Tag Archives: morally dead situation

Activists, parents call for change within the PGCPS system

 

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Activists, parents call for change within the Prince George’s County school system (ABC7)

UPPER MARLBORO, Md.  — About 20 activists rallied for change in front of the Prince George’s County Administration Building on Monday in Upper Marlboro.
 

The activists say problems have grown too many and too great for the current leadership of the system.

“We’re tired of the stale baked goods,” said Jacques Chevalier. “We’re tired of Mr. Maxwell, who is not fulfilling what he needs to do in Prince George’s County as head of the school system.”

“We’ve had one scandal after another and now we are at a point where the scandals involve the abuse and molestation of children,” said Tonya Wingfield.

Charles Nichols was among the marchers. He says his four-year-old, special needs son was molested by a school bus aide in an incident that is now being screened by the Maryland State Attorney’s office for possible charges.

Nichols spoke openly for the first time at the rally.

“I’m out here as a father trying to speak for my son,” said Nichols. “The bus aide that molested my son is still walking around, nobody has been charged.”

In addition to the ousting of school system CEO Kevin Maxwell, the group wants to repeal the 2013 law, which gave County Executive Rushern Baker control over the school board and the system CEO.

In response, Baker issued a statement saying his leadership is making the system better academically.

Via WJLA
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Timeline reveals depth of Prince George’s head start crisis

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UPPER MARLBORO (WUSA9) – From allegations of child abuse, to cries of “cover up”, the Prince George’s County School system has been upended by a scandal in the Head Start program that forced federal officials to take over, and cost the a county $6.4 million grant.

Here is a timeline that helps explain how school officials kept an allegedly abusive teacher working with children while failing to meet federal demands to protect children’s safety.

THE INCIDENT

Dec. 17, 2015: A Head Start teacher at the H. Winship Wheatley Early Education Center in Capitol Heights, Md. allegedly humiliates a 3-­year-­old boy who wet himself during naptime. The teacher is accused of forcing the child to stand in front of his classmates with wet clothes on. She is accused of forcing him to mop up urine while she takes photos. She sends the photos and mocking texts to the child’s mother.

WORKER ACCUSED OF DISCOURAGING REPORT

Dec. 22, 2015: Victim’s mother discusses her concerns with a Head Start Family Service worker but is discouraged from reporting the incident, according to a federal report.

FIRST REPORT KEPT “IN HOUSE” DESPITE THE LAW

Jan, 12, 2016: The mother has a change of heart and formally reports the incident to the Family Service Worker. Despite a law requiring immediate reporting to Prince George’s County Child Protective Services or police, the worker keeps the matter in­house by sending an email reporting a “Parent Concern” to Principal Julie Orgettas and Head Start Program director Sandra Kee.

TEACHER PLACED ON LEAVE, BUT NOT FOR LONG

Jan. 14, 2016: The Wheatley teacher is placed on administrative leave.  She will be reinstated and moved to another school within a month and will continue to work with children even after federal investigators begin an inquiry and confirm the allegations.

VICTIM’S MOM TELLS TOP OFFICIALS EARLY ON

Jan. 19, 2016: The victim’s mother sends an email, including screen­grabs of the abusive photos and texts throughout the administration of the Prince George’s County School System. Recipients include: School System CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell, program supervisor Laura Barbee­ Matthews, area instruction director Dr. Judith White, and Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Gladys Whitehead.

OUTSIDE AUTHORTIES FINALLY NOTIFIED

Jan. 20, 2016: The abuse incident is formally reported to Prince George’s County Child Protective Services by the school system, 8 days later than legally required.  While CPS does not return a finding against the teacher, her actions appear to have violated Head Start and PGCPS policies against bullying students and taking and sharing photographs of children.  Even so, she is cleared to return to the school.

VICTIM’S MOM APPLIES FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

Feb. 8 2016: With the teacher off suspension, the victim’s mother swears out peace order against teacher to prevent her from entering the building where the child is, according to Maryland court online records.

