Monthly Archives: March 2018

‘I’ve Personally Sacrificed My Entire Career for This’

The debate around sexual-harassment legislation is playing out in the Maryland General Assembly, where reform advocates say leadership is loath to embrace changes.

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In Maryland, legislative sessions run 90 days, from January through early April. On the final day of each session—commonly referred to by the Latin term sine die—the capital city of Annapolis lets its hair down. There is dining and dancing and parties galore as aides, lawmakers, and lobbyists celebrate having survived the season.

A few years back, at one sine die soiree hosted by a legislator, a former Annapolis aide (who requested anonymity because she remains involved in Maryland politics) took to the dance floor. “I was dancing a little bit by myself,” she recalled. “All of a sudden I hear, ‘You’re packing a little bit more than I thought back here!’ I turn around, and this legislator is dancing right behind me. I was like, ‘Ooookay. This is a little weird. I know your wife and kids.’ So I tried to subtly move away.” The legislator followed, recalled the ex-aide. And then: “He got aroused.” The young woman made a swift escape, and, she informed me, “I have not spoken to that legislator one-on-one since.”

Stories of lawmakers behaving piggishly are common around Annapolis. Like far too many workplaces, the Maryland General Assembly has a long-standing harassment problem. Aides, interns, lobbyists, members—no one is exempt, although the young and inexperienced have an especially rough time. “It was really, really hard for me during my first terms. I cried quietly to myself a lot,” recalled Ariana Kelly, now in her eighth year in the house of delegates and the chair of the legislature’s women’s caucus. Starting out, Kelly endured not only gross comments but also wandering hands, including one male lawmaker’s grabbing her butt in front of two others. “I had worked in media and the nonprofit world,” Kelly told me, “but I had never worked in an environment that I felt was as hostile to women as the legislature I walked into. It was awful.”

Such close encounters tend to be shared in whispers among the women involved. The state House is a small, insular community, and there’s institutional pressure for any misbehavior to be dealt with in-house, discreetly, so as not to invite outside scrutiny. Lawmakers say violating omerta or otherwise “stepping out of line” can bring retribution in the form of bills derailed or plum assignments denied.

“If you’re not a team player, you’re off the team,” one legislator explained of the prevailing attitude. As applied to harassment, she said, “If you’re not culpable, if you’re not actively participating in the cover up, then you’re part of the problem.”

This dynamic has made life around Annapolis awkward of late, as the “Me Too” movement has infiltrated the state House. Women up and down the political food chain are agitating for reform with increasing ferocity, opening up fault lines in the legislature and leading to all sorts of awkwardness, pushback, and friction among colleagues—at times among the reformers themselves. Such conflict, in turn, has led even more women to speak out and has drawn even more attention to some of the less savory aspects of state House culture. This, reformers say, is precisely what’s needed to bring accountability to a stubbornly closed system unable to police itself.

Some of the credit for Annapolis’s reform push must go to Donald Trump. In November 2016, spurred in part by the outcry over Trump’s Access Hollywoodtapes, the women’s caucus formed a special working group to examine harassment in and around the capitol—interviewing victims, researching best practices in other states, and hammering out policy recommendations. Those involved say that the project began slowly, with few members and zero interest from top leadership. But, later, as Me Too caught fire, the issue became impossible to ignore.

Fast forward to this February, when the caucus issued its final report. Based on those recommendations, Kelly rolled out a reform bill that she hopes to get adopted before the session ends next month. One key measure sought: establishment of an independent entity to investigate harassment complaints. (Currently, complaints go through either leadership or the legislature’s HR office.)

But change is hard. And even some folks leading this charge are skeptical that reform legislation will pass any time soon. As they tell it, leadership is too invested in the current system, too accustomed to handling such matters itself (anti-harassment measures are typically set by the legislative policy committee, headed by leaders from both chambers), and loath to embrace changes that would loosen that control. “Everything is self-policing,” said Delegate Angela Angel, who went public with her harassment experiences this month. “Even for us to get this bill out, we have to convince people, some of whom, even if they aren’t necessarily directly perpetrators, have led to this system.”

