintiff to quid pro quo sexual harassment. Specifically, Mr. Palmer forced Plaintiff to meet with him on a daily basis throughout the course of his supervision to control and intimidate her and threatened Plaintiff with termination if she did not give in to his sexual advances. He reprimanded her and pulled her off assignments. Mr. Palmer would tell other men on the job that he wanted to have sex with Plaintiff. Plaintiff informed Mr. Faith Jones, President of AFSCME 2250, about Mr. Palmer’s behavior. On September 24, 2009, Mr. Jones told Plaintiff that “if she gave him what he wanted, then Mr. Palmer would be putty in her hands.” Mr. Jones laughed and told Plaintiff to just “give him some.” (ECF No. 2 ¶ 14; ECF No. 59-3, letter from Plaintiff to Mr. Richard Putney, AFSCME 2250’s Executive Director). That same day, Plaintiff had a meeting with Mr. Putney and Ms. Adams to discuss a variety of complaints, including her foremen not giving her proper work, her coworkers constantly lying to her, and the harassment she was experiencing. (ECF No. 59-2, at 19-20, Trans. 114:19 – 115:8, Plaintiff Dep.). Plaintiff stated that she did not characterize Mr. Palmer’s behavior as sexual, only that he constantly wanted to be with her in an abnormal manner that made her feel very uncomfortable and constituted harassment in her mind.

Mr. Putney stated that Plaintiff needed to file harassment charges and Ms. Angela Thomas (an employee of AFSCME 2250) needed to get the paperwork ready. Plaintiff was unsure exactly what the union was planning to do, however. She told Mr. Putney “to file a harassment”; she did not ask him to file a sexual harassment grievance, and Mr. Putney did not indicate he was going to file such a grievance. Plaintiff states that AFSCME 2250 would not take or file a grievance on Plaintiff’s behalf. The school system and AFSCME were in concert and the intentional discrimination resulted in many adverse employment actions against Plaintiff, including suspension without pay, verbal reprimand, consistently poor evaluations, and training that consisted of sitting in Mr. Palmer’s division all day and reading a manual. On January 12, 2010, Plaintiff, attempting to get help from her union, explained to Mr. Jones that she had been sent home unfairly by Mr. Palmer before she started her run. Mr. Jones laughed and told her that she needed to calm down. Plaintiff responded that she was tired of the constant harassment from her supervisors and that the union needed to step in and properly represent her. Mr. Jones then told Plaintiff that “I told you Palmer likes you, just give it to him and it will stop.”  Plaintiff responded that she was not kidding. Mr. Jones responded that he was not kidding. Later that day, Mr. Jones kept suggesting “that I [Plaintiff] give into Mr. Palmer and just fix him up. This will all go away.”

Plaintiff states that she would call AFSCME 2250 whenever Mr. Palmer wanted to meet with her alone. She states that Ms. Thomas and Mr. James Spears would tell her just to go ahead and meet with him alone, and whatever he gives you or whatever he tells you, then bring that back to the union and they will deal with it. (ECF No. 66-2, at 13-14, Trans. 252:13 – 253:18). At some point AFSCME 2250 informed Plaintiff that it would not file a grievance on behalf of Plaintiff in regard to Mr. Jones’s comments. Ms. Wanda Newman and Ms. Shirley Breeze, members of  the union’s executive board, were given responsibility for the matter, but told Plaintiff that they did not know how to approach this matter. >>>Read more Opinion of the Federal Judge – in regards to Ms. Antoinette Murphy – ACE AFSCME Local 2250


Just as damaging as quid pro quo can be to the victims themselves, it can also affect their coworkers, who may be passed over for jobs or promotions because their superiors give those positions to subordinates who respond to their advancements. In Broderick v. Ruder, an attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission charged that her superiors created an atmosphere of favoritism by promoting and rewarding those female employees who participated in sexual conduct.