HEAD START OFFICIALS NOTIFIED

Feb. 10, 2015 PGCPS Head Start Director notifies Head Start Regional office of the incident.

“SHE WILL BE MISSED”: TEACHER IS TRANSFERRED

Feb. 19, 2016: The teacher is assigned to work at a different Early Education Center.  An announcement to parents from Principal Orgettas to parents says, “She will be missed, but we wish her well with this new opportunity.”  While no longer being paid from the federal Head Start grant, the teacher remains an employee of PGCPS and is assigned to work directly with children.

FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS GO TO WORK

Feb. 22, 2016: A federal investigation is launched by the US Administration for Children and Families. This is the same day PGCPS announces the formation of a school safety task force as the system grapples with allegations that teacher’s aide Deonte Carraway produced child porn at the Sylvania Woods Elementary School

SCHOOL OFFICIALS ACCUSED OF BLOCKING PROBE

Feb. 23, 2016: Federal investigators demand documentation on the school system’s reports to Child Protective Services but school officials “refused to provide the information”, according to the investigators’ report.

TOP OFFICIALS NOTIFIED OF DEFICIENCIES BUT TEACHER STILL ON THE JOB

Feb. 29, 2016: Prince George’s County Public Schools is formally notified by the US Administration for Children and Families that the report of abuse is confirmed. A demand to correct “deficiencies” is included in the report. Among the recipients of the report is PGCPS CEO Kevin Maxwell. The teacher in the matter remains on the job at her new assignment.

PGCPS NEEDS MORE TIME

March 4, 2016: Extension requested to submit corrective action plan, which was subsequently granted.

PGCPS TRIES TO CORRECT PROBLEMS

Mar. 10, 2016: As part of an effort to comply with the Federal findings, at least 10 Head Start teachers and staff get retrained on confidentiality rules.

PARENT COUNCIL BRIEFED ON SITUATION

March 16, 2016: The Head Start Advisory Council, a group made up of parents, holds a meeting and discusses the federal findings, according to minutes of the meeting.

ALLEGATIONS OF A “COVER-UP”

April 7, 2016: PGCPS CEO Maxwell’s Chief of Staff George Margolies sends an email to a deputy superintendent reporting that he has successfully prevented a Board of Education member from putting the Head Start Advisory Council’s minutes on the agenda for public discussion in an upcoming Board meeting. Opponents will later seize on this as proof of an attempted “cover­up” at the highest levels. Maxwell denies this. He says the email was taken out of context and, in fact, it was a discussion about how to handle reporting of various matters to the Board of Education over a period of years without clogging the Board’s agenda.

THE CLOCK IS TICKING

April 11, 2016: The deadline set by federal investigators for the correction of deficiencies.

April 12-14, 2016:  Federal follow-up inspections occur which determine deficiencies are not corrected.  PGCPS officials claim they were not notified of these findings until August.

NO PUBLIC DISCUSSION AT BOARD OF EDUCATION

April 14, 2016: Board of Education meets but does not discuss Head Start in public session. The minutes of the Advisory Council are posted on­line as “follow up items” and go unnoticed by the public and press. Board Chairman Dr. Segun Eubanks later says the board was briefed on Head Start during a private executive session that some members did not attend.

PGCPS GRAPPLES WITH CRISIS

May 31, 2016: The School Safety Task Force formed after the Deonte Carraway child porn case releases 61 recommendations including calls for better background checks, supervision and training of staff.

MORE NEGLECT AND ABUSE DISCOVERED

June 9 , 2016: An unattended 5­year old wanders away from the Langley Park Head Start program and arrives home alone.

June 15, 2016: Head Start teachers at the James Ryder elementary school are accused of humiliating and abusing preschoolers by forcing them to hold boxes of heavy books overhead as punishment.

