Detectives with Prince George’s county Homicide Unit are investigating a fatal shooting that occurred Friday in Camp Springs. The victim is a Prince George’s county Public School (PGCPS) teenager 19-year-old Keith Aaron Wade of Suitland who attended Dr. Henry wise High School in Upper Marlboro. He was killed yesterday according to Facebook postings and was also a promising local musician.
There has been outpouring of grief in the community after his death. In what appears as a never ending violence affecting the Prince George’s county schools. Reactions on social media about Wade’s death have been swift. Here is a sample….
“When will we stop killing each other if Black Lives Matter do they matter to Black people this is so sad,” wrote Phyllis Wright
“So sad to hear this!! He had a special place in my heart!”, Shannon Fulmer
Sending my thoughts and prayers to the family and all who knew him. May The Lord comfort you all, wrote Shawanda Luvs JadenandJaniyah
“Another one of our babies taken too soon! Prayers to his family “said Nikki Stevens on facebook.
“Condolences to all who knew him. God give his family, friends and school family strength. ” Sistah Nubia wrote.
“…………Maybe the crisis team should remind the school staff how they should respond after a crisis such as this. I know for a fact that there has been no ongoing support since Quincy’s death…it just seems it’s just business as usual. You’re absolutely right, everyone grieves differently and it seems that the school systems response to a child who is grieving is suspension or sending them to an alternative school. A lot of these children were already grieving before these two tragedies. We seem to forget that they basically were in the house for almost two years, some children probably lost parents and family members. Some children had to go get jobs because their parents lost jobs during the pandemic. Some children may be facing homelessness soon now that the moratorium has ended. However, the school seems to not care about any of this. These children are facing and dealing with things that a child should never have to face or deal with and instead of the school system teaching them how deal with their emotions and allowing them to grieve…they punish them when it comes out the wrong way. Now, two young lives are lost from the same school; within months of each other. If this is not handled properly…these children are going to start shutting down”, said Veronica L. Myles
“Also keep in mind that the crisis team is comprised of specialists from all over the county who specialize in crisis management. They have to return to their respective locations once they’ve provided support to the school in need,” said Roshanda Shon Sandy a pgcps staff member at Wise.
“Roshanda Shon Sandy no, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is these kids are clearly in crisis and the schools are handling it wrong. I will send you a message directly because I do not want to turn this post into my personal rant,” Veronica L. Myles responded.
A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest and indictment in this case.
On March 18, 2022, at approximately 4:50 pm, patrol officers were called to the 6300 block of Maxwell Drive for a report of a shooting. They discovered the victim in a parking lot suffering from gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
Detectives are actively working to identify a suspect(s) and a motive.
If anyone has information relevant to this investigation, they are asked to please call detectives at 301-516-2512. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477), or go online at www.pgcrimesolvers.com, or use the “P3 Tips” mobile app (search “P3 Tips” in the Apple Store or Google Play to download the app onto your mobile device.) Please refer to case number 22-0013225.
At least 10 juveniles were killed last year in Prince George’s County, Maryland which was the worst year for teen violence in the county since 2008.
According to Alsobrooks, for example, there have been 162 carjackings in Prince George’s County. She acknowledged on or around January 11th that, juveniles are responsible for 96 of them.
“And so this tells us a lot about where we’re headed. And we must do something right now to disrupt it,” Alsobrooks said.
Dr. Monica Goldson a CEO for PGCPS who was selected through public corruption has never spoken publicly about the out of control fights and public corruption sweeping quietly through the school system. These willful violations include closing down schools ready for real estate option, paying off lawyers, siphoning money off to friends and family etc. Prince George’s county citizens must raise up and demand answers without delay. These out of control fights and other purposeful disregard are not fair to county residents, their families and United States.
More and more violent behavior from students these days, the students need help and they are NOT getting it! More needs to be done to safe lives. To be effective, violence prevention programs require community-wide collaborative efforts led by school system leader that include students, families, teachers, administrators, staff, social and mental health professionals, law enforcement, emergency response personnel, security professionals, school board members, parents and the businesses. The school system leader takes an active role to effect change and not hide in the closet and wish these problems away. Dr. Monica Goldson “Goldson” has failed to provide proper leadership style for sometime! It’s time to advance changes without fear.
“All the investments we make in education become irrelevant if children aren’t safe at school,” stressed Jaime Saavedra, Global Director for Education, World Bank. “Preventing violence is not an easy public policy. It requires the complex interweaving of actions at the school, community, and national levels. To underpin this undertaking, it is essential that countries have the political will to drive change. The evidence from the Investment Case and collective action from partners will be key in driving this change.”
Violence in schools is pervasive, but rigorous evaluations of a range of interventions show that it can be reduced through innovative programs. Many tested programs have high benefits-to-cost ratios.
“Ending violence in schools is possible, a smart investment, and there are proven interventions to do it. We need to create a movement to make change happen, and Safe to Learn is there to catalyze and support action at scale,” emphasized Howard Taylor.
By NBC4 News: Three videos of violent fights from inside of Walker Mill Middle School in Capitol Heights, Maryland, have been making their way around the student body this week.
“She said she doesn’t feel safe,” said the mother of a student involved in one of the fights. “She’s had multiple incidents where she’s been bullied.”
It was especially traumatizing as the pandemic had already impacted her children emotionally. She’s worries about other kids their age.
“I feel like a lot of them fell into depression not being able to be around people, so it affected their social skills,” she said. “So, I think it greatly impacted all students.”
“Social media gets in the way of people dealing face-to-face,” said Dr. Ometha Lewis-Jack, a clinical psychologist and interim chair of psychology at Bowie State University.
“Anger is the be all and end all, and that’s the easy one to put out there, but underneath it we have the depression, we have the anxiety, we have all the things with kids coming back together after being away that they have not voiced and have not gotten help with,” she said.
In February, Prince George’s County Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Mark Fossett said they’ve seen an uptick in emotionally charged interaction by some students since the return to in-person learning.
“The way for us to get out of these situations is to offer students more support, you know, support around mental health, how to resolve the issues that they may have,” he said.
PGCPS has a new program operating at 146 of its 208 schools that includes social-emotional support and at least one licensed mental health clinician on staff. Lewis-Jack said those are positive steps.
“The school has to start thinking these are our children and let’s put things in place so it doesn’t get to the next level,” said.