Kelly, while upbeat about her proposal’s chances in the state House, acknowledged, “The senate president was not as encouraging about its prospects.”

Complicating matters, in January, as the women’s caucus was wrapping up its probe, leadership announced it was forming its own commission to study the problem, with findings to be reported at year’s end. Senior members say the move shows how seriously leadership is taking this problem. Some reformers, however, see it as a way to slow the reform train until after the November elections—perhaps until the Me Too moment fades altogether. “It’s painted like, ‘Oh, because we really care, we really want to address the issue,’” scoffed Angel. But if they seriously want to tackle the problem, she said, “why don’t they address the work already done [by the women’s caucus] as opposed to creating a whole new entity to dilute things?”

Many women around Annapolis speak of state House leadership with a mix of fear and resignation. Presiding officers and senior committee chairmen are portrayed as untouchable and unforgiving of any perceived challenge to their authority. (Multiple calls to the offices of state Senate President Mike Miller and state House Speaker Michael Busch were not returned.)

“When you get down here, one of the very first things you learn is the seniority system,” said Angel. Young legislators are taught that relationships—especially with powerful senior members—are the key to success.

Some new arrivals also receive discreet advice from more senior women on how to avoid awkward encounters with male legislators: don’t wear this, don’t accept drink invitations from this member, don’t be alone with that one. Others are left to figure things out on their own. But the burden is always on the woman to learn “how to navigate the system,” said Angel.

Kelly recalled that, when she would (gently) chide male colleagues for crude comments or behavior, they’d “get defensive” and accuse her of being the problem. “I heard a lot [of] folks say, ‘Delegate Kelly, you need to change the way you act, the way you communicate, the way you express yourself. Clearly you are bringing this behavior out in people.’ It was always about me and what was wrong with me that I allowed myself to be in a situation where I was harassed.”

For black women, said Angel, the equation is even trickier. “You are painted into this ‘angry’ corner. I’m like, ‘Oh, you said something completely out of pocket, yet when I respond, I’m overreacting.” She recalled witnessing a male lawmaker coming on to a female colleague. When the woman called him on it, the man treated her like she was misreading the situation. “He was like, ‘I wasn’t really hitting on you. I’ve got my own [love interest]. You’re taking it the wrong way!’”Until just the past couple of months, few women would speak about such experiences—or even about the broader need for reform—on the record. In December, Nina Smith, who has held various jobs in Maryland politics over the years, tried to get women in and around the state House to sign a letter to the head of the General Assembly’s HR Office saying that, despite anti-harassment measures put in place by leadership, more needed to be done. But Smith couldn’t find any women willing to sign, even among those who had shared their stories with her and urged her to draft it. “I was getting radio silence,” she said. The fear of reprisal was too strong. Eventually, said Smith, “I gave up.” (Two months later, Smith herself went public, telling the women’s caucus about having been harassed by a half-dozen lawmakers during her time in Annapolis.)

Reform advocates told me they expect to suffer professional fallout for speaking out. “It has been heartbreaking and horrible,” said one lawmaker. “I feel like I’ve personally sacrificed my entire career for this.”

Angel said she has a “bill wall” on which she keeps track of legislation she’s championing. “I’m literally looking at it and saying, ‘What is somebody going to kill as a result of me pushing on this?’” (Angel recounted past instances when, after crossing leadership on some issue, her amendments had mysteriously vanished or been delayed for no apparent reason.)Some of the pushback is less than subtle. Kelly said some male colleagues have been grumbling that, because of the fuss she and other women are making about harassment, the men no longer “feel comfortable” meeting with them or “building the relationships needed to move forward” on issues the women care about.

Then there was the incident with the open letter. The women’s caucus report included stories from anonymous harassment victims, one of whom characterized the legislature as a “frat house.” This juicy bit was picked up by the local media, greatly displeasing some senior members.

