Tag Archives: school officials

Mothers: Officer restrained children with handcuffs on arms

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A school resource officer placed two disabled elementary school students in handcuffs because they were acting out, causing physical and emotional pain to the children, their mothers say in a federal lawsuit filed against the official and his boss, the county sheriff.

In a video of one of the incidents released by the American Civil Liberties Union – which filed the lawsuit Monday on behalf of the two women from northern Kentucky – an 8-year-old boy struggles and cries out as he sits in a chair, the handcuffs around his biceps and his arms locked behind him.

“You don’t get to swing at me like that,” School Resource Officer Kevin Sumner tells the boy in the video, which was taken by a school administrator. “You can do what we’ve asked you to, or you can suffer the consequences.” It was not clear why the administrator took the video, and school officials had not responded to a request for comment Tuesday.

The handcuffs were too large to fit around the boy’s wrists as well as those of the second child, a 9-year-old girl, the lawsuit says. Both children have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and are identified in court documents only by their initials. The lawsuit says school officials were aware of the students’ disabilities, which include “impulsivity, and difficulty paying attention, complying with directives, controlling emotions and remaining seated.”

Col. Pat Morgan with the Kenton County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment Monday, saying the office had not been officially notified of the lawsuit. Robert Sanders, Sumner’s attorney, said Sumner put the children in handcuffs because “they were placing themselves and other people in danger of harm, and that’s what the book says to do.”

The lawsuit says the boy, 3 feet 6 inches tall and 52 pounds, was removed from class last August because he was not following his teacher’s directions. The boy then tried to leave the principal’s office but was physically restrained by school administrators until Sumner arrived to escort the boy to the bathroom.

On the way back from the bathroom, the boy tried to hit Sumner with his elbow, according to a report from the Kenton County Sheriff’s office cited in the lawsuit, and that’s when Sumner put him in handcuffs.

The 9-year-old girl, about 56 pounds, was sent to an isolation room at her school last August for being disruptive. School officials asked Sumner to help after the girl tried to leave the room and was restrained by the principal and vice principal. A report from the sheriff’s office said Sumner put the girl in handcuffs because she was “attempting to injure school staff.”

The lawsuit said the experience caused “a severe mental health crisis” and Sumner called for a “medical crisis team.” The girl was taken by ambulance to a hospital for a psychiatric assessment and treatment.

The lawsuit asks for a judge to ban the school from doing this again and for money to compensate for the pain and emotional trauma and for attorneys’ fees.

Kentucky state regulations ban school officials from physically restraining students that they know have disabilities that could cause problems.

“Shackling children is not okay. It is traumatizing, and in this case it is also illegal,” Susan Mizner, disability counsel for the ACLU, said in a news release.

>>> Read more Sheriff defends deputy accused of illegally handcuffing disabled children at school

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City schools lay off employees in central office shake-up

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CEO Gregory Thornton

A city Council committee declined Tuesday to approve hundreds of millions of dollars for Baltimore’s schools, saying education officials had misled the council to believe layoffs would be limited to central office staff — then sent pink slips to 59 school-based employees.

Members of council’s Budget Committee said they were demanding answers from schools CEO Gregory Thornton on how he’s handling the layoffs that school officials said were needed to close a multimillion-dollar budget hole. They said they would meet again Friday to consider the school system’s budget.

A school system official told the panel that the downsizing was complicated by union contracts that allowed some laid-off workers to “bump” into the jobs of others.

Dawana Sterrette, a lobbyist for the school system, told the committee that school officials eliminated 119 central office positions to close a budget shortfall, but also cut “several hundred surplus individuals” — full-time teachers and staff who are on the system’s books, but have no permanent placements.

When the “surplus” staff learned of the layoffs, some invoked union rights to “bump” school-based employees out of their jobs, Sterrette said.

She said system administrators had no choice but to then lay off employees in the schools.

“We must follow the rules of the collective bargaining agreement,” Sterrette said. “Unfortunately, some people that have been in roles deemed essential have been bumped.”

Council members said Thornton never mentioned that the layoffs would affect school-based staff. The committee chair, Helen Holton, said Thornton and other school officials had not been forthright about the impact of the layoffs.

“We were told the cuts were coming from North Avenue,” Holton said. “We were told no cuts were coming from the schools.”

In a letter to top school officials, Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said she planned to introduce an amendment to the school system’s budget to take “exception to this unannounced, inequitable, and arbitrary series of 59 specific layoffs from school-based budgets in which the laid-off positions still remain funded.”

Clarke asked the school board to rescind the 59 layoff notices. She said they were doing “great damage” to individual schools.

>>> Read more 

>>> Read more City schools lay off employees in central office shake-up and impact for Prince George’s County. 

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This audit could answer long-held questions about Pr. George’s schools

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Four years, two superintendents and one bruising state financial report after the Prince George’s County Council first came up with the idea, officials are in the last stages of launching a comprehensive performance audit of the school system.

Council member Derrick Leon Davis (D-Mitchellville) sought an audit in 2011, under then-superintendent William R. Hite Jr., after years of upheaval in school governance left many residents skeptical of how resources were being used.

“We knew that if we were going to make a more significant investment, we needed it,” he said of a systemwide audit, which has not been done since 1998. “It will tell us what we get for the money we spend.”