June 10­-17, 2016: A federal follow up investigation determines new deficiencies are present and others remain uncorrected.  PGCPS officials say they were not informed of this until August.

THE HAMMER FALLS

Aug 12, 2016 The US Administration for Children and Families formally notifies the PGCPS that it’s $6.4 million Head Start grant is suspended because of the system’s failure to protect children. The report notes that some PGCPS officials refused to provide requested information during the investigation.  A process begins to transfer the management and budget of Prince George’s County Head Start to a Denver­-based contractor.

TEACHER SUSPENDED AGAIN NOW THAT CASE IS PUBLIC

August 18, 2016:  The teacher in the December abuse incident at the Wheatley school is placed on administrative leave for a second time.  This time she will be recommended for firing.

SCHOOL CEO STRUGGLES WITH QUESTIONS

Aug. 23, 2016: At a press event on first day of school, Maxwell says he didn’t know about the Head Start situation until “sometime in April”,  Despite federal records showing he and other top officials were notified on February 29.  Maxwell says: “We’ve had a very small number of people make a very large number of people look very poorly.”

PGCPS THOWS IN THE TOWEL

Aug. 25, 2016: The Prince George’s County Board of Education votes not to appeal the Head Start grant suspension which will allow PGCPS to negotiate an interim operating agreement and leaves open the door to re-apply for the grant in the future.

BACK TO SCHOOL

Aug 29, 2016: Head Start’s first day of school.

TEACHERS AND STAFF FIRED

Sept 1, 2016 Maxwell announces that 6 employees involved in the scandal, including the teacher in the Wheatley incident have been put on administrative leave. He says he has fired 3 and recommends 3 others for immediate firing by the Board of Education.

CEO FACES QUESTIONS

Sept. 20, 2016:  Maxwell tells a WUSA9 reporter that “the teacher was immediately moved out of Head Start Program” in the early days of the scandal.  He did not mention she was merely transferred off the Head Start Grant and continued to work as a PGCPS teacher at another school.

TOP STAFFER FIRED

Sept. 21, 2016:  Chief of Staff George Margolies is fired after his email is leaked to WUSA9.

CALLS FOR CEO TO RESIGN AND AN OUTSIDE AUDIT

Sept. 22, 2016:  As dissident Board members call for Maxwell to step down, PGCPS announces it will request an independent audit of the situation from the Maryland State Department of Education.

via wusa9

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On Sept. 21, 2016:  PGCPS Chief of Staff George Margolies was fired after his email was leaked to WUSA9 for engaging in misconduct and cover ups .

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A major protest is scheduled for Monday September 26th, 2016 in Upper Marlboro

Education advocates are planning a major rally in Prince George’s County Maryland in an effort to repeal legislation that essentially provided majority oversight of the Prince George’s County Public Schools to the County Executive Rushern L. Baker III.

The protest is scheduled for Monday September 26th, 2016 during the day from 11am-12:30pm in Upper Marlboro Maryland. Protesters are asked to converge at THE CAB, LOWER LEVEL, ACROSS FROM THE LAKE facing the Prince George’s County Headquarters. This event is open to the public and the organizers are asking the members of the public to BRING PROTEST SIGN to help Repeal HB 1107 and to help address other issues.

The questions:

(1) Why repeal legislation that has only been on the books for just over 3 years?
(2) What are the alternatives? And what impact would a change in the law again have on student achievement?

You are invited to listen to  Rosalind JohnsonTonya Wingfield and others who are lead coordinators for the upcoming rally.

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Former PGCPS aide confesses to child porn charges

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Prince George’’s County police say Deonte Carraway, 22, abused at least 17 children. According to police, he made sexually explicit videos of children at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School in Glenarden, where he worked as a volunteer teacher’s aide. (Prince George’s County Police Department via AP)

By Dennis Foley | @djfoleyWTOP

WASHINGTON — A former Prince George’s County school aide accused in federal and state court of taking and receiving nude photos and videos of his students at school confessed to the crime while being questioned by police.