Here in Prince George’s County, we have seen a variety of harassment situations involving the Union personnel,  senior managers at Sasscer, principals and Directors involved in the same throughout the district. It’s time to demand an end to this kind of situation at the job place. Discrimination such as seen at Largo and Laurel High schools, Sasscer administrative building and else where has no place in a community of civilized nations.

Quid pro quo is one of the most frequent and most damaging of sexual harassment situations in the workplace. If you feel you have been victimized by a superior’s sexual advances, it’s important to speak with an experienced employment attorney  to determine your rights and protect your career. If you cannot afford a lawyer,  file an EEOC charge and let the government agency investigate.



Greenbelt Federal court.

In another development, former vice President for ACE-AFSCME Local 2250 Shirley Kirkland has taken over the mantle of leadership through a bloodless coup d’é tat after many years of infighting with the previous President Shirley Adams. According to our sources, AFSCME International appears to be involved in the whole saga in order to neutralize the situation and control the offices after former President Shirley Adams went international to protect democracy in Prince George’s County last year.

According to our sources within the union, Ms. Kirkland appears to be enjoying the new seat. We will keep you updated of the new developments in the near future. Of our particular concern, will be to monitor if “quid pro quo” continues within the union leadership as exhibited in the above case. As members of reform sasscer movement, we will continue to advocate for what is right. Union accountability is the key to helping transform the county if the grievance procedures have to work properly. The new management must demonstrate  true qualities of leadership if they have to create accountability on these issues without any favor.



New President Shirley Kirkland took over recently after many years of infighting with Shirley Adams. As the new President of the Union, a lot is expected of her to iron out the issues.




Major, Huge, Pretty Big Story Coming Up Monday! Don’t Miss It!


Coming up this Monday, right here on your favorite blog website PGCPSMESS–and you may just have to reign us in on this one!–we’ll have a major, huge, pretty big story for you about an upcoming court case affecting PGCPS employees that is sure to be one of your favorite, major, huge, pretty big releases of the year. We’re going to break it down for you and how it affects you as a citizen, employee or consumer. starting  Monday, –wait for it! –we’ve got some pretty cool exclusive extras for you that will make your attraction to this particular case extremely three-dimensional. 3-D!

Spill the beans!We’d tell you more, but then we’d have to spill the beans, and we’re no bean spillers, let us tell you that! Tune in Monday, early Monday afternoon, for all the beans you needs to chew on, right here. We’re Pure blog post, the original, 24-hour Internet blog bringing you the very best in order to help transform our county today.

Until Monday…!

Hint hint up there!



The Steller’s sea eagle.


The Steller’s sea eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) is a large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. It is an eagle that lives in coastal northeastern Asia and eastern Russia, along the coasts and surrounding islands of the Sea of Okhotsk and Bering Sea. They are most common on the Kamchatka Peninsula and mainly preys on fish and water birds. These very large, powerful eagles are also striking in appearance. They are dark but dramatically colored with white tail, shoulders, rump, thighs and forehead. On average, it is the heaviest eagle in the world, at about 5 to 9 kilograms (11 to 20 lb), but may lag behind the harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) and Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) in some standard measurements. This bird is named after the German naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller. Courtesy Wikipedia

Each winter, many Steller’s sea eagles migrate from their breeding grounds to Japan, and a few reach Korea or even farther afield. Other individuals do not migrate, but simply move to open water as winter approaches.

Open water provides these eagles with their main food sources along coastlines and lakes. In their breeding grounds, Steller’s sea eagles subsist largely on salmon, and they both hunt and scavenge for this resource. Annual salmon runs provide an enormous bounty and Steller’s sea eagle nests are typically located near coasts and rivers where these fish appear en masse.

These birds of prey hunt from a perch or from flight by diving and clutching prey in their talons. They also stand in shallow water or on the ice and grab passing fish when the opportunity arises. Like other eagles, Steller’s also steal food from other birds.

In Japan, Steller’s sea eagles feast on cod. In addition to fish, they eat crabs, shellfish, squid, small animals, ducks, gulls, and carrion.

Steller’s sea eagles do not occur in large numbers, but their populations appear to be stable. Their feathers were once highly prized, but today these magnificent birds are protected throughout their range. They are especially revered in Japan, where they are known as O-washi.




