Lots of news outlets are in an uproar over the story of a 7-year-old elementary school girl being beat up by four boys at her school to the point she had a concussion and had to be taken to the hospital by an ambulance. MyFoxDC did a thorough job covering the story and has great video interviews with the parents and includes the letter from the school’s principal. How did the teachers at Thomas Claggett Elementary School miss a child being beaten and swung around? The parents have removed their child from the school. This is a disturbing story that we will continue to follow.
MyFoxDC: Prince George’s County Public Schools officials are addressing a beating at Thomas Claggett Elementary School that left a 7-year-old first grader unconscious and with a concussion on Tuesday Morning. The girl was beaten by four boys in her class during recess in the school’s gymnasium. Her angry parents wanted to know how it could happen at school. On Wednesday, the school’s principal issued a letter to parents about what happened. In the one-page letter, Jeanetta Rainey tells parents “an incident occurred Tuesday during indoor recess.” It goes on to say that the hope is that the letter “will help clarify any misinformation you may have heard.” It says, “A child was injured and taken by paramedics to the hospital and later released.” FOX 5 showed the letter to Phersephone Holland and Rodney Smyers, the injured girl’s parents. They say it was the first time they have heard anything from school officials about the incident. They say they are outraged by what they say isn’t being said. “This incident was not minor,” Holland says.
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New school regulations approved by Maryland Board of Education that address disparities in how minority students are punished as compared to their non-minority peers. Under the new regulations, local school systems must adopt policies that reduce long-term out-of-school suspensions and expulsions and address and eliminate the disproportionate impact of school discipline on students of color and students with disabilities. Disciplinary actions would only be used when a student poses an imminent threat of serious harm or is engaged in chronic or extreme disruptive behavior. Local school boards must revise policies by the beginning of the next school year. They can take their own approaches, but the state will monitor the impact on minorities and special education students. State officials have encouraged districts to abandon zero-tolerance policies and instead evaluate discipline on a case-by-case basis. Prince George’s County and other local boards of education are required to update their student discipline policies by the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. The new regulations, which have been in the works for four years, seek to expedite the student discipline appeal process by allowing local boards of education to hear and decide school discipline appeals with an opportunity to extend that time period in complex cases. “Safe schools grow out of a positive school climate,” said State Board President Charlene M. Dukes. “Maryland is dedicated to maintaining safety while increasing student achievement. In order for students to achieve success, they must be in school.”
County Executive Rushern Baker seeks more control in replacing elected School Board members who vacate their seats. From the Washington Post:
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), who filled two seats on the Board of Education last year when two elected members resigned, is asking the General Assembly to change the way selections are made to the county school board when an elected member vacates their seat.Under a bill being considered by state lawmakers, Baker would send the name of his appointee to the county council clerk.
If the council doesn’t vote against the appointee by a two-thirds vote of all members within 30 days, the appointment is approved. The legislation is the first that revisits the legislation that changed the governance structure of the county school system. Last March, Baker asked the General Assembly to allow him to take over the school system. Under compromise legislation, Baker was granted the ability to select the schools chief, name the school board chair and vice chair and select three members of the school board. The new law also allowed Baker to fill vacancies left by departed elected members. Last year, former board members Carletta Fellows and Donna Hathaway Beck resigned from the board in the span of a couple of months. Baker appointed Lyn Mundey and Sonya Williams, respectively.”