Reform Sasscer movement has learned that there have been attempts to silence board member Edward Burroughs for speaking out the truth on what is right. So what was the majority of the members of the Prince George’s County Board of Education doing when the stories of violence and truancy were really starting to heat up at High point High school? Well, they were not protecting the students if reports from several Maryland Delegates and a leader of the PTA are true.
After spending months and weeks trying to get Superintendent Dr. William Hite and Board Member Rosalind Johnson to move on reports of daily fights and high truancy at High Point High School, parents and community leaders turned to writing the entire board and even members of their delegation to the General Assembly. Of the nine elected Board members only one responded to their concerns, Honorable Edward Burroughs, and he paid the price for it after he was censured unfairly recently.
Several parents who are members of the High Point High School PTA reported and it was later confirmed by several members of the Maryland General Assembly that after people in the community sent numerous emails asking for help, only Edward Burroughs agreed to assist. The parents said their emails outlined documented instances of students seen arriving at High Point High School, getting off the bus and entering the community through the bush, and then returning to the school at the end of the day to take the bus home. Burroughs who formerly served as a two-term student member of the board was elected as a full member from District 8 last year decided to see for himself if the reports were true when he went to the school a few months ago. After seeing that they had not misled the board but the board was being misled by Ms. Rosalind Johnson and William Hite Jr. EdD, parents said they had learned Honorable Edward Burroughs had been censored unfairly. The board took the vote in a closed meeting supervised by Hite after saying Burroughs violated board policy for going to the school without the approval of the superintendent Hite who controls the whole board with much sway. This was shocking to the parents and students who regarded Edward Burroughs as a hero for saving the children. Everyone reform Sasscer Team interviewed asked “how are board members supposed to oversee the school system if they need administration approval to go to the schools?” Board members should be free to visit schools and observe without any restrictions. After all, they are elected unlike William Hite EdD.
After interviewing the PTA leader, she indicated that she was told numerous times by her board member Rosalind Johnson and William Hite Jr. EdD that the situation at the school was under control and their concerns had been “over stated”. However, according to our confirmed sources, the situation is still fluid months later even with the new Principal. She went on to say that Mr. Burroughs has not confirmed to them that he was in fact censored but they have confirmed the information much like we have from several members of the House of Delegates close to Mr. Burroughs and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP –Prince George’s Branch).
Prince George’s County Superintendent William Hite and District 1 Board Member Rosalind Johnson have been under fire for months from community leaders after a video of a hallway fight ended up on Youtube. School Board leaders Verjeana Jacobs currently on maternity leave chairs the group and Donna Beck who is the Vice-Chair have also been facing complaints for their lack of action to respond to the reports before they made television and media reports. Another parent reported being told my members of the board they wanted to come to the school to investigate their claims but policy prohibited them from visiting schools to observe without approval from the corrupt superintendent. The same applies to Laurel and Largo High Schools which are the epi center of corruption affecting the students and staff throughout the District with a blind eye of the same Supritendent Hite. (Read the blog here).
Last spring, William Hite EdD announced he was replacing Principal Michael Brooks with Assistant Principal Rebecca Garcia. In a letter to the parents, the superintendent wrote the school system planned to conduct a national search for a full-time replacement who “has experience in addressing the issues at hand, and who will best serve the diverse student population at High Point High School”. The May 16, 2011 letter advised that Principal selection process was going to be done following a new Board Policy, administrative Procedure Number 4113, “to ensure that the community, including staff, parents, community groups and high school students (for high school principals) are involved and participate in the principal selection process.” However, this process is not transparent as William Hite EdD wants the public to believe. He has much say on who becomes the principal no matter what the public wants. This is very unfair to the students, staff and citizens of Prince George’s county who are being blackmailed by William Hite EdD. This is how corruption spreads, one parent added. We agree with her! The next election cycles in 2012 as well as 2014 will be based on transparency and accountability issues. Board members who have solid record in fighting corruption and for standing up for what is right will be re-elected. We can not have situations involving a gang of senior management in PGCPS practicing professional misconduct, corruption and nepotism without accountability. Citizens of Prince George’s county have had enough with this PGCPS mess and cover ups with Superintendent Hite – another parent added.
Requests for comment from Edward Burroughs and school system administrators have not been returned. We held this story in order to work hard to get a comment from the board of education or Mr. Burroughs but none have been supplied.