Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker promises necessary changes and accountability to the county’s Head Start program.
Monday was the first day back for the county’s more than 900 Head Start students.
At one of the schools named in the federal report, some parents told WUSA 9 they didn’t hear about it. Or, if they did, it didn’t come from the school.
“Wow,” said Michael Green before looking back at his 3-year-old. He had no idea of the allegations made my federal investigators.
“My son, this is his first day here. So I was kind of excited but a little bit leery,” said another father who apparently learned about the issue through news reports. After a tour of the school and Head Start program, the father said he felt much better about it.
The Maryland dad had just dropped his child of at H. W. Wheatley Early Childhood Center, one of the three schools named in the federal report that accuses staff members of engaging in child abuse and corporal punishment.
Wheatley is where a teacher allegedly embarrassed a 3-year-old, forcing him to mop his own urine after an accident at nap time. The report says the teacher then took a photo and texted the child’s mother with “lol” included in the message.
A stunned dad who preferred not to give his name says last year at the school, “It was good. He likes his teachers.”
“It’s certainly is embarrassing and it makes me angry,” said Prince George’s County Executive, Rushern Baker, ” [we need] to make the corrections so this never happens again.”
Promising necessary changes and accountability, County Executive Rushern Baker and School CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell toured a Head Start program Monday assuring parents for now, their children would not be disrupted after the federal government pulled a $6.4 million grant from the county’s Head Start program. He acknowledged Monday, the program has more than 50 years in the county.
Prince George’s County leaders say Colorado-based Community Development Institute Head Start or CDI HS will now be providing the funds, they may also now have a say in how employees get trained. Baker and Maxwell confirmed they will be working with the contractor.
Prince George’s County’s school staff were already retrained on how to report incidents properly after last school year’s massive Deonte Carraway sexual assault investigation.
“We put a lot of trust so I would like to be well informed no matter how small the matter will be,” said one of the Maryland dads at Wheatley.
Dr. Maxwell believes that may have assisted instructors in their reporting of the last two Head Start incidents outlined in the report, although questions still remain on how other more recent situations were handled.
At least one school board member made claims of a cover-up. (Include old link)
The County Executive answered Representative Donna Edwards’ call for an independent review of the school system saying in so many words, while he appreciates her concern their focus is on continuing the Head Start program.