“I’m a 56-year-old grandmother. I’m not in a frat house,” said Delegate Kathy Szeliga, who serves as whip for the Republican minority. “I’m very serious about the business of the people. I don’t want my constituents and voters in our state thinking we’re in Annapolis for 90 days having a big party.”

Szeliga and other women in leadership decided to circulate an “open letter to the press” that decried the frat-house depiction as “unfair and inaccurate,” stressed the pro-women aspects of the legislature, and praised leadership’s ongoing efforts to combat harassment. Women in both chambers and both parties were urged to sign. Fifty-seven of the assembly’s 60 women put their names on the letter, which was covered by the Washington Post , ran verbatim on the paper’s website, and, at the behest of state Senate President Miller, was read aloud on the senate floor on February 28.

Some reform advocates felt the letter was a betrayal. “It was devastating,” said Delegate Mary Washington. Washington was one of the three women who’d declined to sign, for fear it would be used to undercut the cause. “In fact that was how it was used,” she told me. “It was read on the Senate floor and was used to say, ‘See, women in leadership believe [the situation] is okay.’”

Nina Smith was so upset that she and two other reformers fired off a statement of protest, which also wound up in the news. “We are disappointed to learn so many legislators had disregarded the stories of current and former staffers,” they wrote. “With this action, many of us have been forced to relive our traumatic experiences.”

Faced with such backlash, Kelly asked that her name be taken off the original letter from lawmakers. She said she’d signed it with the hope of smoothing relations between the “two factions” of women members. “I think most people read the letter and understood you have to find a balance all the time in the legislative process,” she told me. Still, all that anger coming at her “from victims we had been trying to work with and support was really hard,” said Kelly.

But the roiling controversy seems to have fired up reformers. On March 2, a state senator and a former lobbyist became the first Annapolis women to call out their alleged harassers by name. (This has launched its own media sideshow, complete with name-calling and security-camera footage.) Three days later, Angel and two other delegates shared their stories of harassment during the state House Rules Committee hearing on Kelly’s bill.

Meanwhile, Angel says she’s hearing from victims who saw the whole letter kerfuffle as a wake-up call. “They told me, ‘What that letter showed me is that I surely can’t depend on these women to fight for me, so I’m going to fight for me.’” As a legislator, said Angel, this breaks her heart. “But it made me proud that this gave these women the fire to tell their truth. Because the truth of the matter is that no one is going to fight for you like you will.”

At the very least, all the back and forth is keeping the issue in the public eye, which reformers say is vital to effecting real change, whether by legislative or other means.

“Public pressure still may not get you the bill,” said Angel. “But it may get us to a point where we have some really frank and honest conversations. And sometimes that’s progress.”

Via theatlantic.

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Flood Jay Walkers office and let’s tell him know that he needs to let the PG House Delegation vote on the bills! Phone: 301-858-3581 | Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3581 send email to: jay.walker@house.state.md.us

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Flood Darryl Barnes’ office and let’s tell him know that he needs to let the PG House Delegation vote together with his friends! Phone: 410-841-3557 | 301-858-3557 | Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3557 send email to: Darryl.Barnes@house.state.md.us

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Flood Delegate Dereck E. Davis office and let’s tell him know that he needs to let the PG House Delegation vote! He created HB1107 law to benefit himself, his wife and his close friends. He must be part of the solution.  Phone: 410-841-3519 | 301-858-3519 | Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3519
Fax: 301-858-3558  send email to: dereck.davis@house.state.md.us

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MICHAEL ERIN BUSCH, Speaker of House of Delegates tell him that he needs to let the entire house vote together and change the culture of sexual harassment and cover up! Phone: (410) 841-3800, (301) 858-3800
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3800 (toll free)
e-mail: michael.busch@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3880, (301) 858-3880

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THOMAS V. MIKE MILLER, JR., President of Senate tell him that he needs to let the entire house vote together and change the culture of sexual harassment and cover up! Telephone (410) 841-3700, (301) 858-3700
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3700 (toll free)
e-mail: thomas.v.mike.miller@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3910, (301) 858-39108808 Old Branch Ave., Clinton, MD 20735
(301) 868-6931; fax: (301) 856-4029

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Spring Break Cut Short for Prince George’s Co. Schools

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Public school students in Prince George’s County public schools (PGCPS), Maryland, will have just one day of spring break vacation due to the snow storm.