A spokesperson with PGCPS says they have a plan to have full-time contractual therapists in all of their schools by the 2023-24 school year.
When six members of the Prince George’s County Council surprised their colleagues and the public with an 11th hour redistricting plan in November, residents voiced immediate objection.
They held rallies, flooded the council with calls and emails, turned out en masse at a public hearing, and they vowed to pursue every available remedy. They also hired an attorney.
On Monday, their efforts to kill the controversial map prevailed.
In a two-page order, the Maryland Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision striking down the council’s map and ordering Prince George’s to use boundaries drawn by an independent three-member commission instead.
Although residents accused the six-member block of gerrymandering — using their power to draw lines to protect incumbents and disadvantage potential challengers — their Prince George’s-based attorney, Matthew G. Sawyer, fought the county on procedural grounds.
He argued that the council flouted the law by passing its alternative map as a resolution. To be valid, Sawyer said, lawmakers needed to approve a bill. The Court of Appeals agreed.
“I think this is the right decision,” Sawyer said. “The system eventually worked.”
While the resolution-versus-bill distinction may seem small, approving a redistricting plan the way the council did had a significant impact on the ability of citizens to press elected officials for a course correction, plaintiffs’ attorneys insisted.
“By using a resolution, it removed the county executive’s ability to veto (the map), and it removed the people’s opportunity to lobby the county executive to veto it,” Sawyer said.
The Court of Appeals held a hearing on the case, Prince George’s County vs. Robert E. Thurston et al, on Friday. Plaintiffs were represented by former state delegate Timothy F. Maloney, a politically well-connected attorney hired by former Councilmember Eric Olson’s campaign.
Olson (D) was one of several potential 2022 candidates impacted by the council alternative, as he was drawn in with an incumbent who intends to seek re-election. He has been running since last summer for a seat that is coming open due to term limits.
He called the ruling “terrific news.”
“The council acted improperly in gerrymandering and rigging the districts, and they acted improperly in the manner in which they attempted to pass it,” Olson said.
“The public has been following this and the public does not like the nonsense, the political games being played,” he added. “This sends a message.”
On top of their gerrymandering accusations, residents said they didn’t like the way lawmakers divided communities that had worked together.
Councilmember Jolene Ivey (D), one of three members to vote against the map offered by colleague Derrick Leon Davis (D), said she was pleased that “current” districts, including her own, will remain largely intact.
“The voters let us know what map they wanted, and the courts’ rulings have the effect of giving them the Commission’s map,” she said. “That’s a big win for the voters.”
The Court of Appeals ruling did not lay out the legal rationale for upholding the lower court’s order. Those reasons will be “stated later” in a written opinion, Chief Judge Joseph M. Getty wrote.
The map rejected by the courts was supported by Davis, Council President Calvin S. Hawkins II (D), Deni Taveras (D), Mel Franklin (D), Sydney J. Harrison (D) and Todd Turner (D).
Ivey, Thomas E. Dernoga (D) and Dannielle M. Glaros (D) opposed it.
The council was in an all-day retreat on Monday and Hawkins and Davis could not immediately be reached for comment.
In its ruling, the Court of Appeals said that costs for the appeal are to be paid by the county.
Tantallon Community (Reform Sasscer) – The proposed Prince George’s county public schools (PGCPS) Preparatory K-8 public school which has faced major push back from southern community remains on course. “The new school is essentially a leech on the resources of the community, it exist totally out of any public control,” Samuel Dodges said.
Several civic associations led by Tantallon Square Area Civic Association (TSACA) continues to oppose a forest being cleared for new school construction at Swan Creek Road and Fort Washington Road where flooding is a major concern for many residents. Standing flood waters can also spread infectious diseases, contain chemical hazards, and cause injuries. Each year, flooding causes more problems than any other hazard related to thunderstorms. The most common flood issue occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood waters which causes death in many cases.
“It’s been determined that the land that they are planning to build the school is on wetland and there are better option at Potomac Landing elementary school with enough space just like the way they are building the other 5 schools. This should not be an exception as the area will see a rise in various problems starting with congestion, destruction of wet lands and ecological systems, pollution and many other issues. There are a lot of wild animals in the forest including deers which go in there. The flooding is major issue and the current sewage system is not adequate to accommodate an additional population of 2,000. The way this project was rushed raises a lot of suspicion because the people who live here where not consulted over their objection. We only found out when they were having a press conference,” said Tantallon Square Area Civic Association President Hazel Robinson.
The kindergarten through eighth grade school would hold 2,000. It’s part of the county’s more than $1 billion public-private partnership plan to build six news schools.
“We have been in the dark. Just weren’t included, and our input wasn’t asked for on what we felt about having a school here, there is something very fishy going on even the way the trees are being uprooted right in the middle of the night. Something smell like a dead rat” said Mike Johnson of the Tantallon Square Area Civic Association (TSACA).
Details of the rapidly moving construction plan are spawning protests, especially after parents were told some schools would be temporarily relocated during construction.
Protests started last August and are ongoing. There have been protesters and a prominent person in the community associated with TSACA was arrested last year and taken to the police station. Their presence have been felt along the Swan Creek Road beginning of August last year. The protestors successfully halted tree clearing for the planned school before the construction continued. At the moment the contractors are proceeding on again — a 234,000-square-foot kindergarten through eighth grade school on wetland. Many residents said they’re in favor of the new school but not the current location.
Potomac Landing elementary school
“PGCPS should have renovated Potomac Landing elementary school which is less than a mile away instead of building a brand new school on a wetland and destroying the environment,” Rose Lowdon, said of the new school proposal. “While many people think renovating existing facilities is more expensive and time-consuming than building new ones, that’s not always the case. In fact, renovation can often be accomplished for less than the cost of a new building. It just requires careful planning and conscientious effort. Improvements do not happen by chance. They happen because district administrators, parents, teachers and community leaders actively participate in a planning process aimed at making the area a better place to live, learn, work and play. In this case, none happened like that here. There is bad will from the community towards this new school due to the due process violations and public corruption involved,” Lowdon said.
In a meeting with the Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks in August last year, residents were told construction will continue. However, there are questionable activities especially with some developers donating huge junks of money to her political campaign.
