Friday, January 19, 2018

Silver Spring Middle School Security Guard Sentenced to Probation for Having Sex with Student

Silver Spring Middle School Security Guard Sentenced to Probation for Having Sex with Student: Former employee pleaded guilty to sex offense and assault charges

...Lievano was arrested in May after he allegedly had sex with a 14-year-old student at Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School in Silver Spring when he was working as a security assistant...

Blair Alumni Accuse Renowned Math Teacher of Years of ‘Harassing’ Behavior

Blair Alumni Accuse Renowned Math Teacher of Years of ‘Harassing’ Behavior: Galvanized in part by the #MeToo movement, former students share stories spanning decades about now-retired instructor

...Bethesda Beat learned that in 2011 a parent warned the Blair administration about Walstein. Anne LeVeque said she walked away from a meeting with Blair’s principal with the impression that Walstein would retire at the school year’s end. He ended up staying at Blair until 2013 and on the substitute teaching roster until 2016...

FOX5: Public tolerance for sending students to school in snow lower now than in past, says Montgomery Co.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Call MoCo Delegates and tell them: Vote NO! on MC 27-18, Eminent Domain - Expansion of 'Quick Take' Authority

Our representatives in Annapolis will be holding their weekly off-camera Friday morning meeting tomorrow and plan to vote on a late-filed bill, MC27-18, Montgomery County - Eminent Domain - Expansion of 'Quick Take' Authority.' The bill was requested by the chair on behalf of the Montgomery County government. They will meet tomorrow morning at 9:30am.

Your "representatives" in Annapolis have given you less than 24 hours to let them know how you feel. No public hearing process. Quick! Should they make it easier for the county to seize your property? Tick tock.

This is to amend the Constitution so if it makes it through the legislature it would be on the ballot in November.
From the bill:
"For the purpose of proposing an amendment to the Maryland Constitution to expand the authority of the County Council of Montgomery County to provide for the immediate taking of private property situated in the County and needed for certain purposes; making stylistic changes; and submitting this amendment to the qualified voters of the State for their adoption or rejection."
This would give the County Council authority for quick take on STATE roads which they currently do not have. So yes. This can be for the BRT and for the Beltway projects as well as the Bike plan which will also have to acquire property. Also, small cell towers. The State has a very defined process for taking and it is not quick take.  This would supersede that and the decisions would be made by politicians. Currently county quick take on county roads is limited.
Note that no other Maryland County has the ability for quick take on state roads.
Your delegates and their contact information are here. Just think of it as a game show. You have just a few more minutes to press the button. Or in this case, email your delegates. Remember, time's almost up!

Breaking: MCPS Teacher John Vigna Loses Appeal of Sentencing

MCPS teacher John Vigna appealed his 48 year sentence imposed on August 4, 2017, in Montgomery County Circuit Court. 

On December 1, 2017,  the Montgomery County Sentencing Panel that reviewed his sentence denied Mr. Vigna a hearing on this matter and affirmed the sentence imposed by Judge Boynton on August 4th. 



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

WPost: What about #MeTooKids? @mcps @mocoboe

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has called for an “investigator general” for public schools, and Maryland legislators seek “to make Maryland the most woman-friendly state legislature in the country.” What about the children? Where is the legislation that would penalize educators for failing to report child sexual abuse to child protective services or the police? Where is the legislation to create an inspector general with enforcement authority to recommend criminal penalties for those who fail to root out child predators in Maryland public schools?
Montgomery County Public Schools tried to cover up the growing scandal within its system. Conviction of child molesters, settlements to victims and nondisclosure agreements are all part of the scam that defrauds parents and taxpayers. Transparency and accountability are hard to find.  

At the January meeting of the Montgomery County Civic Federation, Superintendent Jack Smith and Chief of Staff Henry Johnson refused to answer questions from activists and parents of Cloverly Elementary School about a child predator arrested by state police...

Maryland County Has Joined Huge Artificial Turf Class Action Lawsuit @mcps @mocoboe

A Crisis of Confidence In Maryland Schools: Is An Investigator General The Solution?

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has said that parents’ confidence in public schools is waning. Now, the Republican governor is proposing an office of an independent investigator with the power to subpoena to look into corruption allegations in Prince George’s County ––as well as complaints of mold and broken heating systems around the state. Is his move politically motivated? And will it pass in a General Assembly controlled by the Democratic Party? Guest host Brendan Greeley discusses with local parents and education advocates...

These kinds of Victim Impact Statements have taken place in Mont. Co. courtrooms, except without cameras and even without the press.

Sexual assault victims confront former Olympic doctor Larry Nassar in court

An onslaught of victims, many of them tearful and with voices tinged with anger and determination, confronted former USA Olympic gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar in a Michigan courtroom Tuesday, telling him how he robbed them of their childhoods by using his position as a star physician to sexually assault them and scar them for life.
One by one, the victims stood at a podium in Ingram County Circuit Court in Lansing just feet from the man who molested them as children, some in front of their parents during medical examinations...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

WED 1/17: Off Camera, Off Site County Council Meeting to Discuss Public Comments #NoVideo

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Rockville Library Board Room #311 9:30 Council Retreat

A.Administrative Items:

Council calendar 2018

2018 Council appointments

Update - Council Office Building renovations

Update - Council Office Building security

Town hall meetings and community engagement

B.Open Floor for Councilmembers’ comments


Former MCPS Employee Indicted on Charges of Sexually Touching 10-Year-Old Girl

Former MCPS Employee Indicted on Charges of Sexually Touching 10-Year-Old Girl: Gaithersburg resident was fired from school system in May

...Roy “Andy” Simmons III, 41, was indicted by a Montgomery County Circuit Court grand jury, according to court filings posted Friday
He was arrested in October in connection with an incident that allegedly occurred in November 2016 at Carderock Springs Elementary School in Potomac...

