3-year-old PGCPS boy was left alone on school bus for hours, family says


 – A Prince George’s County family is upset after being informed by their 3-year-old son’s school that he had gone missing and was eventually found by himself on the school bus several hours later.

Every weekday at 8 a.m., 3-year-old Daquan’s grandfather drops the young boy off and waits for him to get on the bus for school at H. Winship Wheatley Early Childhood Center. The child’s grandfather told FOX 5 there was both a bus aide and a driver onboard Monday morning.

However, Daquan’s parents later got a call about their son never making it to school. It turns out he was left on the bus by himself for three hours. When school staff found him at the bus lot, he was alone crying.

The boy’s father, Daquan Bradshaw, is glad his son was found safe, but wants to know how this could have happened.

“We found out that he was all on the bus by himself for a couple of hours without anybody making sure that he wasn’t on there,” said Daquan’s father. “As of father, I was upset. I was really mad. And truthfully, I didn’t know what to think because I wasn’t sure if he was hurt or injured.”

Prince George’s County Public Schools said in a statement:

“We are currently investigating whether proper protocol was followed. We want to assure parents that we do everything we can to keep their children safe.”

In the meantime, the child’s father has filed a complaint with the school.

Via Fox5DC



Security video shows encounter that prompted Md. lawmaker’s complaint against lobbyist

A Maryland state senator and a lobbyist she has accused of harassment both released security camera video Tuesday of their recent encounter in an Annapolis pub, with each declaring the footage proves their version of events.

The video shows lobbyist Gil Genn approaching Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-Montgomery) near a crowded bar at Castlebay Irish Pub, putting his hand on Kagan’s back and moving it around.

The physical contact is brief, and it is hard to tell exactly when Genn — who previously denied touching Kagan at all — removes his hand.

At a hastily called news conference, Kagan held up her laptop to play the 86-second video, saying it showed how Genn put his hand on her back and slid “it down my body.”

“Most women who are harassed or sexually assaulted will not have access to such undeniable proof,” she said in an interview.

Genn, meanwhile, demanded an apology from Kagan, saying in a statement that the video shows “beyond dispute that I did not grab or grope her.”

“There are four-second frames which show Gil Genn put his hand around her waist while talking to her,” said Genn’s attorney, Tim Maloney. “He does not ‘run his hands down her back’ or ‘touch her tush’ at all — as Senator Kagan claimed.”

It is not clear from the video whether Kagan reacted to the contact with Genn in a negative way, which she has said in interviews that she did. She appears to pull back and avoid eye contact for a few seconds, then continues talking to Genn.

“She does not turn away or otherwise avoid him — as she claimed — but goes on to have a friendly and animated conversation for another 1 minute 21 seconds in which she laughs, gives him a thumbs up and appears engaged,” Maloney said.


Maryland State Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-Montgomery) at her desk in the senate chamber at the Maryland State House in Annapolis. (Mary F. Calvert/For The Washington Post)

The dueling accounts escalated a debate over workplace sexual harassment has that burst into public view in Maryland’s capital in recent weeks, triggering conversations in State House hallways and offices about when a touch can be considered inappropriate.

During her news conference, Kagan called Genn — who served 12 years in the House of Delegates before becoming a lobbyist — a “serial harasser,” saying other women have told her stories about him since she publicly accused him earlier this month. She did not name those women or provide specific details.

Kagan, a first-term senator who served in the House from 1995 to 2003, also said Genn inappropriately touched her stomach during a conversation in a State House meeting room while they were both delegates in the late 1990s.

Maloney said Genn “completely denies” having stroked Kagan’s stomach years ago.

“He hasn’t been in the House of Delegates for 18 years and he has been with Cheryl Kagan hundreds of times since, and never once has she complained about this. It didn’t happen,” Maloney said.

He called Kagan’s statement that she has heard from other women who say they were harassed by Genn “character assassination.”

“When and where did this supposedly happen?” Maloney said.

Kagan filed a formal complaint against Genn in connection with their March 1 encounter at Castlebay, in which she says the lobbyist put his hand on her back and “ran it down my back to my tush.”

In a statement days later, Genn strongly denied the allegation, saying he “kept his hands to myself” and spoke to Kagan for only about 10 seconds, while holding a coat and umbrella.

“I did not run my hand down her back or down to her tush,” the statement said. “And I especially and consciously avoided the all-too-common Annapolis legislative ‘hug’ many legislators use to greet one another. I did none of that in my very brief encounter with Senator Kagan. I am 100 percent certain of these facts.”

