Outrage Grows Over School Superintendent in PGCPS.

A group of community leaders are renewing a call for the resignation of School Superintendent Kevin Maxwell following a series of embarrassing public incidents that have exacerbated an ongoing feud between outspoken elected school board representatives, appointed school board chairman Dr. Segun Eubanks and Maxwell.

Prince George’s County School Board member Edward Burroughs III (Courtesy photo)

Prince George’s County Public School Board member Edward Burroughs, currently in the middle of a public furor, after a pair of Oxon Hill High School students had their microphones turned off on June 1 when they stood to give their graduation speeches. School officials said their microphones were shut off because they had not been authorized by the school system, but instead the students were told they could speak after contacting Burroughs, who allegedly spoke with acting school principal Regena Williams. The next day Burroughs was threatened with arrest by county police officers and security at The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. to prevent him from attending graduation ceremonies at Potomac High School.

“To be surrounded by armed police like I was a criminal, like I was going to do something to hurt students and staff was humiliating,” Burroughs told reporters. “Dr. Maxwell and I have disagreed on several issues, but for him to use his position to keep me out of a school event is unacceptable.”

A staff member for the Prince George’s County Public School system told the {AFRO} that Burroughs was welcomed at the graduation, but not allowed to be on stage. He was denied entrance because they didn’t want another “disruption,” at a graduation. According to a statement from the school system, all graduations are pre-planned and Burroughs was told of the decision before the event.

Nevertheless, the two incidents have become just that.

Some community leaders are calling the incidents with Burroughs “just the tip of the iceberg” in what they see as a larger problem that centers around the leadership of Maxwell. The local branch of the NAACP, four members of the school board, several school board unions and Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-26), who represents the areas where the two high schools are located, have planned what they are calling a “Community Stakeholder Forum” on the evening of June 8 at Southern Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Temple Hills, Md.

“Our county is being held hostage by a few people making all the decisions and have totally shut out the voices of the citizens,” Muse said in a statement. “They have forced one decision after another on our citizens. Citizens no longer have a voice in who leads our school board. This establishment is the worst. I refuse to be a part of an out of control establishment.”

County Democratic Central Committee Representative and Community Activist Belinda Queen said she was disappointed with the way school officials treated Burroughs and the students.

“I didn’t like the way he wasn’t allowed in the building at Show Place Arena,” Queen told the AFRO, who said she is running for the District 6 seat on the school board against Carolyn Boston. “He hadn’t done anything wrong and school officials owe him an apology. It’s his first amendment right to speak – even if you don’t agree with him. We should make sure that this doesn’t happen at another graduation. People are not going to let this go. This isn’t going to go away.”

Burroughs captured the incident with police on tape at the arena and sent it out to local media and posted it on social media sites where it went viral. School board members often attend graduations of schools in their district to show support. No one involved with the county education system could recall another time a school board representative had been denied the opportunity to speak or be recognized at a graduation.

Just a few days earlier, Burroughs and Eubanks had a heated exchange over the school board budget and his right to question cuts by Prince George’s County Executive Rushern T. Baker, III. Burroughs said that Eubanks’ decision not to allow him speak was a conflict of interest because Baker is Eubanks brother-in law.

It is especially troubling to some because Maxwell, who is White, leads a predominately Black school system and came to the county from Anne Arundel County where many civil rights leaders questioned his ability to deal with minorities.

In addition to the Burroughs incident, the county’s public school system has also suffered from a loss of federal funding for the head start program, a series of incidents involving sexual abuse of students by staff, mold and unsafe drinking water at District Heights Elementary School and an unconfirmed report that a school official called a petition signed by more than 500 parents “silly.” Further, there are more than 900 teachers and nearly 130 bus drivers on what amounts to a professional paid timeout because of various allegations that are being investigated. One of the bus drivers, who asked not to be named, said the teachers and drivers reported to work each day and stood-by idly in a classroom. Meanwhile several parents said the students are suffering in the classroom because of a shortage of teachers.

“This is crazy,” Friendly Parent-Teacher-Student Association member Earl O’Neal told the AFRO. “We’ve got to do better. Our students deserve better. Prince George’s County is the only place where this kind of stuff can happen and nobody is fired.”

Via afro.com


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