Steller’s Sea Eagle
Haliaeetus pelagicus
Rausu, Hokkaido, Japan
6th March 2014


Power struggle ensues among Pr. George’s Democrats.


The tension spilled over with a Bible verse.

“Whoever walks in integrity . . .” started Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee member Derrick Richardson, reading from Proverbs as part of a filibuster meant to derail a vote on two issues that have divided the body.

The raucous meeting that ensued late Tuesday revealed more internal turmoil in a political committee struggling to preserve its independence amid pressure from party leaders to rally behind such causes as extending term limits and endorsing school board candidates. Some on the committee do not support these initiatives, and some think the committee should not take a position.

The fissures come at a critical time for Maryland Democrats. Party committees across the state are supposed to be mobilizing to help elect Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown to the governorship. And the Prince George’s committee is supposed to help instruct the county’s more than 427,000 registered Democrats on how they should vote.

The contention surrounds ballot question “J,” which will ask county voters in November to loosen a two-decade-old limit on terms in elective office. It would permit the county executive and County Council to serve three instead of two terms in office.

County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), an unapologetic critic of term limits, asked the central committee not only to include the question on the sample ballot sent to Democratic voters but also to go a step further and recommend a “yes” vote. >>> Read more Washington Post




Read more >>> Prince George’s County sentinel.

Read more >>>Rushern Baker should pass torch to a new leader to reinvigorate Prince George’s county.

Prince George’s NAACP opposes segregated schools.


The Prince George’s County branch of the NAACP is opposed to the county school system’s plan to open two high schools designed specifically for recent immigrants and second-generation students, arguing that the concept might be unconstitutional.

Bob Ross, president of the county NAACP, told schools chief Kevin M. Maxwell and the Board of Education at a meeting Tuesday night that he thinks the plan to open schools for English-language learners next year is not in line with the 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The landmark Brown ruling declared that separate public schools for black and white students violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“You risk having [Prince George’s] having a segregated school system,” Ross said. “I’m afraid we’re turning the bus around.” >>> Read more Washington Post




Maryland Coalition Against Cell Towers on School Grounds.


Some of the Prince George’s County Parents are pictured here demonstrating against a host of problems in PGCPS Sasscer 9/23/2014.


Upper Marlboro, MD –Organizations from Anne Arundel County,  Baltimore City, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County have joined together to form a coalition to call for the immediate halt to the construction of cell towers on public school playgrounds. The newly formed Maryland Coalition will hold a press conference on Tuesday, September 23, 2014at6 PM on the steps of the Prince George’s County Board of Education14201 School Lane, Upper Marlboro, Maryland to announce the formation of the coalition and present the coalitions goals.  The following organizations and individuals have joined together to form the Maryland Coalition:
  • AACo Acts (Anne Arundel County Against Cell Towers at Schools)
  • Anne Arundel County NAACP
  • Citizens Against a Cell Tower at Julius West Middle School
  • Coalition of Central Prince George’s County Community Organizations
  • Liberty Rec and Tech Center, Baltimore
  • Maryland Smart Meter Awareness
  • Montgomery County NAACP
  • Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Prince George’s County NAACP
  • Safe Schools Prince George’s
  • Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County.
  • Kim Trueheart, Activist, Baltimore City
The Maryland Coalition is raising the following concerns about cell tower construction projects at Maryland schools:
  • Lack of transparency and community involvement in the decision making process.
  • Safety Issues from the industrial machinery: fires, tower collapse, and worker accidents.
  • Environmental Issues such as paving over green space and cutting down trees.
  • Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) such as diesel fuel and lead acid batteries on school grounds.
  • Increased carcinogenic air pollution: Diesel generator exhaust and biocides.
  • Health issues related to daily long term exposure to microwave radiation.
The Maryland Coalition believes that cell towers are a bad investment for our children. We call for an immediate halt to cell tower construction at Maryland schools.

 # # #



Media at Sasscer ready to cover the events live.