The security camera video shows their conversation lasted well over a minute. Genn does not appear to be holding anything.

On Tuesday, Maloney sent a new statement from Genn, in which he acknowledges placing his hand on Kagan’s back “for a few seconds” but denies doing anything inappropriate.

Kagan said hundreds of people have thanked her in person or on social media for coming forward with her allegations at a time when Maryland lawmakers are trying to decide how best to address sexual harassment complaints.

But she said there are others who have questioned whether the incident took place.

“Some people doubt your honesty; some made comments on my looks and possible sexual orientation,” she said. “But I’m glad I spoke out.”

As part of her complaint to the legislature, Kagan said, she plans to provide the video to the General Assembly’s director of Human Resources, which is the office in the State House designated to track and handle sexual harassment complaints.

But the legislature’s anti-harassment policy does not include adjudicating claims against lobbyists, whose conduct is governed by the Maryland State Ethics Commission. The Ethics Commission does not investigate claims of sexual harassment.

Del. Ariana B. Kelly (D-Montgomery), president of the Women Legislators of Maryland caucus, has proposed legislation that would provide a process for dealing with allegations involving lobbyists and require an independent investigator to handle some complaints.

Kelly — who has publicly written about her own experiences with workplace harassment — said Tuesday she is hopeful that the General Assembly will move forward with legislation to address those issues.

“That’s what’s in the best interest of all the parties involved,” she said.

After years in Annapolis, a Maryland senator says #MeToo


Maryland State Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-Montgomery), the first woman in Annapolis to publicly name a man in a sexual harassment complaint. (Mary F. Calvert/For The Washington Post)

It wasn’t the first time, Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-Montgomery) said, that she experienced an uninvited and inappropriate touch while working in Annapolis.

A lobbyist once grabbed her thigh while they sat in the governor’s reception room waiting for a bill-signing ceremony. Another allegedly stroked her stomach a couple of times when the two talked.

Kagan, a first-term senator who served in the House of Delegates from 1995 to 2003, did not speak up about those incidents.

But when lobbyist Gil Genn allegedly groped her this month, Kagan decided she could not remain silent, galvanized by the national #MeToo movement and the increased discussion of alleged sexual harassment in the Maryland General Assembly.


 Cheryl Kagan (left) and lobbyist Gil Genn (right). COURTESY PHOTOS 

“Unfortunately for him, he picked the wrong person at the wrong time in the wrong way,” said Kagan, 56, a longtime political and community activist who grew up in Potomac and has taught at Montgomery College and directed the Carl M. Freeman Foundation.


Maryland State Sen. Cheryl Kagan, sits at her desk in the Senate Chamber. (Mary F. Calvert/For The Washington Post)

Genn, a former delegate turned lobbyist, vehemently denied the allegations.

Kagan’s accusation launched what for Maryland is an unusual public battle over alleged harassment, pitting two well-known Annapolis personalities against one another and breaking open what many female lawmakers, advocates and General Assembly staffers have described as a pervasive culture of silence.

Kagan is the first woman in the State House to publicly accuse a man of sexual misconduct since the nation began its current conversation on harassment.

She says Genn put his hand on her back and slid it down to her buttocks when they ran into one another recently at karaoke night at Castlebay Irish Pub.

“Damn — I can’t believe it just happened again!,” Kagan wrote on Facebook hours after the alleged incident. “With all the conversation, awareness, and press about #MeToo, did a lobbyist truly just put his hand on my back and slide it down down down. . . ? #DefinitelyNOTacceptable.”

She was encouraged by followers to name names. “If not you, who? If not now, when?” one wrote.

Kagan later edited her post, adding “I am SO tempted to start naming names as a consequence!”

Top staffers for Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) saw the post, Kagan said, and encouraged her to file a complaint with Lori Mathis, the General Assembly’s manager of human resources.

Within hours the senator did so, and circulated a statement naming Genn as her alleged perpetrator.

Genn, who did not respond to multiple requests for an interview, released a three-page statement that said he attended the legislative karaoke night with his girlfriend and that he kept his hands to himself when he saw Kagan.

“I didn’t even shake her hand,” the statement said. “I assure you I did not commit the acts of which I have been accused. I welcome the opportunity to prove that truth to you — and to all others — through the due process of the complaint filed against me.”

Genn’s statement said he saw Kagan when he was leaving the reception. “There were dozens of people in the immediate vicinity walking by,” he wrote. “It was crowded and noisy. I was carrying my coat, umbrella and belongings when I left. . . I did not run my hand down her back or down to her tush.”