“We had real high hopes from Angela but it appears she is being used by developers to make money from the entire project at the expense of this community. I voted for her last election, I’m so disappointed with her that our meeting was a joke and nothing came out of it,” resident Jennifer Thompson said.
According to the press briefings from last year, “[Alsobrooks] said firmly that she does not intend to change the site, although she’ll make every attempt to try to address concerns. The neighborhoods in the area floods heavily after a hard rain.
“This is unacceptable,” said Marvis, a Prince George’s county native and former Brooklyn school educator who moved to the Prince George’s County thirty five years ago as part of fellowship to go to school in the region and decided to stay. “We shouldn’t be losing trees and damaging the environment without proper checks and balances because there are alternatives, free options available.”
“As we speak today, there are parents that are frustrated, and they are coming out of the district as we speak today, because they feel this was done undemocratically and don’t have choices,” Lane said.
“Whatever is driving this school system it is not being driven to serve the students. Whoever got the Covid relief money is celebrating, because it certainly was not the students, teachers or support staff. The disfunction is so pervasive that even veteran teachers can’t gather the fortitude to care anymore!”, said another staff members who cares.
School renovation is cost effective
School renovation is cost effective, and cheaper than new construction. With aging school facilities, shrinking budgets and declining school enrollments, many school districts are choosing to renovate rather than building new because it’s cheaper.
School enrollment is declining. Budgets are shrinking. Faced with these realities, more and more school districts are choosing to renovate rather than replace existing schools. There are many people in the community questioning what will happen to the current elementary schools which will combine once the new bigger school is finalized at Tantallon. Most elected official in Prince George’s county who might be benefiting from this corruption are reluctant to revert back to an all elected board.
The current board, chaired by Juanita D. Miller, an Alsobrooks appointee, has been criticized for a spasm of personality-fueled disagreements that led to the filing of ethics charges and attempts to remove several members of the panel after the questioned how public funds where being utilized through developers only known to the CEO, County Executive and others tied to them.
Grand corruption is the abuse of high-level power that benefits the few at the expense of the many. It typically has three main features:
A systematic or well-organised plan of action involving high-level public officials that causes serious harm, such as gross human rights violations.
Oftentimes, these public officials even give the contract to a company of which they themselves are the beneficial owner; the majority of grand corruption cases include the use of anonymous shell companies to secretly move financial assets, according to the World Bank.
Through grand corruption, vast amounts of public money are systematically siphoned off to the accounts of a few powerful individuals, at the expense of citizens who should actually benefit. Financial institutions and other enablers assist those involved in laundering the proceeds.
When grand corruption and state capture happen, high-level officials may also use control over legislative and regulatory powers to legalise their activities and to weaken oversight and enforcement functions.
Typically, those involved in grand corruption benefit from impunity by interfering directly with the justice system and stymieing enforcement in order to thwart being held to account. Using the levers of state control, they may also suppress independent efforts by civil society and the media to investigate and expose corruption.
How does it affect you?
If you live in a country with political leaders enriching themselves on public funds, this will affect your life on countless levels. Infrastructure, health care, education – all of these vital necessities, and many more, will be massively underfunded, depriving you of basic rights and services. It may even put lives at risk through products of inferior quality and poorly constructed facilities.
Grand corruption is a huge barrier to sustainable development as seen here in PGCPS. Even if you live in a country or county where grand corruption is not an issue, you should care – because sustainable development affects all of us. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a global effort towards a better future and the impact of grand corruption on them is far more destructive than from other forms of corruption. At the same time, less is being done about it.
On or around September 7, 2021, a month after the questionable construction and prince George’s county parents protest begun, then, Board Member Edward Burroughs III made a video to educate the public what was going on. It’s around this time when county Executive initiated a process to remove several Board members using the state machinery. This development would have a great impact on the environmentally peaceful area by adding increased flooding, traffic, light and noise pollution to the surrounding neighborhoods a petition signed by more than 2151 citizens says.
Nancy Bhargava organized marches throughout the neighborhood nearly six weeks before the construction begun to protest the proposed school.
“We’re concerned that we have been ignored. Our community, the residents here have been dismissed,” said Bhargava.
“I’m concerned because we are going to be losing a lot of tree canopy. The tree canopy absorbs the water and prevents the water from flowing out into the road and into my house, my backyard and my neighbor’s yard and causing serious issues,” said Bhargava to the press.
Ed Burroughs, a former member of the Prince George’s County Board of Education representing District 8 and now a councilman for the same District, was at a previous march talking with homeowners before and after he became a councilman. His problems at the Board with other Board members begun after they started questioning the secrecy and the public corruption surrounding the construction of the school and others.
In a letter sent to the Chief Executive Officer of the Prince George’s County Public Schools on March 23, 2021, board member Edward Burroughs wrote “I am writing to convey concerns that I have received from members of the community regarding the proposed site for the new Southern Area K-8 School. These members raised a variety of concerns in over an hour-long exchange between constituents and some of their elected officials.”
The letter went on to say, “Members of the community have expressed a strong desire to temporarily suspend construction activity surrounding the Southern Area K-8 School in order to allow the Board Chair to convene the proposed stakeholder meeting and discuss alternative locations for the school. I support the community in their request and I hope that the request for a pause in the development of this site can be granted. I look forward to continuing to work with you to successfully build a new Southern Area K-8 middle school while also addressing the flooding and traffic concerns raised by members of the community.”
As stated above, some homeowners worry that the tearing down acres of the wooded area which has been going will increase flooding in a neighborhood already prone to floods. They worry the problem will get significantly worse when construction begins which has been ongoing.
Other homeowners worry about the impact on traffic. The proposed location is near Indian Head Highway, a roadway known to be dangerous.
“Being here on Swan Creek Road, if you are here at any time of the day, cars come down here at least 50 miles per hour so it is not safe for our residents nor is it safe for any of the children,” said Anthony Mitchell, a homeowner.
Now some homeowners are trying to delay construction until they can work out these issues.
“They need to stop and they need to go through a comprehensive independent assessment of where we are as a community and what needs to be done,” said homeowner Brian Woolfolk.
In a statement posted online, the then District 8 Councilmember Monique Anderson-Walker now running to be a deputy governor asked for a comprehensive study to be done before construction begun.