Spring break was set for Tuesday, April 3 through Friday, April 6, but school officials say students will now go back to class on Wednesday, April 4.

The county called off school on Wednesday for the snow and again on Thursday for dangerous real road conditions.

Prince George’s County Public Schools lost six days this school year for bad weather, including Jan. 4, 5 and 17 and March 2, 21 and 22. The school calendar only plans for five bad weather makeup days and the school year must end by June 15, the school system said in a statement.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered public schools in the state to extend summer recess until after Labor Day beginning in 2017, setting off an immediate battle with school officials and Democratic legislative leaders.

Hogan (R), a moderate who has made boosting Maryland’s economy the centerpiece of his administration, said delaying the start of the school year would be good for businesses, families and the environment — because schools would not need to use air-conditioning for as many days in August.

His effort runs counter to the trend of starting school earlier in many parts of the country in an effort to bridge the racial and socioeconomic achievement gap, maximize opportunities to prepare students for standardized testing and limit the time that working families need to pay for child care.

“School after Labor Day is now the law of the land in Maryland,” Hogan said at a news conference Wednesday August 31st, 2016 in the beach resort town of Ocean City. He was flanked by Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) and Sen. James N. Mathias Jr. (D-Worcester), both longtime advocates for a later start date almost two years ago.

TAKE ACTION

On another note, call your elected officials to demand votes for change in governance in Annapolis. PGCPS system is currently going through a bad turbulence after Prince George’s County delegates engaged in bad politics in Annapolis to suppress due process. Delegate Jay Walker, Delegate Dereck E. Davis, Delegate Darryl Barnes and others are accused of  refusing to allow bills to receive a vote in Annapolis legislature. Votes which would have changed the county system to an elected Board and help fight the county corruption while improving governance. The current status quo benefits Delegate Dereck E. Davis the most as his wife is Deputy CEO of the county schools followed by Delegate Jay Walker and Delegate Darryl Barnes in that order due to quid pro quo involving the union corruption.

>>>Read more 

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Fired PGCPS guidance counselor believes he was made a scapegoat for grade-fixing scandal

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Troy Sibila, a former guidance counselor at DuVal High School in Lanham, was among five employees who lost their jobs after accusations they violated policies relating to grading and graduating students.

 – For the first time, one of the Prince George’s County Public Schools employees fired after the grade-fixing and graduation rate scandal is speaking out — saying he refuses to let the school district make him a scapegoat.

Troy Sibila, a former guidance counselor at DuVal High School in Lanham, was among five employees who lost their jobs after accusations they violated policies relating to grading and graduating students.

Three guidance counselors, the principal and assistant principal were the only employees to lose their jobs even though a state audit found widespread grade-changing and policy violations throughout the district’s high schools. The audit showed nearly a third of students surveyed didn’t have records on file to prove they earned a diploma.

Sibila is a graduate of Bowie High School who started as a long-term substitute at DuVal before becoming a guidance counselor.

“The best part is when I see a child who thinks they cannot graduate and we are there to assist them, to make sure they are college and career ready,” he said. “To have that mother or father and student give us the biggest hug during graduation.”

Sibila became a counselor in 2014, around the same time Dr. Kevin Maxwell became Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO. He said he was on board with Maxwell’s plan to boost the graduation rate, giving students every opportunity, and school leaders specific graduation rate goals. Last year, DuVal’s goal was over 95 percent. Sibila said the goals were extremely important and part of the evaluation process for counselors and administrative staff. The rates were also closely monitored by the central office staff, especially toward the end of the school year.

“We had to meet those goals,” he said. “It was per direct order from our central office team.”

Sibila’s termination letter said he went well beyond school policies to help students graduate. According to the letter, he is accused of “misconduct and willful neglect of duty” for making inappropriate grade changes and spearheading an unapproved program that let failing students pass by doing a worksheet packet.