School Board Comes Out in Opposition to Bus Inspection Bill

School Board Comes Out in Opposition to Bus Inspection Bill

The short list for NYC’s next schools chief

Josh Starr, the ex-superintendent of Montgomery County, Md., and Stamford, Conn., schools was a runner-up to Fariña last time and is still a national leader in progressive education administration circles. He possesses New York roots and played a brief role as school-accountability czar during the Bloomberg administration...

Monday, January 15, 2018

In this #MeToo, moment, let’s not forget abused children .@mcps .@mocoboe .@KathleenDumais1

In this #MeToo and #TimesUp moment, just as we’ve been shocked by the abuse, we are also disturbed by the enablers, the seemingly good people who either knew or strongly suspected that something foul was afoot but chose not to act.

For each persistent abuser, there are enablers who chose not to act...
...Every state and territory has enacted penalties that range from civil fines to criminal charges for those who knowingly fail to report child abuse — except Maryland and Wyoming...
 ...• prevented the Montgomery County school officials from simply reprimanding charismatic veteran teacher John Vigna for his inappropriate contact with children, while letting him stay in the classroom for decades.
• emboldened the numerous teachers at Vigna’s and Carraway’s schools to defy their bosses’ assurances that they’d handle the problem, and do what Maryland law has long required: report to police or child protective services... 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Number of Students Taking the SAT Jumped by More Than Half, City Says

From The New York Times, by reporter Elizabeth A. Harris. Full story here.

The number of New York City public school students taking the SATs shot up last year, after the city offered the test free during the school day.
The city’s education department said that 61,800 high school juniors took the test last year, a 51 percent increase from the year before.
Phil Weinberg, the deputy chancellor whom Ms. Fariña credited as the person responsible for the initiative, said the city paid about $2.2 million to make the SAT free to every student who wanted to take it — Ms. Fariña said that even some students at the Rikers Island jail complex participated last year.

Senate Bill 103: Task Force to Study the Impact of Student Cell Phone Use in the Classroom

FOR the purpose of establishing the Task Force to Study the Impact of Student Cell Phone 4 Use in the Classroom; providing for the composition, chair, and staffing of the Task 5 Force; prohibiting a member of the Task Force from receiving certain compensation, 6 but authorizing the reimbursement of certain expenses; requiring the Task Force to 7 study certain matters; requiring the Task Force to report its findings to the Governor 8 and the General Assembly on or before a certain date; providing for the termination 9 of this Act; and generally relating to the Task Force to Study the Impact of Student 10 Cell Phone Use in the Classroom

Thursday, January 11, 2018

WSJ: iPhones and Children Are a Toxic Pair, Say Two Big Apple Investors

By David Benoit
Updated Jan. 7, 2018 7:28 p.m. ET
The iPhone has made Apple Inc. and Wall Street hundreds of billions of dollars. Now some big shareholders are asking at what cost, in an unusual campaign to make the company more socially responsible.

A leading activist investor and a pension fund are saying the smartphone maker needs to respond to what some see as a growing public-health crisis of youth phone addiction...

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Md. Gov. Hogan slams regional schools, calls for inspector general

...The Maryland State Education Association, which represents teachers in Maryland public schools, called Hogan’s statements “an attack on public education.” Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, who is running for governor, said the current state board of education, whose members are appointed by the governor, already has the power to conduct audits of school systems. “Right now, he has the ability to do that.”
Baker said that if the governor really wanted to help school systems, “Maybe he should meet with superintendents once a week.”
In Montgomery County, Janis Sartucci, with the Parents Coalition, whose members have been sharp critics of spending and management practices in the local school system, welcomed Hogan’s plan for an education inspector general.
“It’s long overdue and desperately needed,” said Sartucci. “If the governor is looking at bringing in additional resources and additional oversight, we would fully support that.”...

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

@mcps driver Alfonso Merma says his bus was stopped when it slid off Tulip Lane in Potomac. Teenage special needs student and an aide on board.

Parents are upset after Superintendent Jack Smith left tonight’s budget meeting early. They wanted to ask him about the former lunch aide at Clover Elementary School aide, Sean Kelley, who was arrested for child porn distribution.

Full Report:

ABC7: “Where were all the school board members?” - Cloverly Elementary School Parent.

Full Report:

MoCo Fire & Rescue: MCPS Bus Appears to Have Slipped on Icy Street this AM

MCPS Parent, "You can't even keep them safe."

Full Report:

ABC7: Parents confront MCPS leaders, after lunch aide charged with possession of child porn

As Superintendent Dr. Jack Smith walked out of a budget meeting early on Monday night, parents were furious.

“(You all) know what we were here for,” said one parent.

They were there to ask him about Sean Kelley.

Before his arrest, Kelley worked as a part-time lunch aide at Cloverly Elementary School.

He’s now charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.

“He is charged with three counts of distribution of imagery of a minor engaged in sexual conduct and seven counts of possession of imagery of an individual under the age of 16 engaged in sexual conduct,” said a spokesperson for Maryland State Police.

After Dr. Smith left the meeting, parents directed their questions to Chief of Staff Dr. Henry Johnson...

Monday, January 8, 2018