Friday, November 17, 2017

Richard Montgomery Student Taken to Hospital After Bus Rolls Over Her Foot

Richard Montgomery Student Taken to Hospital After Bus Rolls Over Her Foot: Police spokesman said incident was minor

SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER DR. JUDY DOCCA APOLOGIZES FOR DEROGATORY REMARK IN JULY

Earlier this month, Dr. Judy Docca filed to run for a fourth term on Montgomery County School Board, as first reported by Bethesda Beat. This touched off a controversy over a statement Docca made in July during a board meeting. She referred to herself as “retarded” while describing herself as forgetful. The term is considered derogatory to people with intellectual disabilities.
Parents’ groups called for an apology from Docca. The Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County posted this video from the board meeting in July.

http://www.mymcmedia.org/school-board-member-dr-judy-docca-apologizes-derogatory-remark-july/

As superintendent, Dallas Dance spent more than a third of 2016 school days traveling out of state

Former Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance spent more than a third of the school days in 2016 traveling to out-of-state education conferences at a cost of tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars, public records show.
During his five-year tenure, Dance hopscotched from city to city and coast to coast, traveling far more often than other superintendents in the region, according to records obtained by The Baltimore Sun through a Maryland Public Information Act request. Dance made the trips with the approval of a series of county school board chairs.
At many stops — from New Orleans to New York, Miami to San Diego — Dance gave speeches touting his initiative to give all students in Baltimore County laptops. In one case, an event sponsor paid Dance $5,000 for a speech, compensation he did not report on financial disclosure forms, according to other records. The school system’s ethics panel twice reprimanded Dance for failing to disclose other part-time work...

Thursday, November 16, 2017

MoCo Planning Board Puts Cell Tower on Public School Playground, No Parent Input, Student Safety Not Evaluated @CaseyAndersonPB @natalifani

Daly Elementary School cell tower compound.
The last time MCPS put a cell tower on a public school playground was in 2006.

Since then, Montgomery County parents have spoken loud and clear that they do not want commercial telecommunications structures and compounds on their local public school playgrounds and fields.

Remember these attempts to put cell towers on public school playgrounds?

Sligo Middle School parents said no to a cell tower.

Parkland Middle School parents said no to a cell tower.

Wootton High School parents said no (twice) to a cell tower. 

Northwest High School parents said no to a cell tower.

Julius West Middle School parents said no (twice) to a cell tower.

Whitman High School parents said no to a cell tower.

And the list goes on.

So what did the Montgomery County Planning Board do in order to build a new cell tower on the Blair High School baseball field? 

The Montgomery County Planning Board did not ask parents their position on this project, did not hold a community meeting to present the plans, and withheld the actual construction plans from the public.  

And so today in a 4 to 1 vote, the Montgomery County Planning Board voted to do what the Board of Education has not done since 2006.  The Planning Board voted to add a cell tower to the Blair High School baseball field.  Details of the construction plan were not presented to the Planning Board and they did not ask staff to present the actual plans.  The Planning Board did not seek out parent input and did not care that none had been received.

Thanks to Planning Board member Tina Patterson for caring about public school students.  Ms. Patterson voted against this construction project and attempted to get a delay of today's vote.  

MCPS Staff Gave Superintendent Data with Error for Boundary Decision

Public To Weigh in on Alternative Attendance Maps for Future Rockville Elementary School: Community concerns, incorrect numbers have complicated boundary-setting process
After this proposal was presented in October, Montgomery County Public Schools staff members discovered an error in the FARMS projections, and Smith withdrew his recommendation.“I wouldn’t have selected it had I known the numbers were wrong,” Smith said.

Former PTA treasurer charged with embezzlement in Maryland

The former treasurer of a PTA group in Maryland’s largest school system has been charged with embezzlement and has agreed to plead guilty in November, according to court records.
The treasurer, Lisa Betts, 45, intends to repay the $39,015 that was misappropriated from the countywide council of PTAs, which represents PTAs in Montgomery County’s public schools, the records state...
...“Ms. Betts’ claim is that the funds stolen from [the countywide PTA] were used to cover her theft from two local PTAs at which she served as president and treasurer,” Harris wrote in a message to PTA board members Thursday. “Unfortunately, due to the nature of her thefts from those two PTAs, it is impossible to determine whether or not they have been made whole.”...

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

ABC7: Only 2 states have no penalties for failing to report child sex abuse. Md. is one of them.