Prince George’s County Public Schools did have an authorized program that let failing students pass by completing a worksheet packet, but it was only supposed to be for students who earned between 50 and 59 percent as a quarter grade. DuVal’s program let students below 49 percent earn as many points as they needed, according to the letter.

“This is this is something we have been doing since I have been there since 2014,” Sibila said.

He claims the central office staff who supervised the school knew exactly what they were doing.

Doris Reed, a union leader who represents the principal and assistant principal at DuVal who lost their jobs, also contends the program was in place the year prior and that the school’s instructional director and associate superintendent were “well aware” of it.

“The assistant principal, when I talked to her, she said, ‘Well, why would I think there was a problem with this program when the administration knew the year before we were using it?’” said Reed, executive director of the Association of Supervisory and Administrative School Personnel.

Reed said she does not understand why these specific employees were the only people to lose their careers over the graduation scandal.

The state audit shows Croom High School used similar methods to help students graduate by offering unsanctioned “recovery packets” at the end of the year. At Fairmont Heights High School, the audit states, “The school is not following the guidelines with regards to make up work and grade changes,” and goes on to cite inappropriate measures taken to boost students’ grades. At Largo High School, the audit discovered the guidance office was letting students donate a dollar to charity in exchange for one state-mandated learning service hour. There are countless other examples in the audit of policy violations and improper actions.

Despite that, a school district spokesman said DuVal was the only high school where “intentional” violations were found.

“If Dr. Maxwell places anyone else on administrative leave, then that is going to show it is a systemic issue,” Sibila said. “He’s not going to put anyone else on administrative leave, he’s not going to fire anyone else. He’s hoping that DuVal High School is going to be a scapegoat. And I’m here to fight for my professional counselors as well as my administration.”

“People get so furious that we are talking to press, like I’m talking to you today,” said Reed. “Where else are people going to go?  It has to be told. These things have to be exposed.”

When Sibila went back to DuVal to get his belongings, he got to see a few students. He said he never thought this is how he would say goodbye.

“I cried,” he said. “This really impacts my professional duties to my students, I feel like I let them down.”

He said he plans to fight for his job and appeal his firing to the Board of Education.

On FOX 5 Morning, we asked Dr. Maxwell about Sibila’s claim he is being scapegoated.

“I would just say to you, ‘Look, you and I, neither one of us have all of the interviews, all the due process work that was done to make those decisions,” Maxwell said. “But I respect the rule of law and if there’s an appeal that is overturned, there’s an appeal that is overturned. But people should do the right thing. We have been working very hard to make sure that everyone is trained in what the process and procedures are and we expect them to do the right thing. Not what they are told to do if it’s wrong.”

A school district spokesman said Prince George’s County Public Schools is not looking to fire other employees as a result of the audit findings. Dr. Maxwell has said that neither he nor anyone from his staff directed grade changing or any improper action.

Via Fox 5DCStill0315_00001_1521087307051_5105498_ver1.0_640_360

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PGCPS Teachers, Administrators, support staff and citizens – flood Jay Walkers, Darryl Barnes, Derick Davis Offices to demand Delegation votes!

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Flood Jay Walkers office and let’s tell him know that he needs to let the PG House Delegation vote! Phone: 301-858-3581 | Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3581 send email to: jay.walker@house.state.md.us

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Flood Delegate Dereck E. Davis office and let’s tell him know that he needs to let the PG House Delegation vote! He created HB1107 law together with his friends to benefit him and his wife.   Phone: 410-841-3519 | 301-858-3519 | Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3519
Fax: 301-858-3558  send email to: dereck.davis@house.state.md.us

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Flood Darryl Barnes’ office and let’s tell him know that he needs to let the PG House Delegation vote together with his friends! Phone: 410-841-3557 | 301-858-3557 | Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3557 send email to: Darryl.Barnes@house.state.md.us

According to Senator Anthony Muse …… We have to get this bill out. This is wrong. That watered down bill is not what the people asked for it is what party bosses put together to say they did something. We need help for the people!!!!!!!