“Flooding in South County is a historical and resource-draining scourge throughout District 8. My concerns with this project have always been directed at the flooding impact on the residents who live in closest proximity to the school on Swan Creek Road, as well as the potential for increased flooding in surrounding neighborhoods,” said Anderson-Walker. “Ensuring the project planners are giving EVERY consideration to environmental, traffic, and flood mitigation strategies and solutions through engagement with the community, independent third-parties, and an objective analysis of the school’s master plan and proposed stormwater management plan, is paramount,” Councilmember Monique Anderson-Walker wrote on March 28th, 2021.
Through the Blueprint Schools Program and without proper transparency such as in the case of Tantallon school construction project, PGCPS is accelerating the delivery of six new state-of-the-art schools in Prince George’s County, MD. One of the six is a new K-8 Academy, currently under construction in Fort Washington, MD, within the Tantallon community. Many parents in this area are opposed to the construction of the school due to the historical public corruption going back to former county Executive Jack Johnson. The big ties to developers are at play currently and the grand corruption which begun years ago.
The beleaguered Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) made a splash on Saturday, endorsing Wes Moore for the Democratic nomination for governor. The endorsement comes at a time when Alsobrooks questionable campaign donations especially from developers are casting shadows in the Maryland open general election this fall.
Alsobrooks, once considered a top contender for the governor’s seat herself, called Moore “the leader we need in this moment.”
“I have seen Wes Moore connect with people and bring them together to chart a vision for the future. It is clear Wes Moore has the vision, integrity, and the ability to move our state forward and deliver for families in Prince George’s County and across Maryland,” she said in a statement.
Alsbrooks announced her endorsement at a rally of Moore supporters as the campaign opened a new field office in Upper Marlboro on Saturday afternoon. She was accompanied by the State’s Attorney, Aisha Braveboy who later denied supporting Wes Moore according to JB OConnell on facebook. Alsobrooks was brought to the stage to announce her support in the middle of Moore’s speech at the rally.
“This movement we are building is about bringing together great leaders across the state and working with communities to make Maryland a place where we do not leave people behind. I have long admired County Executive Angela Alsobrooks as a fierce fighter for Prince Georgians, and I am so honored for her support,” Moore said in a statement. “We are going to campaign hard together and I am eager to work with her to support families in Gorgeous Prince George’s and across Maryland now and for years to come.”
However, according to JB OConnell, “Angela endorsed Wes. How big a deal is that? Prince George’s is a very important county but so far the 11 members of the county council at that point endorsed Baker and the reform element in the county endorsed Franchot.
Since Wes really isn’t from Maryland you wouldn’t expect him to understand this but every time County Executive Angela Alsobrooks gets on the opposite side of an issue with County council member Edward P. Burroughs, III She gets destroyed.
One sign of Ed and she crumbles up like a paper beer cup left out in the rain all night. At least we hope that’s beer in it. She openly backed a candidate against Shayla Adams Stafford. With Angela on the other side Shayla won two to one. Angela raised money. Angela cut ads. Angela did a mailer. Outspent Shayla Adams Stafford by a huge margin. And lost 2 to 1. She put her own personal credibility on the line and she lost 2 to 1. But wait it gets worse.
Recently Peter Franchot picked Monique Anderson Walker and Burroughs ran for County Council . Angela Alsobrooks supported Ed’s opponent. Angela got a woodshed style whooping and Edward won with 94% of the vote.
Alsobrooks becomes is the second sitting county executive to make a formal endorsement in the Democratic primary. Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman also endorsed Moore. So far his campaign has raised more money than all the other candidates in the Maryland governors race.
The endorsement is a hit to the campaign of former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, Alsobrooks’ immediate predecessor, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor for a second time. “Baker is crying wolf wolf, forgetting what he did in Prince George’s county as a county executive before retiring. The bribery and financial embezzlement he oversaw needs to be investigated since he is a corrupt politician with ties to CEO Monica Goldson and developers. An FBI investigation is warranted to sort out the facts involving these crooks,” said Tom Davis.
“It is clear both county Executives in Prince George’s county including Angela are benefitting from the developers in major violation of laws. There is no honor among thieves,” Michael Mathew said.
Baker’s campaign issued a 349-word statement about the endorsement on Saturday evening, saying the candidate was “extremely disappointed” with Alsobrooks’ decision.
“Because of my deep belief in her, I’ve been happy to provide counsel and advice to her over the years. In the face of competitive races for State’s Attorney and County Executive, I enthusiastically endorsed her,” Baker said. “That’s why I’m extremely disappointed in her decision to support one of our opponents at such a precarious time.”
The former county executive touted his own successes during his tenure leading the county and noted that he has been endorsed by nine of the 11 members of the Prince George’s County Council.
“The great County, where I’ve raised my family and built my life, deserves a leadership team that knows how to practically get things done — not just talk in theoretical ‘hows,’” Baker said. “My running mate, [Montgomery County] Councilmember Nancy Navarro, and I are uniquely prepared to meet this critical moment with a vision that moves our state forward. With a track record of executive experience and proven results, we’re building a true grassroots campaign because we understand the importance of people over politics.”
However, reviewing Baker’s record in the county, his statement is not based on honesty based on clear observations and criminal enterprise Baker led during his tenure. Baker, destroyed the PGCPS BOE and tossed the Candidates that the Voters stood in line to elect. Baker went to Annapolis to place who he wanted on the Board by advancing HB1107 law which changed governance of the Prince George’s county school system. He had his chance! There were many times when he was RUDE and refused to address the Reporters. A lot of people saw him on live TV. He also wanted to increase Taxes on Homeowners for his personal gain. That did not go through well, thanks to the county Council. He was out to get a name for himself in order to run for governorship. Maryland Voters who do not live in Prince George’s county, guard your one (1) Vote! Do your homework before Election Day. Do not Recycle anyone who is not for your success!
The other candidates vying for the Democratic nomination on June 28 are: Jon Baron, Peter Franchot, Doug Gansler, Ashwani Jain, John King, Laura Neuman, Tom Perez and Jerome Segal.
One of the newly elected Board of Education member Belinda Queen has resigned. A first-term board member, who has been tough but fair has been embroiled in controversy in recent months, announced her resignation Thursday on social media. Her resignation will take place on March 7th, 2022.
Belinda hit the ground running in 2019 after she got elected when she demanded answers after discovering corruption at High Point High School in Prince George’s County public Schools (PGCPS). “First question, which the public should be asking: What took anyone in the Board so long?”, She asked at the time. (See the report here).
