Monthly Archives: August 2016

Prince George’s Co. executive promises accountability in Head Start program

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Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker(Photo: WUSA)

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.

via wusa9

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BOE political cronyism-nepotism refresher -via P-G Politics.

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Rushern Baker III

Before Rushern Baker took office, he said that he would NOT make another attempt to take over the school system. Nevertheless, he asked the General Assembly to let him take it over. They gave him part of what he asked for.

One of the leaders behind Baker’s school coup was Del. Dereck Davis.

Baker appointed Seguin Eubanks as chair of the Board of Education. Eubanks is Baker’s ex brother-in-law.

Baker and Eubanks hired Kevin Maxwell to be school CEO. Maxwell promptly hired Mrs. Dereck Davis as his top deputy.

Del. Dereck Davis’ day job is as a top official in the county Office of Community Relations. In other words, he works for Rushern Baker.

Del. Dereck Davis’ immediate supervisor in the Office of Community Relations is Musa Eubanks, the brother of Seguin Eubanks.

A number of questions come to mind.

  • Was Davis’ support of Baker’s coup really “for the children,” or more to curry favor with his boss?
  • Did the school system really need another high-paid administrator, and was Mrs. Davis the absolute best choice, or was her hiring payment for Del. Davis’ support?
  • Was Seguin Eubanks the absolute best choice for BOE chair, or was his hiring influenced by his relationship to Baker and one of his top aides?

I’m sure their are other ethical questions that could also be asked–including whether any of the above contributed to Baker’s failure to keep his promises about ethics and hiring an Inspector General.

via Pg-politics

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Seguin Eubanks is the chair of the Board of Education and was appointed in that position by Rushern Baker III. Eubanks is Rushern Baker’s ex brother-in-law.

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Musa Eubanks, the brother of Seguin Eubanks is the Director of Prince George’s Office of Community Relations.

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Del. Dereck Davis works for Rushern Baker III in the Prince George’s Office of Community Relations and supervised by Musa Eubanks, the brother of Seguin Eubanks.

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Mrs. Dereck Davis is a top deputy Superintendent in PGCPS. Baker and Segun Eubanks hired Kevin Maxwell to be school CEO. Maxwell promptly hired Mrs. Dereck Davis as his top deputy.

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CEO- Kevin Maxwell – Mr. Rushern Baker III and Segun Eubanks hired Kevin Maxwell (seen here) to be school system CEO. Maxwell promptly hired Mrs. Dereck Davis as his top deputy. She reports to her husband. 

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Rep. Donna Edwards calls for independent investigation of Head Start program

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Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) makes a campaign visit to an Easton early voting site in Easton, Md. on April 18, 2016. Edwards has called for new victims of Prince George’s County Head Start to come forward

UPPER MARLBORO, MD (WUSA9) – Representative Donna Edwards called for new victims of Prince George’s County Head Start to come forward, and for an independent investigation of the school system.

She made the announcement following the county board of education vote Thursday not to appeal a decision by federal auditors to withhold $6.4 million in grant money used by the county to run Head Start.

The funds were cut off following a scathing report that revealed two cases of child abuse at Head Start centers around Prince George’s County in 2015 and 2016, and the failure of school system officials to correct the problems.

“Incidents such as these do not exist in a vacuum. They are indicative of a systemic breakdown within the entire leadership chain that has placed children in danger,” Edwards said in a statement.

“I urge any other families who have experienced such mistreatment to come forward and report their children’s experiences so that a thorough, independent investigation can root out the bad actors, at every level of leadership,” Edwards said. “Anyone who ignored a problem, minimized abuse, or in any way interfered with the investigation of allegations of abuse and neglect of our children must go.”

Edwards’ call for action was echoed by dissident board of education member Edward Burroughs, who said the board Chairman Segun Eubanks and Vice Chairman Carolyn Boston should resign.

Burroughs and five other board members accused leaders of covering up the situation by burying reports in the minutes of another board’s meeting, and failing to put the matter on the public agenda.

Denver-based contractor Community Development Institute is being brought by federal grant administrators to run the Prince George’s Head Start program, which starts school Monday.

The out-of-state contractor is now in charge of management, hiring and oversight. The 150 Head Start teachers and staff will remain employed by the county school system for now, but that situation could change, officials close to the situation said.

via Wusa9

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dissident board of education member Edward Burroughs, has said the board Chairman Segun Eubanks and Vice Chairman Carolyn Boston should resign.

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Segun Eubanks – Brother in Law to County Executive Baker is involved in a conflict of interest involving the Teacher’s Union as an Employee of National Education Association (NEA) and his responsibilities as the Board of Education ChairPerson. Mr. Eubanks appears to be undermining grievances and does not seem to care about the well being of the youth and the staff. It’s time to make a change!