When it comes time to vote in June, we Democrats must vote for change! Don’t fall for these slick incumbent sample ballots being passed around.

It’s very sad most and if not all the incumbents received an endorsement from the PGCEA Teacher Union. Flood their offices and let them know that they need to let the PG House Delegation vote on the following bills;

  • *HB196 was the full repeal. HB186 & HB207 also relate to pieces of PGCPS Board of Ed governance.

Read more >>> The worst kept secret in PGCPS is at Laurel High School. 

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Major bribery in a form of breakfast at TGI Friday’s in Forestville, Maryland – Exposed.

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Major bribery in a form of breakfast at TGI Friday’s in Forestville, Maryland – Exposed.

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‘Work-to-rule’ teacher protest begins at Prince George’s schools

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WASHINGTON — The Prince George’s County school system said teacher attendance was fairly normal on the first day of a “work-to-rule” protest organized by the teachers’ union that was also said to include a “sickout.”

For at least the next two weeks, teachers in Prince George’s County have been urged by their union only to do the work that’s required under their contract, and nothing more, such as volunteer activity.

Kevin Maxwell, the school system’s chief executive officer, sent a letter to school principals on Friday advising them of the union’s job action and warned that some teachers might also conduct a sickout.

School system spokesman John White said on Monday that teacher attendance was roughly normal, although 28 teachers were absent at Friendly High School, in Fort Washington, and the school system will investigate.

“We don’t want to deny leave for anyone who is legitimately sick,” said school system spokesman John White, “but in the state of Maryland, a ‘sickout’ is against the law.”

“We plan on working to rule for at least the next two weeks and, if necessary we will continue on,” Theresa Mitchell Dudley, president of the Prince George’s County Educators Association, said Saturday. “We’ve asked our members to meet each other in the morning in the parking lots, walk in when it’s time to go to work, and when our 7 1/2-hour duty day is done they get to leave.”

On Monday, Dudley said the union was “absolutely not” planning a sickout, and told teachers that such an action was “not a protected activity.”

On Monday afternoon, Maxwell released a statement on the teacher absences, saying they were lower than previous weeks.Teachers are protesting for several reasons, including what the union calls “secret pay raises” allegedly given to some central office workers. The union claims that since a law was passed in 2013, the elected school board has had progressively less power, while the appointed CEO gets more and more.

“We will take a closer look to make sure that same-day requests were submitted in line with our protocols and review each school’s final attendance rate,” he wrote in the statement.

White points out that teachers got a raise of at least 3 percent in January, and that they’ll get another of the same size in November.

“The structure in Prince George’s County Public Schools is broken,” Dudley said.

Via WTOP

Read more >>> The worst kept secret in PGCPS is at Laurel High School. 

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Teacher ‘sick out’ in PGCPS does not materialize fully. Pockets of Impact.

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Prince George’s County schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell sent a warning to all principals

 – A teacher “sick out” that school officials prepared for never materialized on Monday in Prince George’s County.

Last week, Prince George’s County schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell sent a warning to all principals that they should be prepared for the possibility of a teacher ‘sick out’ even though it is not supported by the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association. “Although PGCEA has stated it does not support ‘unprotected actions’ such as ‘organized sick out,’ some employees are planning a ‘sick out’ on Monday,” his letter said. “You may want to prepare for higher than usual teacher absences.”

Talk of the “sick out” was prompted by unauthorized raises given to four employees in the District’s central office. FOX 5’s Melanie Alniwck reports that Maxwell told FOX 5 that one person is being investigated for those pay raises.

Alniwck reports that a school spokesperson said teachers just negotiated a new contract with a three percent raise in January and another three percent coming in November.

PGCEA called for a “Work to Rule” action, from Monday through the school spring break on March 30. The action advises teachers not to do anything beyond their required duties, including after school activities teachers aren’t being paid to supervise.