Belinda becomes the 3rd Board member to resign after former Board of Education member now Councilman Edward Burroughs III resigned to run for county council District 8. Burroughs resignation was followed by Raaheela Ahmed, 28, who served on the district’s school board for the past five years. She steped down, effective Feb. 19, to run for the Maryland Senate seat, currently held by incumbent Ron Watson. He was appointed to the District 23 seat by Gov. Larry Hogan in August.
Belinda is resigning to run for county council District 6 after unearthing wide ranging system corruption on the county level.
School board members are largely unpaid volunteers, traditionally former educators and parents who step forward to shape school policy, choose a superintendent and review the budget. But a growing number are resigning or questioning their willingness to serve as meetings have devolved into shouting contests between deeply political constituencies over how racial issues are taught, masks in schools, ethics reports, COVID-19 vaccines and testing requirements etc.
School Board Tensions
School board members across the country have received threats and hateful messages, sparked by tense debates over mask mandates and other COVID-19 rules, LGBTQ books and the teaching of race. However, here in the Prince George’s county though, the local board is in tension after some Board members questioned how public land, money was being utilized to build new schools without transparency.
News of land being set aside for purposes of education and/or public use is typically met with celebration. But an increasing chorus of voices within Prince George’s County and the real estate industry is casting doubt on whether public money is being used properly throughout Prince George’s county. “We live in a time when Prince George’s county struggles mightily to adequately fund schools and social services. If we are going to expend funds for Education, the county should be paying current fair market value supported by analysis that would pass muster with private market buyers, said Matt Lowery.”
Her departure creates a vacancy on the school board. By law, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks has the authority to appoint a replacement. Other departed board members have said they see the iron in that , given county Executive Alsobrooks wanted to have them removed through unorthodox means using drummed up ethics report.
Belinda is among the elected members of the school board that have pushed to see the structure of the board overhauled from a mix of appointed and elected members to an all-elected school board.
She and others have clashed repeatedly with board chair Juanita Miller, who holds one of the seats on the school board appointed by Alsobrooks.
Belinda was first elected to the Prince George’s County Board of Education in 2018 defeating Carolyn Boston overwhelmingly. However, she began her political career earlier. She first ran for the Prince George’s County Democratic State Committee, before running for the Prince George’s County Board of Education.
“ It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the residents of District 6 and each and every scholar, Parent of PGCPS and the community… I feel honored to have accomplished everything that I ran to do in putting kids first ” ..Belinda wrote in among other issues in her resignation letter. To do otherwise, would have been the district failure.”It has been a pleasure working with each one of you,” she wrote.
Drummed up Ethics Charges.
After major fallout with county Executive Angela Alsobrooks last year, the ethics panel acting under orders above organized a scheme to deprive elected board members of their powers in the county. Thus, after the Prince’s George’s County School Board recommended that six elected board members either resign or be removed following an investigation.
The ethics findings are not public, but documents were reviewed by the press. They were also anonymously sent to each elected leaders throughout the county.
The ethics panel recommended the resignation or removal of Edward Burroughs, David Murray, Raaheela Ahmed, Joshua Thomas, Kenneth Harris and Shayla Adams-Stafford. The panel recommended sanctions for Belinda Queen.
“I know it’s supposed to be confidential, but somebody took it upon themselves to anonymously mail them around to elected officials in the county,” said Ivey. “And I happen to live with two of them.”
The ethics findings say board members violated policy when they hired a board lobbyist and when they decided to reorganize the board office, making staffing changes and prompting a “federal discrimination lawsuit.”
“I think they are riddled with inaccuracies and false on their face,” said Ivey of the findings.
Some board members are also accused of a pay-to-play scheme involving a labor union they received campaign contributions from.
Ivey said that the actual resolution passed by the board does not name the labor union in question and disputed the notion that there was anything unethical about the campaign donations.
Board chair Dr. Juanita Miller called for this ethics investigation soon after she was appointed by the county executive as board chair.
More recently, this group of elected board members petitioned the state to have her removed, making their own misconduct claims against Miller.
While there was a public board meeting at night, the primary discussion about the ethics investigation happened in executive session.
Six members, mostly appointed, voted to accept the findings. The seven members under investigation were barred from voting. This left them shaken to the core after County Executive Alsobrooks went after them for drummed up “ethics violations” until they ran scared for their dear lives as their political future was on the line. However, Alsobrooks is violating the law and her administration is engaged in violating peoples rights using the court system to punish some personnel in the school system and others opposed to their illegal schemes using lawyers tied to them, records show.
In our blog post recently, we cited the role the county Executive Angela Alsobrooks is playing in advancing public corruption in the county through violations of law including campaign finance. There is more involving the county Executive touching on new schools and the Tantallon Community. Whether falling under the label of political cronyism, crony capitalism, political party cartels, oligarchy, plutocracy and even kleptocracy, widespread patterns of private and public corruption construct social systems that are rigged in the private interest as seen in this case. Citizens with strong ethical principles (and citizens who lack significant funds, connections, favours to dispense, “hard power” over others such as guns or private enforcers) lose representation, influence and power.
The rule of law is fundamental to maintaining the freedoms of individuals in a society, and for the protection of people’s rights. You cannot ask the county citizenry and their kids to obey the law when you are violating it in many ways willfully yourself”, one parent who did not want to be identified said.
When corruption pervades the justice system, people can no longer count on prosecutors and judges to do their jobs. The powerful may escape justice. And citizens, especially those with few resources or few powerful allies, may be unfairly accused of crimes, deprived of due process, and wrongly imprisoned.
Prince George’s county is experiencing a rise in homicides and gun violence incidents that began last year when the pandemic tightened its grip on the United States. With violent crime on the rise again, and more kids committing those crimes, leaders in Prince George’s County admit the solution isn’t just more government.
Tom Marvin, a member of the Reform Sasscer Movement coalition, a regional community-led organization addressing criminal justice /education reform as well as economic and social justice, said most of the violent incidents that occur in the county involve people “who know each other.”
“If it’s two people who know each other, clearly there is some contact that has risen to a point now that is being resolved violently instead of being resolved peacefully,” Marvin said.
