Tag Archives: School Buses

Parents of Md. girl beaten on bus plan to sue school district

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PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md –

The parents of a Prince George’s County elementary student who was beaten up on a school bus now say they plan to sue the school system.

The video of 9-year-old Saraia insisting that she did not want to fight has gone viral.

Despite at least a dozen verbal attempts to avoid a fight, another student hit Saraia repeatedly as the bus kept rolling along. The beating lasted several minutes.

Saraia’s parents had a meeting with an administrator at their daughter’s school, but they are frustrated because they want a bigger picture solution to the problem of violence on school buses.

They’ve reached out to the school superintendent and even the governor.

A spokeswoman for Prince George’s County Schools told news reporters this type of behavior is not tolerated. One student has been suspended for the fight.

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Information for those contemplating a lawsuit

Schools of all kinds — public and private, from kindergarten through grad school and beyond, as well as specialized schools — are often the target of lawsuits. If you feel you have been wronged or injured by a school, you too may wish to file suit against a school or school district.

There are many reasons for suing a school. Among these are:

Improper Discharge. If you work for a school as a teacher or in another capacity and have been unfairly fired, you may have a case against the school. Usually, all administrative remedies must be exhausted before a lawsuit can commence.

Improper Expulsion. If you are a student at a school and have been expelled in an unlawful manner or for unlawful reasons, you may be able to sue for the damages caused by the expulsion. Here too, the administrative process should be followed first before filing suit.

Sexual Misconduct. If a teacher or other school employee engages in sexual misconduct with a student, both the person involved and the school can be sued. Schools can also be held liable for one student’s sexual misconduct with another. Also, as employers, schools can be sued by employees if they are subject to such behaviors as sexual harassment or assault.

Injury. If you, or your child, are injured on school grounds or within the context of school activities, you can sue for negligence.

Discrimination. Most schools are not allowed to discriminate against “protected groups” in their hiring or in their admissions policies. If you feel you have been discriminated against in an illegal manner, you can sue.

Educational Malpractice. While somewhat less common, lawsuits are sometimes filed against schools for failing to provide adequate education to students.

Excessive Punishment. If you or your child are subjected to unreasonable punishment, either corporal or emotional, you can sue. However, in order for the suit to succeed, the punishment must usually be extreme.

Failure to Provide Adequate Supervision. Parents are entitled to certain expectations of safety for their children attending school. If your child sustains an injury that could have been prevented by proper supervision, you may have a case against the school. Also, if an unsupervised student injures you, the school may be held partially liable if it has acted negligently.

If you want to sue a school, you’ll want to collect all appropriate evidence and then hire an attorney. Your attorney will not only advise you about the suit itself, but also about who should be named as defendant(s): the person involved in the act that caused the lawsuit (e.g. the teacher, custodian, etc.); their supervisor(s) such as the principal or superintendent; the school itself; the school district; the school board; or the organization that owns or operates the school.

As always, we recommend that you consult an attorney before proceeding.

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Board must be held accountable for silence on abuse.

We are sure that when you read the Prince George’s County Board of Education was being sued for failing to take action on complaints from employees who were being bullied and abused by other employees and supervisors,  You were just as shocked as we were. The sad part in this situation is that, this is not anything new in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS). This kind of uncouth behavior happens all the time in many schools and is encouraged by Dr. William Hite Jr and his senior staff which includes legal department Chief Mr. Roger Thomas Esq and HR Chief Ms. Synthia J. Shilling (formerly Assistant to Roger Thomas).

Just recently according to police, Theresa Douglas, a Prince George’s County Public Schools bus driver, had an ongoing disagreement with a co-worker and recently tried to get a protective order against the co-worker, but a judge dismissed the case.  In an effort to seek revenge, she drove the bus into the temporary office where her harassers were. We do not approve what she did. However, there are at least two sides to every story, and you never know the entire story  particulary in cases of bullying, harassment, retaliations and discrimination, you know the things people don’t want to talk about until it is too late. She wasn’t acting like that just because she had a bad hair day.(Read her story here) ( here) (Here) (Video Here) and (Here)

 Our own investigation reveals that PGCPS management and ACE_AFSCME Local 2250 failed to protect Ms. Theresa Douglas against the harassment. “This is what they do if they want to get rid of you” said one employee at the School system’s garage recently. “The unions and Dr. William Hite Jr are in bed with one another which is against the rules of natural justice” said another employee who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation.  If they want to get rid of you, the PGCPS management is employing dirty tactics by using other employees to harass and intimidate someone in order to have them quit.  “This is unacceptable behavior” several drivers, teachers and nurses said recently to the Reform Sasscer movement team during our tour of the facilities recently. Something needs to be done to change things for the better.  Ms. Theresa Douglas the Bus driver had been harassed for an unspecified time without anything being done and she felt so powerless against PGCPS management that she had to resort to a bus as a weapon for action; Something is not right.

There are other cases involving physical fights in recent months including employees involved in altercations recently at Sasscer administrative building. Some are now on administrative leave while others are not.  The Hites administration along with the Board of Education are not doing much to address these situations in a timely manner the way they should. In many cases, they are involved indirectly in starting conflicts involving employees. One issue of concern which seems to be fueling conflict within ACE_AFSCME Local 2250 for example is the hiring of Mr. Fred Shumate (Pictured below) a former senior HR supervisor at PGCPS. Mr. Shumate always seems more interested in undermining employees  to PGCPS management than helping them resolve their grievances or conflicts. This is not how a union is supposed to operate. There seems to be a major disconnect and he is not acting alone. There is definately a conflict of interest because Mr. Shumate hired most of the PGCPS HR staff involved in illegal firing of employees. “He is the ‘eyes and hears’ of the PGCPS management inside ACE_AFSCME Local 2250 to help cover up corruption” said another employee who declined to provide his name for fear of reprisal.  The union needs to do something to address this situation.  There are other examples like this in all four unions including PGCEA.   

In the school bus situation, if the staff, union or management had followed proper school procedure in addressing the problem, we might be in a different place.  This news broke just weeks after it became public after another story involving employees in similar situations. This very same board censured one of its members for investigating complaints he had been receiving from the public after they weren’t getting a response from the administration. More interesting is that, this administration along with some of the other Board members who caused Board Member Edward Burroughs to be censured are not paying attention to civil rights violations. That is right in the span of just weeks; it has become apparent that parents and community leaders in several Districts within PGCPS are begging for help against abuse in various ways involving students and staff.  At High Point High School for example, it took video of a mini-riot breaking out to bring the type of administrative attention needed for the problem. At Goddard it took a million dollar lawsuit to draw attention to a problem involving a student who was being sodomized by another. That is not acceptable to us and we are sure it is not acceptable to the parents and people of Prince George’s County.  This begs the question:  “What is Dr. Hite and his administration doing about this???” and what role will Mr. Christian Rhodes play in stopping this unethical and dangerous practice? Time will tell. There are no questions who are the victim here, children suffer much more in this kind of environment and citizen voters are definitely being duped.