Deonte Carraway was questioned by detectives in early February after a family member noticed a 9-year-old sent a nude photo to Carraway through the Kik messenger app.

Carraway was arrested the next day and brought in for questioning.

Within five minutes of the interview beginning, the former school aide admitted to asking the 9-year-old to send him a naked photo, according to documents filed in federal court last Friday. Carraway, who consented to being questioned without a lawyer, also agreed to let investigators search his two cellphones.

Over the span of five hours, Carraway answered questions from two detectives and completed a written statement in steps throughout the interview, detailing his interactions with the students.

During this interview, the former school aide named five students he had solicited and received photos and videos of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. He told detectives that in order for the students to be part of the group, they had to watch video of Carraway touching himself inappropriately.

While Carraway admitted to the child pornography, he said that he never had physical contact with the children.

In his written statements, he noted, “I knew what I did would come to light” … “God is mad at me” … and “I know I messed up.”

In the final portion of his written statement, after detectives learned of additional phones and bags that were used by Carraway, offered a final confession. Here are portions of it from the court documents:

“Okay, it’s time I told the truth yes I have videos and yes you will find some on my orange phone basically the same ones. How I get the videos is the kids would send them in the Chat. I would hide them but I really do care for the children. I know it was wrong, I’m a bad person, I’m no child of god for doing this, I know I’m grown. I made a lot of mistakes ….

I only got the orange, white, and little tracfone [phones]. It’s true I directed one video the rest of the videos the kids recorded their selfs…..

you will find videos of the group ….

the videos you see me in are the ones I already had saved in my phone. No matter what the kids say, I have the videos of the group. Everything the group did was recorded, either if its Play fighting, sexual, hide and seek, tag ….

I take full ownership for making A.K.A [the child porn group] and I’m sorry for that ….

For some of the videos the kids used their tablets or cell to send the videos to me and the one at the school was my phone. I know I’m older and I knew it was wrong because kids don’t know better and I just lost it and now it don’t look good on my part.”

Detectives would continue to question Carraway for another four hours.

While Carraway says he did not physically engage with any of the students, prosecutors say at least one victim said the former school aide performed oral sex on him.

Investigators also learned that Carraway provided cellphones to some of the children so they could record themselves. The students also told police the former school aide had at least 10 cellphones that he would hand out to the students at the beginning of the day to record their “dares.” The phones were returned at the end of the day.

Prosecutors say Carraway told the students this activity was a “secret” and would make fake calls to 911 to scare them.

Some of the students used devices provided by parents to communicate with Carraway. Some parents told prosecutors they don’t know from where their children got their cellphones.

The documents filed last week were in response to pretrial motions filed by the defense to suppress Carraway’s statements and the evidence found on two cellphones. The prosecution argues Carraway was in full compliance and signed waivers agreeing to speak with detectives without a lawyer.

Carraway faces eight federal child pornography charges. He also faces an additional 270 charges of child abuse and child pornography in Maryland.

via WTOP
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Police ‘methodically’ investigate molestation of child on PGCPS bus

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Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Kevin Maxwell speaks at a meeting with parents at James Ryder Randall Elementary School in Clinton, Maryland. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

CLINTON, Md. — Accusations that a Prince George’s County Public Schools bus aide molested a child on a bus prompted a criminal investigation, and Thursday night, police provided concerned parents with an update.

A bus aide for James Ryder Randall Elementary School in Clinton is accused of abusing a 4-year-old boy, and police have video evidence from the bus.

But Prince George’s County Police Capt. Denise Giannino said there is still work to be done.

“We have to gather all the evidence. That video alone is not enough,” she said.

Giannino said she understands that the investigation is not moving as quickly as many people hoped it would.

“I promise you, the reason we’re doing it slowly and methodically is that the goal is successful prosecution, not just to lock somebody up.”