But a new program that county leaders announced Monday following our article on grapple with trend published on Saturday February 26th, hopes to harness the ability of government — along with local community groups already in action — to help turn things around.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks admitted she is frustrated by what’s going on, and she acknowledged that the solution goes beyond policing and government programs.
Instead, an initiative called “The Hope Collective” will coordinate with nonprofit groups to diffuse violence and provide “hope” to kids who just stopped caring about life and their communities — and show them a different way.
“A lot of kids don’t see that adults care enough,” said Euniesha Davis, the director of Prince George’s County’s Office of Community Relations.
“Being able to position them in a place where they’re able to take advantage of the opportunity, and by showcasing and modeling positive behavior, we believe that we can bring back kids to what I’d say is the good side, right?”
“The program uses four strategies to reduce gun violence,” said Alsobrooks. That includes “peacekeepers” she said, to go with diversionary programs for offenders and non-offenders.
More funding also will go toward afterschool enrichment programs, as well as programs that target food insecurity, she said.
The last prong is the county’s violence prevention task force, which includes 20 different people from varying backgrounds who will “meet and identify areas of critical need where we need more resources and will work on a plan to ensure that we get resources in the areas that need them the most.”
Prince George’s County Police Chief Malik Aziz praised the diversified approach to the problem that ensures “we do everything we can not only to combat crime but to uplift and empower our children and to unify our community.”
But at the beginning of the news conference, Alsobrooks made clear that the most effective way to stem the tide involves parents doing more. The county executive is also the mother of a 16-year-old daughter, and she recounted how important it is for her to drive her daughter to school every day to talk to her. She begged the county’s other parents to do the same thing.
“Please, ma’am, please, sir, do me a favor,” she pleaded.
“Sit these kids down and ask them what’s going on. Don’t miss the chance to connect with your child and ask them what they’re seeing, what they feel, what their hopes are, what their concerns are, what their fears are.”
It’s also important, she said, to ask kids why they feel what’s happening is occurring.
“Do me a favor and listen. Listen. Please let’s listen to our children,” she added. “We have got to get into our children’s business. It is critical.”
Alsobrooks said that having those conversations with her own daughter has taught her lots, and that she hopes more of those discussions will help county leaders find the right answers.
The rise in violent crime is an epidemic that is happening “all across the region” with Prince George’s county being an epicenter to major crimes. There are three major factors driving the episodes: the impact of Covid-19 on communities and first responders, the fallout of the social unrest after the murder of George Floyd, and the surge in gun sales since the start of the pandemic fueled by easy access to drugs. Marijuana is the most popular drug, Wise High senior Tom said, but more students are also using LSD.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland voters would decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana in November, under a bill approved by the House of Delegates on Friday. The bill comes at a time when many schools in Prince George’s county Public Schools (PGCPS) and Maryland in general are in chaos due to widespread use of drugs and alcohol. In PGCPS, drugs are being used during school hours leading to many staff members to look for a way out into retirement. Some students have become dealers selling small quantities to others.
Drugs and alcohol are some of the most detrimental, yet most common disruptions in teenage brain development. They manipulate the brain’s wiring and affect the way the brain processes and retains information – including the way a teen thinks, focuses, learns, remembers, and concentrates inside and outside of school.
Not only can drugs impair teens’ cognitive development, they can also affect students’ performance in school: their ability to memorize things, concentration in the classroom, prioritization of assignments, likelihood to attend class, and even their overall IQ. However, staff members have been asked not disclose illegal activities involving students in PGCPS in order to help cover up the illicit activity.
The House voted 96-34 for the constitutional amendment, sending it to the Senate. The House also voted 92-37 for a separate bill that includes initial steps that would be taken if voters approve. However, issues relating to licensing and taxation would be taken up by lawmakers next year.
The bill would allow Marylanders more than 21 years old to possess up to 1.5 ounces of recreational cannabis without penalty. Possession of over 1.5 ounces of cannabis and up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis would be reduced to a civil offense rather than a misdemeanor.
Possession of more than 2.5 ounces would be a misdemeanor with penalties of up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000, also starting Jan. 1.
Maryland would be required to develop race- and gender-neutral approaches to addressing the needs of minority and women applicants who seek to participate in the marijuana business. The legislation also creates a fund to help small, minority-owned and women-owned businesses entering the industry.
Currently, 18 states, along with the District of Columbia, have fully legalized marijuana. There also are 37 states, including Maryland, that have legalized medical marijuana. However, Contrary to the beliefs of those who advocate the legalization of marijuana, the current balanced, restrictive, and bipartisan drug policies of the United States are working reasonably well and they have contributed to reductions in the rate of marijuana use in our nation. Marijuana can harm the lungs if users smoke it; and. It causes additional effects—like the “high”—that may interfere with the quality of life of patients taking the drug for serious medical conditions.
Maryland lawmakers on Wednesday laid the groundwork for legalizing recreational marijuana with the initial approval of a House bill detailing how much a person could possess and which former arrests would be expunged, among other things.
The standards will take effect if voters approve a November referendum that would add Maryland to a growing list of more than a dozen states, including Virginia, that have legalized marijuana for adult use.
The vote, which came after a 90-minute debate, was largely along partisan lines with Republican lawmakers raising concerns about access to the drug and its use.
They sought, unsuccessfully, to increase the proposed fine for using marijuana in a public place, equating it to alcohol and the penalty imposed for public intoxication. A higher penalty would act as a deterrent, they said.
“This isn’t a slap on the wrist, this is a tickle on the wrist,” House Minority Leader Jason C. Buckel (R-Allegany) said of the $50 fine a person would receive for smoking marijuana in public. “I don’t know how many of you have gotten a speeding ticket where the fine is less than this. Doing 70 in a 55 you are going to pay more than $50.”
Del. David Moon (D-Montgomery) argued against the amendment. He said the “central mission” for him and many of his Democratic colleagues, who pushed for legalization to take effect soon after the referendum passes, is to get nonviolent crimes off the books.
Moon said a survey of adult residents found that half had smoked marijuana. “Half of Maryland residents likely got away with a jailable offense when they did this,” he said. “The more disturbing part of this is that White Marylanders have been getting away with this jailable offense at much higher rates than all the rest of us.”
Under the bill, a person would be able to possess 1.5 ounces or up to 2 plants. The measure allows for automatic expungements of some marijuana-related arrests and resentencing of those convicted of some marijuana-related charges.