In an earlier interview with the Baltimore Sun, he called Kagan’s accusation “delusional,” a characterization that he apologized for in his statement.

Kagan told a much different story. She said she and her former aide, Justin Fiore, had moved to a quiet area of the restaurant to catch up with each other. The area was not crowded, she said. There was no way, in her mind, that she could have mistaken who touched her.

“Gil Genn came over to say hello, and he put his hand on my back and moved it down to my tush,” she said. “I turned my body toward Justin, kind of wanting to freeze Gil out, to send the message, ‘I’m in a conversation, leave now, please.’ ”

Fiore said he didn’t see where Genn’s hands were but did notice Kagan’s “body language and facial expression both changed at one point in the conversation.”

He said after Genn left, Kagan told him what happened. She said she then went back to the area where a few other people were gathered and told them.

“I have no stake in this,” Kagan said late last week. “Sticking my neck out is only causing me headaches, and it’s a distraction. I’d rather be talking about my 911 bills. . . I don’t want to talk about Gil Genn.”

It is not clear what will happen next. The legislature’s anti-sexual harassment policy does not cover lobbyists. The legislature’s human resources office department — where Kagan filed her complaint —handles complaints for and against legislators and staffers, but it does not specifically deal with lobbyists, whose conduct is governed by the state Ethics Commission.

Michael Lord, executive director of the Ethics Commission, said the commission does not investigate claims of sexual harassment.

Kagan said she filed the complaint with Mathis so there would be a record of it and because she did not have a better option. Since filing her complaint, Kagan said, women have thanked her for coming forward and shared their own stories of being harassed.

Del. Ariana B. Kelly (D-Montgomery), the president of the Women Legislators of Maryland caucus, said the case shows the flaws in the system and why there is a need to further update the state’s policy.

“It highlights the opportunity we have to improve our current system,” said Kelly, who has sponsored legislation that would strengthen the reporting and investigation of harassment allegations and would include sanctions for those who engage in that behavior. “Right now we don’t have a system for effectively investigating what happens with a lobbyist and holding them accountable.”

The bill had a hearing last week and must pass out of at least one chamber by March 19 to have a realistic chance of passage.

Legislative leaders said this session that they did not expect the bills put forward by the women’s caucus to pass this year. But Kelly said she has been told more recently, as the issue continues to be debated in Annapolis, that they may have a chance.

Nina Smith, a former Annapolis staffer who testified before the women’s caucus about being harassed while working in the capitol, said she was “sympathetic” to Kagan’s experience.

“One of the best ways she can help prevent something like that from happening to any of her colleagues or those working in the General Assembly is ensuring that we have a concrete bill that moves through the legislature,” Smith said. “She’s a sitting senator who can get this legislation passed.”

Kagan has made small public gestures to show her impatience with the traditional ways business is sometimes conducted in the State House, where female lawmakers remain a distinct minority even though their numbers have grown.

In 2015, her first year in the Senate, she was visibly uncomfortable with the annual Valentine’s Day ceremonies, in which Miller bought presents for and posed for a picture with the female lawmakers in his chamber, whom he often called “the lady senators.”

This year, as discussion of workplace harassment edged into the public sphere, Miller — the longest-serving state Senate president in the country — has made a significant effort to drop the “lady” honorific and address female lawmakers simply as “senator,” like he does their male counterparts.

One time when he forgot, he looked over at Kagan and said, “I’m trying.”

Via Washington Post


Top staffers for Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) saw the post, Kagan said, and encouraged her to file a complaint with Lori Mathis, the General Assembly’s manager of human resources.


Two political rivals of Rushern Baker are calling for him to fire his schools chief


Gubernatorial candidate Rushern L. Baker III is facing calls to fire his handpicked schools chief from both Democratic rival Ben Jealous. The best Baker and his so called friends can do is to interfere with the court systems in Maryland and elsewhere while maybe paying off judges. Baker and his group of supporters are also destroying Democratic Party more than ever before. He knows very well he can’t win governorship seat without public support in PG County and Maryland at large. 

Gubernatorial candidate Rushern L. Baker III is facing calls to fire his handpicked schools chief from both Democratic rival Ben Jealous and incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan (R), the latest sign that scandals in the Prince George’s school system could be a weakness for Baker — now serving his eighth year as county executive — on the campaign trail.

The school system has been roiled by a state investigation into grade-tampering, which prompted Hogan to say last week that Baker should have fired schools chief executive Kevin Maxwell “a long time ago.”