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PGCPS Board of Education votes to give up Head Start grant

File_006-1672x1254UPPER MARLBORO, Md.  — The Prince George’s County Board of Education voted to relinquish a federal grant for the county’s Head Start program after a scandal involving two cases of mistreatment of some students in the preschool program.

In a last-ditch effort to save the money for the program, the school system voted Thursday to not appeal the termination of the grant by federal authorities and instead give it up. Board chair Segun Eubanks said the move will allow for the school system to work with the federal government to find an interim operator, other than the school system, to keep the Head Start program running through the current school year.

When the school system was originally notified about the cases of mistreatment, the Administration for Children and Families, which controls the $6.4 million in federal money given to the county to run the program, ordered the school system to take corrective actions.

 That didn’t happen, in the eyes of the federal government, and the administration terminated the grant.

“We will continue to investigate the events that occurred and hold accountable the systems and or individuals who failed to protect our children,” said board chair Segun Eubanks during a Thursday night board meeting.

 The ACF says it committed to working to keep the Head Start program alive in Prince George’s County.

“ACF takes seriously our responsibility to ensure all Head Start grantees foster a healthy and safe environment for the children and families they serve,” the administration said in a statement.

 The cases were brought to light in a federal report sent to the school system earlier this year. One involved a teacher forcing a 3-year-old boy to mop up his own urine after he had an accident during nap time. The teacher is accused of texting the pictures of the student in wet clothes, to the boy’s parents and “LOL” in one of the text messages. The second case, involved a 5-year-old leaving a nursing officer and walking home, alone.

“That’s scary, that you would have to actually worry that you can’t trust a school system to ensure that your child is safe,” parent Helen Ballard said during the meeting.

 Several members of the Board of Education claim only the school system’s CEO, board chair and vice chair knew about the report initially. The members say they were notified of the situation after the grant had already been terminated.

“I think it is very clear to me that we need a state or federal investigation on what occurred; it makes no sense to me to have the school district investigate itself,” said board member Edward Burroughs.

 Burroughs was among five board members who called on County Executive Rushern Baker to demand the resignation of Eubanks and vice chair Carolyn Boston.

Baker’s spokesman, Scott Peterson, said the county executive has expressed his anger and disappointment over the situation but will not ask the two to step down.

 “Clearly we must improve the oversight for this program and he is confident Dr. Maxwell, Dr. Eubanks and Vice Chair Boston will do just that in a quick and aggressive manner,” Peterson said.

The program for children between the ages of 3 and 5 serves more than 900 kids In Prince George’s County.

Via WTOP 

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Segun Eubanks – Brother in Law to County Executive Baker is involved in a conflict of interest involving the Teacher’s Union as an Employee of National Education Association (NEA) and as the Board of Education Chair Person. Mr. Eubanks appears to be undermining grievances and does not seem to care about the well being of the youth and the staff.  It’s time to make a change!

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Former PGCPS Student and a rising star murdered in cold blood.

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Douglas Brooks

n 18-year-old man fatally shot near his home in Suitland was an up-and-coming rapper.

Prince George’s County police say Douglas Brooks was found fatally shot outside an apartment complex early Sunday morning. Brooks’ manager, Kevin Baldwin, of the record label M.O.P3, tells The Washington Post that Brooks was better known as Swipey.

Baldwin says Swipey had already performed alongside rappers including Fat Joe and Wale, a Washington native.

“It’s just sad, he was a young man that was aspiring to be a young artist,” said Tony Redz, an on-air personality at WPGC, CBS Radio in D.C. “He’s done more in his lifetime than most artists that are 20-30-years-old.”

The video for Swipey’s song “Intro” has been viewed more than 130,000 times on YouTube and was shot in and around the Washington area.

Baldwin says Brooks graduated from high school but decided to pursue a career in music instead of attending Morgan State University.

Swipey just released his biggest mixed tape, “Sorry Not Sorry,” last month. He was featured on Good Morning Washington in June as a spotlight performer for WPGC’s Birthday Bash.

Police say they don’t believe Brooks’ slaying was a random act of violence. Officers found Swipey outside his apartment on Parkway Terrace Drive just after 1 a.m. Sunday. He was pronounced dead on scene.

“A very good artist, I definitely wish he was the next thing out of the DMV,” said DJ 320, with WINDC Radio.

DJ 320 said Swipey was just on his show last week.

He was also somewhat of a regular at WPGC, hanging out with Redz and performing on the ADHD Show.

“He performed and he put on a great show, and he stayed and shook every kid’s hand and took every picture, and that to me touched my heart,” Redz said. “I just feel like it’s a tragedy when someone has no respect for humanity or no respect for life itself.”

Swipey grew up in SE Washington and was quickly becoming a rising star.

“RIP Swipey, condolences to his family and friends that lost him as well,” DJ 320 said.