Buckel said his amendment was not intended to target a person legally consuming marijuana in their home; neither was it about racial inequities or disparities.
“You should not be able to smoke marijuana near children, near the elderly, near those who do not want to be exposed to your marijuana smoke. Period, end stop,” he said. “I do not care if the 5-year-old little boy or little girl who is getting exposed to the guy on the street corner smoking marijuana is Black, is Brown, is White, is pink-polka dotted.”
The Democratic-controlled House also rejected Buckel’s efforts to allow localities without majority approval of legalization to set their own rules, instead of making the law statewide, saying some counties do not want “this crammed down their throat.”
The House is expected to give the bill final approval this week. It will then head to the Senate where lawmakers will consider another legalization bill that creates a structure for licensing and regulating marijuana.
In other action, the House gave preliminary approval to a bill that requires county boards of education to provide age-appropriate instruction on the risks of sexting as part of a school’s family life and human sexuality curriculum.
The initial vote came after Republicans unsuccessfully attempted to require local school districts to put the curriculum online. The amendment failed, largely along party lines.
Upper Marboro: (Reform Sasscer) – Ever since Prince George’s County Public schools (PGCPS) reopened earlier this year, teachers, substance abuse counselors and other staff members have seen a rise in youth drugs and alcohol use across the entire district.
In many cases, local youths travel to Baltimore to purchase heroin and weed, Jenkins said. They typically purchase enough for their own use and enough to sell small quantities to their friends, he said.
The state has reported heroin-related overdoses and others are on the raise.
Marijuana is the most popular drug, Wise High senior Tom said, but more students are also using LSD.
The total number of students using drugs are increasing these days since schools reopened and more students and people are experimenting with more serious drugs than in the past, said a Moses, who serves as a counselor for at risk youth.
Jenna said Wise’s weed addicts use the drugs before and after school. However, teachers and staff say, the students are using it during school hours constantly!!!!
Getting drugs is all about who you know but tends not to happen at school sometimes, Jenna said.
Finding drugs, she said, is “so easy it’s a joke.”
Tommy Hill with UR Medicine Strong Recovery’s Adolescent and Young Adult Clinic, said drug abuse in youth and younger adults declined during the COVID-19 pandemic. She explained that the shutdown forced kids to stay home, which limited their access to dealers.
She said she fears that the return of in-person learning has made drugs more accessible.
“Fortunately, we all get to kind of get back to real life, but the movement of substances is also coming back to life,” Hill said. “Some of the younger kids are moving substances through the school.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 60% of students have reported trying alcohol by 12th grade and about 50% of high schoolers have reported ever having used marijuana. About 20% of 12th graders have reported using prescription medicine that wasn’t theirs.
“It’s the nature of that dynamic and the culture,” Hill said. “It’s not unusual for teens.”
She said parents need to pay attention to changes in their kids’ behavior if they suspect drugs or alcohol usage. These changes may include poor academic performance, increased secrecy, and a change in friendships.
“Active substance use in a family, it ripples out, and affects everyone around the individual. The more beautiful piece of that, though, is that so does recovery,” Hill said.
In PGCPS, the use of drugs and alcohol among the student population is on the rise from middle school through all High schools in the District and has left many staff members powerless and in need of critical support.
Marijuana legalization is a growing trend among American state governments. Advocates of marijuana legalization argue that the drug is a good alternative for pain relief. Additionally, marijuana tax revenue can add to state economies. For instance, Colorado raised $247 million and Washington raised $319 million from taxes and fees related to marijuana in 2017.
Opponents of marijuana legalization often cite the “gateway drug” theory. First popularized in the 1980s, the gateway drug theory proposes that use of “soft” drugs like marijuana increases the risk of using more harmful substances, such as cocaine and opioids.
However, most educators are ready for retirement due to lackluster support from the PGCPS administration over the years concerning this issue of drugs and alcohol abuse within the system. Something needs to be done to reverse the trend and save the staff from unruly youth.
Below are some of the comments as observed recently.
I just stood and watched about 20 students standing in the hall, talking, laughing, playing, cursing, surprised they weren’t drinking and smoking. This was during class time. I didn’t say anything, just stood there observing. Retirement, I’m ready.
Sadly I think this is becoming a norm. They run the schools.
Ooohh, don’t forget about the football game on the field during 4th.
Students & parents run the schools…PGCPS/Board.
Listen…if the admin and security are ok with it, SO AM I! We have to learn to manage what we can…our classrooms.
We are forbidden from saying anything even if they do.
Listen…if the admin and security are ok with it, SO AM I! We have to learn to manage what we can…our classrooms.
We now have one set of bathrooms open per floor because they keep smoking in groups so large you can smell it outside the building. Security is stationed right there to keep them in check.
Something definitely needs to be done. These things causes blood pressure on many teachers and staff to go up.
they vape in the lunch room. They were caught and got detention.
like detention means something to them.
yep and selling it in the bathrooms in middle school!!!
To them it is normal, HELL some parents do it in front of them or with them.
This is everyday at my school too smh… mind you it’s a middle school at that
comforting to know it is not just at our middle school…and sad.
I will never forget the year I worked in a school and a kid walked passed me mid class period. I asked, “where are you supposed to be.” His response was to spit on the floor and cuss. Happy to say things went up from there as we got to know one another better.
I hear you. Bus duty and subbing for specials is the same way. I still try my best to keep them safe but I also know how futile it is.
Me too Retirement! Retirement is on its way! ….. soooo done
It’s an all day, every day thing. It’s so sad. They have no idea what kind of life they’re setting up for themselves and the school system leadership is complicit in the demise of public education. We need to get rid of a watered down discipline policy and set some standards.
This is a result of the student code of conduct being so watered down that there are no consequences for this type of behavior!
Truth. We are put in abusive situations and told to not say or do anything or we as teachers are punished.
This is the new norm…..when that child finishes acting out, they will be right back in the class….I feel sorry for the kids that are trying to learn.
According to CDC, although most youth are in good health, some youth are at an increased risk for behaviors that can lead to poor health outcomes, such as high-risk substance use. The majority of adults who meet the criteria for having a substance use disorder started using substances during their teen and young adult years. Youth with substance use disorders also experience higher rates of physical and mental illnesses, diminished overall health and well-being, and potential progression to addiction.