In seeking the audit, Davis was trying to address some of the same concerns — about transparency, trust and accountability — dominating the debate about County Executive Rushern L. Baker III’s plan to raise property taxes to generate additional dollars for the school system.

 Baker’s plan, which will be voted on by the council Thursday, has stirred concern and skepticism throughout the county. During meetings, citizen after citizen has asked the same questions: What happened with the money taxpayers have already given? And how can they be sure new funds will be used wisely?

The county’s public school system is audited every year, both internal and external. The federal government, the state, the council and school officials all evaluate specific aspects of the system’s operation.

But the audit that Davis is pushing is designed to be different: an all-encompassing, deep review that will take at least a year, officials said.

It would assess operations and measure academic outcomes in specialty programs. It would also show how well the school system has implemented recommendations from a scathing 2014 state audit that found employees were overpaid, invoices went unaccounted for, student data was vulnerable to cyberattack and cost-saving opportunities were missed.

“Audits are necessary to see where you want to go and see where you’ve come from,” said Beatrice Tignor, a former school board chairman who was part of the last performance audit, nearly 20 years ago.

Bids for the contract were due this week, and officials say they will select a vendor in time to launch the audit this summer.

The findings will come too late to affect the council’s vote on whether to back Baker’s 15 percent tax increase. Approval, so far, seems unlikely, since no council member has come out in support.

They will complete a process that started in 2012, when then-council Chair Andrea C. Harrison (D-Springdale) sought an audit that would, according to a letter she wrote to then-Board of Education Chair Verjeana M. Jacobs (District 5), “provide valuable insight and information for future decision-making with respect to the budgetary process.”

The audit was to be prepared for the next fiscal year, but that didn’t happen. Harrison said the previous board was reluctant to move forward on an agreement.

Hite left in 2012 and was replaced by an interim superintendent, while Baker (D) lobbied the state legislature to grant him more power over the school system.

State lawmakers gave Baker the authority to hire a schools chief — he picked Kevin Maxwell — and approved legislation that gave him significantly more influence over board members.

When Maxwell came on board, he conducted his own transition report, which found weaknesses in how the system develops staff, implements curriculum and integrates technology.

School officials said an audit should measure whether the system has made progress in those areas and paint a clearer picture of academic outcomes, graduation rates and test scores.

“If there is information that increases public trust and informs decision makers to help us to improve as a system, then I am all for it,” said Segun C. Eubanks, the school board’s chairman.

By Arelis Hernández covers Prince George’s County as part of The Washington Post’s local staff.

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Video Shows School Security Guard Pushing Student to Floor.

At Laurel High School.

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News 4’s Prince George’s County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins gets reaction from parents and school officials about a video showing a Laurel High School security guard forcing a female student to the floor.

Read more on NBC 4 WRC.

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Dwayne Jones (seen above) is involved in a major conflict of interest involving a certain female security guard at Laurel High School. Parents and Prince George’s County administration should not allow this situation to continue any longer. One of the parties needs to go in another location or leave the county all together. The said relationship has been fueling conflicts. This saga has been going on for too long.  Staff, students and parents needs to demand an end to it >>> Read more 

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Bowie High School student unexpectedly dies.

Counselors brought in to comfort classmates and staff Friday

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A Bowie High School senior who died Thursday “will be greatly missed,” according to the Prince George’s County school system.

An email sent by the school system Friday morning informed community members that Dominick Hopkins died unexpectedly.

School officials could not provide further details about Hopkins’s death or about memorial arrangements Friday morning.

“This loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns and questions and we are doing all we can to be responsive to the needs of our students and staff during this difficult time,” officials said in the email.

A crisis intervention team was at the school Friday to provide counseling to students and staff, said Keesha Bullock, a spokeswoman for the school system.

“Our focus is on making sure the school community has what it needs,” Bullock said.

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Prince George’s County

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Bowie High School student charged for bringing gun to school in backpack

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BOWIE, Md. (AP) — A 16-year-old boy is charged with bringing a loaded gun to Bowie High School.

Bowie police say another student warned school officials about the gun on Friday morning. The 10th grade student was removed from class, and officers found a 40-caliber handgun in the teenager’s backpack.

The student was charged with possession of a weapon on school property. There was no indication that the teen pointed the gun or used it to threaten anyone.

The school notified parents of the incident Friday afternoon in a letter.

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Prince George's County

Prince George’s County

Dr. Angelique Simpson-Marcus, Principal Accused of Bullying, Out at Largo High

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Dr. Angelique Simpson-Marcus has left as principal of Largo High School, the school district confirms.

School officials would not comment on the terms of her departure.

In the past, News4 has reported Simpson-Marcus has had a history of bullying and heavy-handedness toward her co-workers.

Prince George’s County Board of Education settled two lawsuits against Simpson-Marcus in the past year. One white male teacher filed a case alleging reverse discrimination and won more than $500,000 in August, while a school secretary reached an undisclosed settlement with the school system the following month.

In October, Simpson-Marcus also threatened to forfeit the school varsity football team’s season if it didn’t start winning, according to one school parent.

Prince George’s County Council Member Mary Lehman had called for Simpson-Marcus’ removal in a letter to Schools Chief Kevin Maxwell sent in September.

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