“There is no penalty if you fail to report,” said Maryland Senator Susan Lee (D-Bethesda). “I think we’re letting down the children that we’re trying to protect against abuse and neglect.”

http://wjla.com/features/7-on-your-side/only-two-states-have-no-penalties-for-failing-to-report-child-sex-abuse-maryland-is-one-of-them

Park Rules Prohibit Cell Towers in Local Parks, But Planning Board Staff Recommends One Anyway

See highlighted section below for discussion of Montgomery County Planning Board's review of the placement of a new cell tower at the Blair Local Park located next to Blair High School. 
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COMMENTS SUBMITTED BY
William E. “ Rick” Meyer
North Potomac, MD
On behalf of the Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers (MC4T)

In the Matter before Planning Board:
PRIVATE TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITY SITING REQUEST


None of the three structures under consideration can be considered routine matters with minimal impact. We strongly encourage the Planning Board to further evaluate the unique circumstances surrounding each and all three sites that would restrict and/or prohibit the proposed modifications:

1.     Sligo Creek Radio Tower –  (TFCG application #201612-05 recommended for six 72” inch antenna on December 7, 2016 and subsequently refiled for second recommendation for twelve 72” antenna which was issued on March 6, 2017)

This red and white lattice tower is one of the oldest, if not THE oldest radio broadcast tower in the Washington DC region, and may have been standing for more than 70 years. The tower is part of the very colorful and fascinating history linked to the commercial development of AM radio broadcasting in Montgomery County, and particularly to the growth of predecessor stations of WTOP and WFED, which have long been based in Wheaton.  As such, we believe the Sligo Creek Radio tower is historically and culturally significant, and any decisions regarding potential modifications to this structure should first carefully evaluated, as such.

Strapping on twelve 72’  antennas mid-section at the 120’ level to his radio tower would SUBSTANTIALLY alter the physical design and structural loading upon the  247’ tall tapered lattice work. The tower was  originally  built for the sole purpose of holding  slender antennae at the very top. The estimated age of this structure would call into serious  question its ability to support approximately  ½ ton additional weight of twelve new antenna, cabling  and fastener hardware. A thorough structural and wind analysis by a certified tower engineer  should be required and carefully evaluated.

Further, bolting on  twelve 72” tall panel antenna to the lattice grid the 120’ foot elevation would be high above the tree line, and would dramatically transform the aesthetics and appearance of the radio tower making it both obtrusive, bulky and clumsy and far different than its sleek needle design. The twelve box antenna would be visible from most of the gold course and surrounding as such.

This is now, and has always been a radio tower, which is defined and  treated completely separately by the County zoning ordinance Section 3.5.2. Communication Facility,  B.   Media Broadcast Tower.  The County zoning ordinance ONLY permits radio towers up to 199 feet tall  as “limited use” – anything higher is treated as conditional use!  While the Sligo Creek Radio tower  was probably built long before zoning standards, today it nonetheless falls within the conditional use standards, Further, that same zoning ordinance states that “change to any use within the conditional use” would require permitting through an OZAH hearing. 

2.     Wheaton Regional Park Maintenance Yard Monopole(TFCG application 2016-05 submitted November 11, 2016 and recommended on December 7, 2016.)

The Wheaton Park Yard monopole is one of the most popular with wireless providers in the County because it is  located on one of the highest and most prominent elevations with total  height  of the tower and antenna at  approximately 590’ above sea level.  Accordingly, it   is already loaded (and perhaps overloaded) with dozens of  various collocated antennas from multiple wireless providers.  It has become a bloated, extremely unsightly  contraption that resembles a collection of old crab traps on a giant stick, which is  visible from most of the otherwise serene trails within the park. The aesthetics of this assemblage are far out of character with all other carefully managed aspects of this important Regional Park.

As with the Sligo Creek radio tower, a comprehensive structural and wind analysis by a certified tower engineer  should be required and carefully evaluated before any additional weight is added to the structure.

This Wheaton Park monopole was built in 1997 under Special Exception S-2304. Therefore, any modifications to that Special Exception, including prior requests for additional antennae as added over the past 20 years should have required approval through OZAH hearings.  No such hearings were conducted and the validity of the multiple subsequent modifications should be questioned.

3.     Blair Local Park Light Pole:  (TFCG application 201610-57 submitted September 7, 2016, resubmitted April 11, 1997 and recommended with conditions on May 16, 2017.)

While it is still unclear as to how and why a wireless telecommunications monopole was approved in Blair Local Park in 1997-98, such a facility  is absolutely is NOT permissible today under Montgomery Parks Telecommunications Facility Siting Administrative Procedures, which are attached to the agenda briefing packet.  The reason for this prohibition is simple:  Large telecommunications towers overwhelm the physical dimensions and characteristics of small, local parks - just as the current 128’ pole looms above the outfield fence of Thunderbolts Park.

Section 7.6(f) of the Administrative procedure specifically and clearly states that Local Parks (such as Blair) “ shall not be considered for use for telecommunications sites.”

While other sections of the  administrative procedure allow for exceptions to place wireless facilities in active recreation areas, (and even refers to modification of ball park lights) the language is clear that this exception  is ONLY applicable in Regional and Recreation Parks.  No  such allowances are  made for Local Parks, where telecommunications facilities are  “not to be considered.” There is no provision  in the administrative procedure to allow Planning Board to overrule of this Local Park exclusion.