Giannino said police are working in conjunction with the State’s Attorney’s office, which will notify investigators when they have enough evidence to move forward.

She spoke at what was called a family engagement meeting at the school, as did Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Kevin Maxwell.

“I want you to know that we agree, we believe that these things that have been going on in our county are not acceptable,” he said.

“We’re going to work through these issues, we’re going to get answers, and we’re going to hold accountable those people who didn’t do what they should have done at the end of the process once we know that for sure,” Maxwell said.

via WTOP
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Police: PGCPS 10th grader accidentally fatally shot

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Gomez-Martinez was found with a gunshot wound and later died. 

BLADENSBURG, MD. (WUSA9) – Police are investigating the death of a 16-year-old Bladensburg High School student who was accidentally Thursday night.

The shooting happened around 8 p.m. on Thursday in the 4200 block of 58th Ave., Bladensburg police said. According to authorities, the incident happened inside of a home and other juveniles were present. Police said 16-year-old Diego Gomez-Martinez was transported to a nearby hospital where he died Friday morning.

Malik Herbin says he found Diego on the floor in front of the couch suffering from a gunshot wound to the lower torso and tried to stop the bleeding, “I got a shirt from ab and pushed down on the bullet hole until the help got here–he kept trying to move, we kept telling him to stay down and he kept trying to move and I wouldn’t let him move until the police come here to get him.”

Herbin says he didn’t see the shooting but did see someone run out with a gun, “yeah, I heard but I don’t know who it was nobody knows who it was.”

No one answered the door at the victim’s home, but a man who lives in the building described the 16- year-old like this as someone who is very respectful. “He’s very respectful, this is all news to me that he got shot, I feel for his family, I give them my condolences cause he has never been a problem with me.”

A neighbor who lives in the apartment just below the one where the shooting took place says she doesn’t feel safe and frequently smells the odor of marijuana, “It’s not safe for us because we need some protection here because kids from school smoke marijuana, smelling up the whole place, we are not comfortable here and so we need protection from this place.”

The principal of the high school declined to comment on camera, but did a letter home to the parents of her students.

Although the circumstances are still unclear, Detectives are now investigating the circumstances leading up to his death.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Prince George’s County Police Department’s Homicide Unit at 301-772-4925. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call Crimes Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477), text “PGPD” plus your message to CRIMES (274637) on your cell phone or go to http://www.pgcrimesolvers.com and submit a tip online.

This is a developing story that will be updated when more information becomes available.

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PGCPS CEO asks Md. Dept. of Education to audit Head Start program

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Chief Executive Officer Kevin Maxwell visits Suitland High school on Aug. 23, 2016. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

UPPER MARLBORO, MD (WUSA9) – Chief Executive Officer Kevin Maxwell asked the Maryland State Department of Education to conduct an audit of the Head Start program.

“Since the start of the school year, questions and concerns regarding the termination of our Head Start program grant have dominated the public landscape,” said Maxwell in a statement.

All employees will be required to provide documents and supporting information. The audit timeline and results will be made public.

The audit will also include recommendations for improvement throughout PGCPS.

Meanwhile, dissident board of education members continued to call on the school CEO, Dr. Kevin Maxwell, to step aside.

Just yesterday, Maxwell fired his chief of staff over a leaked email that critics said appeared to show a cover up of child abuse in the Head Start program.

County Executive Rushern Baker said he’ll continue to support Maxwell because of improvements in test scores and graduation rates. But his patience is not unlimited.

In a separate review, superintendents from schools across the state will dedicate teams to review internal communications as well as employee and labor relations protocols, Maxwell said.

“Our significant gaps in these two areas are hindering our efforts towards full accountability, transparency and responsiveness to incidences of suspected child abuse, neglect and inappropriate conduct,” he said.

Results from the additional review will also be made public.

Via WUSA9

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County Executive Rushern Baker said he’ll continue to support Maxwell because of improvements in test scores and graduation rates. But his patience is not unlimited.

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