No arrests have been made. Police are working to identify the suspect(s) involved. A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest and indictment.

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Douglas Brooks

Update: 

In developing news, According toDays after Douglas Brooks was gunned down on Parkway Terrace Dr., Prince George’s police returned to the Suitland neighborhood to remind the community that a killer is still out there.

Brooks, who went by the stage name “Swipey”, was found with multiple gunshot wounds; not far from his mother’s apartment. According to Corporal Harry Bond, investigators are looking for four to five suspects in connection to the rising star’s murder. So far, a motive has not been determined.

“We want to stress to the community that we are out here doing everything we can to find the individual responsible,” said Corporal Harry Bond.

“I just hope they find who did it,” said Ava Gregory.

Fans have been flooding social media, since Brooks’ death on Sunday.

“I feel like his legacy will live on, his music will live on, because he was a great rapper,” said fan Jordan Ransom.

Glen Jones, also known as music producer “G The Mastermind”, was scheduled to work with Brooks on a new song this week and soon a new album.

“Because of how big he was getting, there’s a lot of hate in this city and we’re trying to build that unity out here, but it’s hard when….nobody wants to see you shine. It’s unfortunate,” said Jones. “It’s unfortunate that his life had to be cut short.”

There were social media rumors that Brooks’ girlfriend was involved in his murder. Detectives have interviewed her and they say she is not a suspect. So far, no suspects have been named. Anyone with information about his murder, should call police.

via WJLA7

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Douglas Brooks was a student in PGCPS recently. 

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4-year-old PGCPS Student dropped off at wrong bus stop on first day of school

– It is another school year and another round of problems for Prince George’s County Public Schools. A mother is outraged after her 4-year-old daughter was dropped off all alone on a busy road in a situation that the school district confirmed violated protocol.

“Cars were honking at my child,” said Christal Lawson, the girl’s mother. “She could have been hit, but thank God for a Good Samaritan who saw her.”

Memories of your child’s first day of school usually include bright backpacks, photos and big smiles. But for Lawson and her daughter, Symone Todd, the memory that stands out is the feeling of panic.

On Tuesday morning, the 4-year-old girl boarded the bus for her first day of pre-kindergarten. However, later that afternoon, Symone didn’t get dropped off at her stop located in a parking lot just steps away from her home.

“I looked on the bus, my child was not there,” Lawson said.

Even though Symone was wearing an identification tag with her address listed on it, she got dropped off less than a half mile away along busy Allentown Road, which she started to cross all alone trying to get home. Her mother ran to find her here and said she is glad her little girl is okay.

All pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students are supposed to be handed off to a parent. Because of the serious violation of policy, the principal of Princeton Elementary School rode the bus with Symone on the second day of class.

While the principal has been helpful, Symone’s mother said the transportation office is dodging her questions.

“I haven’t heard anything, and from what it sounds like, there is going to be nothing done,” said Lawson. “But that is not going to be the case. I’m going to take care of it. This is not the last they have heard of me.”

 

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PGCPS Head Start Had Previous Problems, Letter Says

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BOE Chair Segun C. Eubanks

Days after an investigation revealed that teachers allegedly abused and humiliated preschool children in Prince George’s County’s Head Start program, News4 has learned of past federal investigations that found issues with the program.

In 2013, a letter from Head Start to the Prince George’s County Board of Education listed several “non-compliances” within the program.

According to the letter, criminal background check files for 103 of 129 of the county’s Head Start staff were inaccurately kept and seven employees had no completed background check.

Half of the staff at the time also lacked required health exams or tuberculosis screenings, the letter said.

In addition, several classrooms had undesirable or hazardous materials such as cleaning chemicals, un-insulated hot radiators and broken toilet seats. The letter also states Prince George’s County Head Start was not properly reporting meals and snacks provided by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The program managed to keep its funding after all of the issues were corrected by January 2014.

The county’s Head Start program lost a $6.5 million federal grant on Aug. 17 after a federal investigation allegedly found poor instructor training and abuse of students.

On Tuesday, the county’s school board defended Head Start and vowed to find funding for the program.

Five school board members are calling for Board Chair Segun Eubanks and Vice Chair Carolyn Boston to step down and say the chair and vice chair did not inform the board about the investigation until just before federal funding was terminated.

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker said he has faith in Eubanks and Boston.

Source: NBC 4.

On Saturday, June 1, 2013, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III appointed Dr. Segun Eubanks as the new Prince George’s County Board of Education Chair. Dr. Eubanks was sworn-in by Prince George’s County Clerk of Circuit Court Marilynn M. Bland in the Office of the County Executive at the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro. Video of the swearing-in of Board Chair Dr. Eubanks can be seen here.

Since Segun Eubanks became the chairperson, the school system has gotten worse and there many aspects of cover up rather than address the issues heads on.

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