Brooks-Russell advocates for “parental monitoring,” and says parents should always work to improve communication with their kids. Setting clear family expectations and knowing a child’s friend circle helps parents stay aware of what environment their kids are in outside of the house, she says.
“Parents need to have a conversation and make it clear what their expectations are,” she says. “It’s important to help their kids avoid situations that might cause drug use, such as not knowing who their kids hang out with or leaving their kids home alone. Parent involvement is really crucial,” she said. “All children are going to be at a crossroads at some point … if parents have the right tools, they can help guide them on the right path to make decisions.”
“Educating yourself is important. It helps you, and also helps your kids in the long run. It is the only way for prevention and prevention is the only way to stop this horrible epidemic,” another professor Schmidt said.
Although there might be reports on drug use within PGCPS on substance abuse of school-age youth presented elsewhere in the past, in a corrupt administration with a culture of cover ups, they will always indicate there are no issues sometimes showing school-related alcohol and drug infractions had declined among middle and high schools students between certain years which is not the case in many ways. Sometimes, as the violence escalates, those numbers don’t reflect the reality of the situation.
“I think we need to not be naive about it,” Schmidt said. “They are using — it’s just not on school property in many cases.”
“Things may feel horrible now but there’s so much more time and so much more room to grow … to find the happiness you want,” she said. “Using a substance is definitely just going to make it worse … It may feel good now, but it will do nothing good for you.”
Upper Marlboro: (Reform Sasscer) – Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) will move forward with a plan to consolidate the district’s five alternative schools, despite outcry and pleas to keep the schools in place. Tall Oaks High School and others will be consolidated following a meeting held Thursday night by the PGCPS Board of Education at Sasscer.
The vote to consolidate district’s five alternative schools passed 5 to 4 – 2 during the PGCPS Board meeting Thursday. Shayla Adams-Stafford, David Murray, Joshua Thomas, Belinda Queen, and Kenny Harris, all elected board members, voted in favor of the amendment. Sonya Williams, Pamela Boozer-Strother, Judy Mickens-Murray, and Paul Monteiro voted no. Curtis Valentine and Board Chair Dr. Juanita Miller abstained.
Current and former students and staff at Community Based Classroom, or CBC, in Lanham, have fought throughout the budget process to save their school from consolidation. There has been many protests from the community, with many begging the board to keep the schools open for at-risk students who struggle with traditional schools.
Over the past few weeks, the board received community feedback during listening sessions, during which a number of parents and students asked the board to keep Community Based Classrooms, or CBC open.
But CEO Dr. Monica Goldson has said, this is what the school Board needs at this time. She has assured staff they won’t be impacted with their jobs despite pressure to force some staff members to retire starting with Tall Oaks High School principal forced to retire abruptly and others. There seems to be no sympathy for the families and staff.
“If somebody was closing my school in my community, I would be down there advocating for more information,” Angela Simon said. “Tell me this, tell me this, why are we doing that. And that’s exactly how they were responding. They were trying to save that school. So, I’m very very much appreciative of their efforts.”
Consolidation plans were first presented to the PGCPS school board in last few weeks as part of Budget process. Tall Oaks, currently the smallest school in PGCPS with roughly 200 students, is also one of the area’s oldest. School officials said the closing is being done to reduce spending because of declining enrollment across the county schools and to save money.
However, many parents are still upset with the board’s decision from last night to follow the administration’s recommendation.
Under the new plan, Tall Oaks High School would combine with another alternative school, Annapolis Road Academy. Green Valley Academy and Croom High School — the remaining alternative schools — would also consolidate to offer a ninth to 12th grade program. Green Valley would be redesigned as a sixth to eighth grade program..
According to PGCPS, under the consolidation plan, classroom sizes will remain small, with a maximum number of 15 students per class.
But Gibson and other CBC students at a Thursday rally outside the Sasser Administration Building in Upper Marlboro said it wasn’t about class size, it was about future students not having the opportunity to experience what they call “a loving community.” They also sense something sinister going on based on the way these schools are being hurriedly consolidated and others closed.
“Pretty frustrated. You know it feels like except for four board members, the rest of the board came in with their minds made up and they were going to rubber-stamp the administration recommendation without question,” parent Angela Michael said. “It seems like their priorities are really skewed.”
One of the rally organizers, Rachel Sherman, is a product of the alternative school system. She dropped out of high school when she was 16. She’s now working on her second doctorate.
“When you see them try to defund and shut down programs like this you are saying to these at-risk and disadvantaged students that they don’t matter and we do,” Sherman said.
CEO Dr. Monica Goldson said her plan for the alternative schools has been misconstrued, and that it provides more opportunities for students, not fewer. A district spokeswoman said Goldson was not available for an interview prior to the meeting Thursday and provided a FAQ sheet about the alternative school redesign.
During the meeting, board member Shayla Adams-Stafford pointed out that the closures would save the school system $2.4 million, which is less than .1% of the total school system budget.
She asked why there wasn’t an effort to expand CBC, which has a 95% graduation rate.
On the social media, board member Shayla Adams-Stafford later on wrote:
“The appointed board members and the two elected board members who consistently vote with them voted against:
Increasing our Latinx teaching staff. Currently at 4%
Keeping our Alternative Schools open (they voted to consolidate them)
Providing Restorative Program Training
Paid time to reduce teacher paperwork and overload
I’m so tired yall. This is why we need an ALL ELECTED BOARD.
Child, democracy is under attack every day in every way.”
The budget will go to the Prince George’s County Council next for approval where Councilman Edward Burroughs III is expected to lobby fellow councilmen to reverse the situation and or educate them.
In addition, activists on social media are calling upon the public to Call Sentator Paul Pinsky and others shown here let them know the fiasco shown during the Board meeting on Thursday night, is why you want an all elected board. (410) 841-3155, (301) 858-3155 firstname.lastname@example.org; Senator Malcolm Augustine (410) 841-3745, (301) 858-3745; email@example.com; Senator Jim Rosapepe (410) 841-3141, (301) 858-3141 firstname.lastname@example.org; Senator Melanie Griffith (301) 858-3127, (410) 841-3127 email@example.com; Joanne Claybon Benson (410) 841-3148, (301) 858-3148 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3148 (toll free) e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.