Via Fox5DC

OPINION 

There were pockets were impact was felt such as Friendly High School, Oxon Hill middle School, Perrywood Elementary, Fairmont Heights High School, Gwynn Park high school  etc. Many Union members and some parents in Prince George’s County do not support the “work to the rule” action. It is not impactful enough as it would have been with the sick out. There are not enough after school activities to make a huge difference.  The only activities in high schools and middle schools where the staff involved are paid and it has been agreed they will work normally.

However, we not surprised by the change of tactics by the corrupt union in Prince George’s county. PGCPS teachers “no extra work” rather than standing up for themselves are scared to death, one parent said this Monday afternoon.

You should read PGCEA’s response to the sick out. (See attached below) It was not supportive at all. If read it. You see,  the PGCEA union does not support the sick out.

Also the name of the teacher who initiated the walkout is named Megan Weems. She changed the walkout to the work to the rules protest after not getting support by any of the unions. It’s possible she might have been pressured as well.

The problem with current hybrid board with the county Executive in charge has created problems since there are no checks and balances between the Maryland legislature, the Maryland judiciary and the Executive (Prince George’s county government). Most judges are approved by the legislature and so the conflict of interest is widespread for PGCPS to solve problems. The walk out would have send a strong message to help fix the issues.

Based on the information received, PGCEA members at Perrywood Elementary school appeared to gather and then walking in together in solidarity working to rule walking in together on time and leaving on time!  It will be interesting to see if this translates into anything but we have doubts. It is not enough to “work to the rule”. We have done it before in the past and it came to nothing. The unions know this as well.

PG parents, support the role of the teacher and the extra ordinarily efforts they put to make leaning meaningful. Teachers use their own money to buy extra supplies without refunds. In Prince George’s County, Teachers and other staff members  do deserve a raise and environment without hostility after filing grievances.

 

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Prince George’s County teacher ‘sick out’ does not materialize

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Ms. Yolanda Rogers of Concerned Parents of PGCPS Students. …” You should’ve read PGCEA’s response to the sick out. It wasn’t supportive at all.”

 

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Extramarital Affair In Laurel High School a cause for concern for the community.

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Deborah Hayes Toppins is involved in a major conflict of interest involving the Principal Dwayne Jones at Laurel High School. Both Mr. Jones and Sgt. Debra Toppins have been in illicit affair for years causing issues at Laurel community for sometimes and lack of oversight. Ms. Toppins and Mr. Jones misuses their positions to influence Laurel Police and help cover up crimes. An independent school resource officer is required for Laurel High school who has no ties to the couple.

Last week on or around March 12th, 2018, there was a protest in Laurel High School concerning a movie screened to the staff by Deborah Hayes Toppins. The protest, which was covered by NBC 4, highlighted concerns on violence episodes which triggered grievances by the staff. However, the media failed to pick up the underlying issue concerning an illicit affair involving Principal Dwayne Jones and Head of Security Deborah, Hayes Toppins, which has been ongoing for years and which led to major lawsuit currently in Federal court due to misconduct involving the same couple among others.

To fall in love with your officemate or co-worker is something beyond question of your employer, superior, or even colleagues as it is none of their business. But to have an illicit affair within your workplace, that is another story.

Extra-marital relationship between co-employees is not uncommon. It exists in every workplace and the truth is, even their colleagues or superiors tolerate the same. Organizations such as PGCPS usually does not discourage any romantic relationship between office staff. However, neither tolerates any illicit one as the same is viewed as reflective of the organization’s image and reputation especially by the judging public.

As the employees engage to plan on working to rule for at least the next two weeks, this is one school which will need extra attention for many years if there are no changes made due to shenanigans. Principal Dwayne Jones is very influential as he is the President of ASAP Union with strong links to CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell himself due to his position.  There should be no special treatment of any employee irrespective of their positions. The previous President of Association of Supervisory and Administrative School Personnel (ASASP) President Mr. James Smallwood promoted hostile work environment at Largo High School and other schools. Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) was sued in Federal court and lost the case and settled others due to similar misconduct.  ASASP union is controlled by a clique of connected friends and has had only two Presidents, (Principal Dwayne Jones and Mr. James Smallwood). Their activities are self serving and not always in the best interest of the public.

