A woman says she and her 19-year-old daughter were attacked by a group of at least 10 young people near The Foundation School on McCormick Drive in Largo. Five juveniles were arrested and charged with assault. News4’s Tracee Wilkins reports.
Those were the cries for help from parents, students, and community leaders outside District Heights Elementary School Monday night.
“I am not here to point fingers at anybody because I just want to call attention to the situation because we do want what’s best for our children,” said Lisa Gordon, whose nine-year-old son had to vacate his classroom because of problems with the air inside it.
On Monday morning, Prince George’s County School District CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell toured the school. The tour followed outrage from parents who claimed their kids and teachers were getting sick because of the air.
Testing confirmed there was inadequate ventilation, so several fans have been replaced.
“He guaranteed me today that it was 100-percent safe for the kids to come back to school,” said parent Phyllis Wright.
But the parents who showed up to Monday’s protest are still concerned their kids are in a school that is still being tested.
“Well it makes me feel sad because this is the school where our children have to come,” said Gordon.
Legislation significantly restricting the circumstances under which Maryland’s youngest students can be suspended or expelled from school is headed to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk after receiving final approval Saturday in the House of Delegates.
The Senate already had approved an identical version of the bill. Both chambers passed the legislation by veto-proof margins despite sharp opposition from some Republican lawmakers.
Del. Brooke Lierman, a Baltimore Democrat and the bill’s sponsor in the House, said she was “really proud” of the legislature for passing the bill.
The legislation allows the suspension or expulsion of students in pre-K through second grade under only the most narrow circumstances. When permitted, suspensions may only last five days. Schools will be required to provide individualized interventions for students with behavioral issues.
Lierman said state statistics showed children of color and those with disabilities were more likely to be suspended, and studies show kids who have been suspended at an early age do worse in school later in life.
“The child just isn’t able to understand what the suspension and expulsion means, and instead takes away a negative attitude about school,” Lierman said.
Under the new legislation, teachers and others will have “the tools they need to help children work through any behavioral issues they may have,” Lierman said.
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After a series of coordinated corrupt racketeering activities involving elected public officials in Maryland, the Maryland House of Delegates on Saturday gave final approval to a bill designed to strengthen the state’s ethics laws, sending the measure to Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who proposed the plan as part of his legislative agenda this year. House Bill 978 provides for stiffer penalties for bribery — a provision offered on the same morning a state senator was charged with taking cash payments in a phony development deal.
The bill, which passed the House and Senate with unanimous support, will increase financial disclosure requirements and expand the definition of what constitutes a conflict of interest for state public officials, state elected officials and lobbyists.
Hogan applauded the legislature and its Democratic leaders, House Speaker Michael E. Busch (Anne Arundel) and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (Calvert), for working with him to enact the bill.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, a Democrat, added a provision Friday to increase the penalty for bribery to up to $10,000 in fines and 12 years in prison.
“With this legislation, we are reaffirming our promise and commitment to the accountability, transparency, and fairness that the people of Maryland deserve,” Hogan said.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland General Assembly voted Thursday to override Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill that creates a formula for identifying and assisting struggling schools.
Democratic lawmakers joined the ranks of those huddled at a press conference Thursday morning before casting their final votes to override the governor’s veto of the Protect Our Schools Act.
“We’re standing with Maryland students, parents, teachers and civil rights activists. So I’ll be proud to cast my vote for an override of his veto,” said Delegate Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery County.
Supporters say the bill takes a creative approach to provide a big-picture view of how schools succeed and protects public schools from privatization.
“His narrow agenda of private school vouchers and for-profit charter schools is not supported by the vast majority of Maryland families who rely on public schools in their neighborhoods,” said Betty Weller, president of the Maryland State Education Association.
Hogan and other Republicans who oppose the bill say it’s too lax on academic performance standards and makes it difficult to fix struggling schools. The governor is also concerned that the Protect Our Schools Act will tie the hands of the state Board of Education, limiting their power in helping to improve failing schools.
The governor posted a response to the veto override on Facebook, saying:
“I’m sad for the kids they are trapping in failing schools, and concerned about losing our federal education funding. This will long be remembered as a low point in Maryland’s legislative history.“
The bill’s supporters accused the administration of taking a narrow view of how to turn schools around.
“We’re not interested in giving up our responsibility to provide a public education,” said Delegate Mary Washington, D-Baltimore City.
The governor did make good on his promise to continue funding to make vouchers available for students who want to attend non-public schools. The state’s PTA council is among those calling for unity.
“It’s not about politics. It’s about whether our children have access to strong, high-quality public schools,” said Elizabeth Leight, president of the Maryland PTA.
The measure is the Legislature’s response to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. It allows states to decide how to use a mix of test scores, academic growth and other factors to identify failing schools.
If you take the broad view of what Maryland Democrats have been doing during this General Assembly session, you’ll notice one common trend;
These are just some of a number of bills that Democrats have pushed that seeks Democratic pet projects, reward Democratic interest groups and hangers on, and remove authority from the Office of the Governor.
The unspoken meaning of all of this is that the Democrats are waving the white flag of surrender on the 2018 General Election. How so? Democrats would not be racing to take away power from the Governor, empowering the Attorney General if they truly believed that a Democrat would be sitting on the 2nd floor in 2019. The only times that the Democrats are ever interested in transferring power away the Governor is at times when the Governor is a popular Republican.
This is not the first time that we have noted that the Democrats know they have their backs against the wall in the 2018 election. Governor Hogan remains wildly popular with voters when running against “generic Democrat.” The House of Delegates have thrown up their hands and said that finding an opponent for the Governor was not their problem. And every week it seems like another pretender with no natural constituency within the Maryland Democratic party are publicly musing about seeking the Democratic nomination including Rushern Baker III.
None of this is a sign of strength for a party that has a nearly 3-1 voter registration advantage over Republicans.
The General Assembly session has been, as a whole, a disaster for the people of this state. But the political silver lining is there. Democrats know that the gig is up. They expect to lose to Governor Larry Hogan next year. And this entire session has been a very expensive and annoying exercise that has allowed the Democrats to throw in the towel on next year’s election.
DISTRICT HEIGHTS, Md. – After many parents at District Heights Elementary School voiced their concerns and anger earlier this week over what they fear is a health hazard from conditions inside their school, Prince George’s County Public Schools said independent testing performed last week found there was no significant evidence of toxic mold in the building. However, the results did find there was inadequate air quality in some classrooms.
School board members debated this issue for over an hour at a meeting on Thursday with many of them saying if they believed the kids and staff were in danger, they would have already moved them out to another school. They also pointed out to the results of the independent testing.