On Wednesday, a minority bloc of the Prince George’s County Board of Education leveled a new set of allegations: that several central-office employees received large, unauthorized pay raises even as a board majority rejected a budget amendment, proposed by the minority bloc, that they said would have increased teacher pay by about 4 percent.

That prompted Jealous, a former NAACP chief who has been critical of the response to the grade-tampering scandal, to call for Maxwell’s ouster.

“There is a clear and well-established pattern of gross negligence that is undermining confidence in the current leadership’s ability to respond to this crisis,” said Jealous, whose children attend public school in neighboring Montgomery County. “The buck stops with the CEO.”


Former NAACP chief Ben Jealous (photo courtesy) 

Maxwell, through his spokesman, declined to comment on Jealous’s statement. He said this week that he was “completely taken aback” by Hogan’s call for his ouster. “It’s clear that the governor is running for reelection, and that my county executive is running for governor,” Maxwell said.

Baker told Prince George’s County Community Television on Thursday that he has not “seen anything that has happened in our school system that would cause me to believe Dr. Maxwell is not moving our school system in the right direction.”

His campaign spokeswoman, Madeleine Russak, said Baker has successfully pushed for raises for teachers and principals during his tenure and has increased enrollment and lowered the dropout rate.

“Three things you can count on in life: death; taxes; and politicians calling for the resignation of the Prince George’s County School’s CEO during an election year,” Russak said in a statement. “Flippant and irresponsible intervention into the management of a complex system — one with such a huge impact on the lives of children and parents — ignores the progress achieved during the last five years.”

Baker and Jealous are considered two of the top contenders in the seven-person Democratic Party race to challenge Hogan in November. Baker led a recent Goucher College poll with 19 percent support, followed by Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz with 12 percent and Jealous with 10 percent.

But the contest remains wide open with more than three months left until the June 26 primary. The Goucher poll found that nearly half of Democrats who are likely to vote say they have no preference so far among the candidates in the race.

Former congresswoman Donna F. Edwards, who is among the Democrats vying to replace Baker as county executive, joined Jealous Thursday in calling for Maxwell to be removed.

Donna Edwards

Former congresswoman Donna Edwards 

Edwards, who has been critical of Baker’s education policies, called the pay-raise allegations “shameful” and said “it’s no wonder we’re losing talent to other jurisdictions.”

A state investigation in November found that grades were changed days before graduation for nearly 5,500 students during the past two years. Last month, the Maryland State Board of Education took the unusual step of assigning a full-time employee to track the county’s efforts to address the problem.

Jealous said the situation in Prince George’s has “glaring” similarities to that in the District, where Chancellor Antwan Wilson was forced to resign last month amid widespread attendance failures and revelations that Wilson skirted the city’s competitive lottery system so his daughter could transfer to a high-performing school.

Via Washington Post 

Read more >>> Democratic party machine in Maryland set for major losses in 2018 after coverups.


Prince George’s County teachers upset over unauthorized raises in HR department


 – Prince George’s County teachers spoke out Thursday about large, unauthorized raises for staff in the school district’s human resources department.

“It’s completely unacceptable that some in the central office got the raises under the cover of darkness,” said Yvonne Baicich, a teacher and vice president of the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association.

On Monday, school board members Edward Burroughs, David Murray and Raaheela Ahmed sent a letter to County Executive Rushern Baker alerting him that several central office employees received raises that were not approved by the school board.

The letter says the raises could have only happened “under the direction of a member of Dr. Maxwell’s executive cabinet or Dr. Maxwell himself,” and cited that some pay increases ranged from two to three steps, or 10 to 12 percent, and violated collective bargaining agreements.

FOX 5 has independently verified the raises occurred and that Dr. Maxwell, school board chair Segun Eubanks, the vice chair of the board, the assistant superintendent and others learned of the findings in mid-February. The investigation was prompted by tips to the district’s compliance hotline.

“Enough is enough!” said parent Phyllis Wright, who joined teachers and union leaders for a press conference.

Wright pointed to the central office saying, “We need to get them out of here and pay our teachers so our kids can have a productive education. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Teachers say it is especially insulting considering their previous pay freeze and hard-fought efforts to get wage increases.

“Outrageous things are going on in PGCPS,” said Ahmed.

Ahmed, Murray and Burroughs wrote in their letter that “this unauthorized pay increase issue could be more pervasive throughout central office.”

A spokesperson for Prince George’s County Public Schools confirmed that the school district is investigating. He says even though an internal audit into the human resources raises was finished last month, the investigatory process isn’t over yet.