More to come

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Dwayne Jones (seen above) is involved in a major conflict of interest involving Head of security at Laurel High School. Mr. Jones and Sgt. Debra Toppins have been involved in illicit affair for years causing issues at Laurel community for sometimes and lack of oversight. Ms. Toppins and Mr. Jones misuses their positions to influence Laurel Police and help cover up crimes. An independent school resource officer is required for Laurel High school who has no ties to the couple. Dwayne Jones also controls ASASP Union as it’s President, so he has been getting away with murder.

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Major ‘Sickout’ still planned for Monday

pgcps-busesLetters sent say it’s illegal and violates their contract, but plenty of teachers are fed-up and still plan to participate in an organized “sickout.” That’s what one teacher told WUSA 9 on camera Sunday.

That teacher is Arun Puracken. When WUSA 9 asked him what he’s planning on doing come Monday, Puracken said, “I’ll call tomorrow if I feel sick.”

When asked how many teachers will do so in protest, Puracken responded, “I’m not sure. I think if people are feeling sick tomorrow, they’re going to call out.”

Why do so if there’s questions about contract violations?

“When people feel backed up against the wall. Right? Like they have nowhere else to turn, they’re going to do whatever they have to do,” said Puracken.

Puracken says he’s a 7th and 8th grade Prince George’s County teacher at Accokeek Academy and active union member who says he could make more money teaching in D.C. or Montgomery County.

When asked why he does not do so then, Puracken said, “Because I love Prince George’s County and I don’t want to leave.”

He added, “And they’re good things happening at the Prince George’s County Public Schools, but at the core, we talk about compensation, and you are purposefully not paying me what I should be getting paid and when you can, it’s a slap in the face.”

You could hear it in his voice, Puracken one of the many educators angry over the news that broke last week, saying multiple Human Resource employees had received up to 12% pay increases in secret, while a proposal to give teachers raises failed.

RELATED: ‘Sick Out’ organized for Monday after Prince George’s Co. teachers learn of secret pay raises

We’re told that several teachers plan to call-out sick and attend a “Fix the Fund” rally in Annapolis.

However, that’s not all. Their union, the Prince George’s County Educators Association, has called for a protest under something called “Work to Rule.”

It’s where teachers go in together at their start time and leave together after. This means they won’t stay for extra activities they may not be paid for, like monitoring buses or tutoring.

“Teachers, they do so much more than what is what’s on their negotiating agreements,” said Puracken. PGCEA plans to keep the “Work to Rule” in place for about two weeks – until the start of Spring Break.

Via wusa9  Read more >>> FOX5DC

 

 

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‘Sick Out’ organized for Monday after PGCPS teachers learn of secret pay raises

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Teachers in Prince George’s County are calling for a “Sick-Out” on Monday, after new details of a secret pay raise scandal continue to come to light.

According to a post on Facebook, teachers want to start a “grassroots protest against the alleged misuse of funds.”

Some teachers told WUSA9 instead of attending school on Monday, they plan on attending the “Fix the Fund” rally in Annapolis. Teachers said buses from Prince George’s County are being organized to help transport teachers.

No word yet on how many teachers are participating and if it will affect classes on Monday.

WUSA9 learned Friday that several Human Resource employees received up to 12 percent raises, while a proposal to give teachers a raise failed.

According to an internal audit, six human resource employees received improper raises between July 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017.

One human resource employee’s salary was bumped from $94,000 to $106,000, an increase of 12 percent, without approval from the board. Another employee went from $99,000 to $108,000, a 10 percent raise, that was not approved. A third employee went from $67,000 to $75,000, an 11 percent raise.

Prince George’s County school officials say a “sick out” would be against Maryland law.

In a statement, John White, Prince George’s County Spokesperson said the following:

“It would also violate the collective bargaining agreement between the Prince George’s County Educators Association and Prince George’s County Public Schools. It could be grounds for disciplinary action against individual employees as well as sanctions against the union. It would also be unfair to students.”

via WUSA9

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