When asked about the raises, Baker said it must be “political season in Prince George’s County.”
He said the issue is being dealt with appropriately and he still has faith in Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell.

“Just because you hit a turbulence doesn’t mean it’s time to throw the pilot off the plane,” Baker said.

Educators say what is happening is just another reason that the structure of the school system needs to revert back to having a superintendent who answers to an all-elected school board instead of a county executive who chooses the CEO and part of the board.

When asked about teachers lack of faith in the current structure, Baker said, “What I would say to that is Prince George’s County has been having issues for the last 30 years. We knew it would be difficult to turn it around. We have made progress over the last five years.”

He said he feels there is currently appropriate accountability within the school system.

Via Fox5DC  Read more >> NBC4


Former BCPS Superintendent Dallas Dance pleads guilty to perjury charges


Former Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance (center)

Former Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance pleaded guilty during his perjury trial in Towson Thursday morning.

Prosecutors said Dance pleaded guilty to four counts of perjury arising from false filings of his financial disclosure statements for 2012, 2013 and 2015.

“I think it’s just very important that this be exposed. This was just an egregious abuse of trust and to put it simply, the students of Baltimore County Public Schools and their parents just deserve better,” state prosecutor Emmet Davitt said.

Dance was superintendent of BCPS for five years, from 2012 until April 2017.

Prosecutors said although Dance filed forms under oath claiming he had no interest in any other companies and no source of outside income, he actually owned Deliberate Excellence Consulting and earned nearly $147,000 for outside work between 2012 and 2015.

The indictment alleged that Dance failed to disclose the payments on school system financial forms, and worked for SUPES Academy, which is a company for which he helped negotiate a no-bid contract with the school system.

Dance had nothing to say outside of court, but prosecutors had plenty to share with the judge during the proceedings. A good bit of the material was taken from Dance’s bank records, emails and text messages.

In one instance, referring to Gary Solomon, who ran SUPES Academy, Dance talked frequently to Solomon about his need for additional income due to his divorce.

According to court documents relating to side contracts for his consulting business, Dance said, “I appreciate your help. Keep me as busy as you can.”

Dance apparently told the school board that he had given a portion of the money to the Baltimore County Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps to support school programs and activities.

“He did indicate that some money he did admit to receiving went to the Baltimore County Education Foundation Fund, and, again, that was a false document. No money went to the Baltimore County Education Fund at all. It went to him,” Davitt said.

Prosecutors said Dance used his consultant company to attract business, a company he said he was never affiliated with.

“We set forth in the statement of fact was that Dr. Dance had put that his father owned Deliberate Excellence, but in fact that was not true,” Davitt said.

Dance was facing 40 years in prison, but since he has come clean about money he hid from the school system, he may serve much less time.

Dance’s legal team might try to get his 18-month proposed prison sentence reduced, but prosecutors said not even time served can erase the negative record he’ll leave in Baltimore County.

“The students of Baltimore County and their parents just deserve better, and they deserve transparency. They trusted this man and that trust was clearly breached,” Davitt said.

Dance, who’s now living in Virginia, is due back in court April 20 to find out how much time he’ll spend in prison.

Dance left the school district last year, one year into a four-year contract.

BCPS issues statement on Dance’s guilty plea

Baltimore County Public Schools interim Superintendent Verletta White issued the following statement following former superintendent’s guilty plea:

“We are saddened by the news but trust the judicial process. Now, we must stay focused on our students, our school system, and the important work of teaching and learning that takes place in classrooms every day. Our 113,000 students, 21,000 employees, and the Baltimore County Public Schools community deserve no less.”

via wbaltv.com




Sources: Prince George’s Co officials authorized secret pay raises for central office employees

img_2752.jpgDocumentation shows Prince George’s County school CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell, or members of his executive cabinet, directed unauthorized 10 – 12 percent pay raises for members of central office, according to three members of the Prince Georges County school board.

This comes after a four percent pay increase for teachers was defeated last month.

These raises violated the collective bargaining agreement.

Three board members, Edward Burroughs, David Murray, and Raaheela Ahmed, drafted a letter to notify County Executive Rushern Baker about the pay increases.

They are asking him to take action. In their letter they say, “In our view, there is a serious lack of basic oversight and accountability at the highest levels of the school system.”

Burroughs, Murray, and Ahmed had proposed the amendment that would have increased employee pay by four percent during the February 22, 2018 school board meeting. It did not pass, after other board members rejected the motion.

We reached out to Dr. Maxwell’s office and are awaiting a comment.

via WUSA9