The pole was abandoned by the prior wireless carrier at expiration of lease in 2015, and has remained under  sole and exclusive use as a Local Park  light pole ever since. We have requested, but not yet received a copy of the original lease.  However, if that lease  was written in conformance to Montgomery County COMCOR, the  lease would have REQUIRED the wireless operator to immediately remove the pole, and all related equipment at expiration of the lease.  This was apparently not done, for reasons as yet, not fully understood.  Regardless, at such point of lease expiration and abandonment in 2015 the pole became a light fixture and nothing more. Accordingly, all remaining appurtenances under the prohibition of telecommunications facilities in Blair Local Park contained in  section 7.6(f) above, INCLUDING the pole should immediately be REMOVED,

As a final note, the circumstances surrounding the Blair Local Park Light Pole and the Sligo Creek Radio Broadcast Tower have been  mischaracterized as “existing cell tower(s) in the park system” in the  official update  soliciting public input.  This gives false and misleading impression that proposed modifications are routine matters with minimal impact. There are NO approved wireless antennas currently on the Sligo Creek Radio Tower  structure. This is NOT and has never been an existing cell tower. There are NO approved or existing wireless antennas on the Blair Local Park Light Pole. This is NOT an existing cell tower.

In closing, Planning Board as  landlord of our public parks needs to fully understand and fully  exercise its proprietary rights as granted by the FCC, when evaluating wireless telecommunications facilities lease requests for property under your control.  These proprietary rights are separate and distinct from regulatory limitations imposed upon local government entities by Federal Communications Commission regulations.

We urge the Planning Board to withhold action on all three of these proposed modifications until each of these issues and questions can be thoroughly examined and validated.

The Montgomery County Coalition to Control Cell Towers (“MC4T”) is comprised of concerned County residents, including representatives from homeowner’s associations and civic organizations. MC4T was formed  during the Fall, 2016 in response to Zoning Text Amendment (“ZTA” ) 16-05, which was eventually withdrawn. 

The mission of MC4T is to preserve and enhance the character and aesthetics of all County neighborhoods by minimizing adverse impact of telecommunications facilities, protect our homes and communities from unsafe towers and poles, and assure full transparency, due process and fair representation in all decisions on wireless infrastructure. (www.mc4t.org)

Planning Board Left Unused Cell Tower in Blair Outfield, Now Wants to Put Up Another Cell Tower in Undisclosed Location #BlairHighSchool @CaseyAndersonPB

TESTIMONY OF SUE PRESENT  NOVEMBER 16, 2017 PLANNING BOARD HEARING TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES AT PARK PROPERTIES

Chairman Anderson and Members of the Board:

I am testifying because I am concerned that the public is being denied fair and proper access and input for the reviews of the applications proposing telecommunications facilities at Blair (high school) Local Park, Wheaton (Park) Maintenance Yard, and Sligo Creek Golf Course.

Blair (High School) Local Park

To begin, in accordance with Section 4 of the Planning Board’s Rules, I am requesting that the record be left open and that the Board defer decisions until at least 30 days after the Board’s staff have responded in full to my MPIA Request for pertinent documents and relevant information concerning the proposed wireless facility at Blair (high school) Local Park, and for any other pertinent and relevant information that this hearing may reveal is outstanding concerning that site or the other sites proposed for wireless facilities.

On October 30th, I requested documents and information from Parks Department Assistant Chief Michelle Grace. The documents and information are pertinent to the substantive review of the Blair application. Michelle Grace, after committing to sending me the application and plans for the subject application, then informed me that that I would need to file an MPIA request to get those as well as the documents that I subsequently requested for the original telecommunications facility that was approved for the site. 

I submitted my MPIA request on November 2nd, requesting pertinent documents to review for this hearing, including plans that should have been deemed public information because of their public information status through the Tower Committee’s review process. Obviously, the Planning Board would have had this information as the land-owning agency, and also because the Board is a “designee” to the TFCG (Tower Committee), per 2.58E(d)(1)(A). Yet, to date, no information has been furnished beyond what has been posted on the Board’s website for today’s agenda item. 

In addition to having been denied public information, Michelle Grace explained that the primary reason for the monopole having not been removed was “it would have been extremely cost prohibitive to remove Sprint’s monopole, and replace it with another pole of the same height and structural integrity to re-hang the athletic field lights.”  I have not (yet) seen the original lease, or the conditions established at the time of the original approval of the facility. However, in light of the following, I find her explanation unsettling for the following reasons: 1) The provision in COMCOR 02.58E.01.07.c., requires that any form lease developed for the use of land-owning agencies “must include a provision requiring the removal of the facility by the lessee after the useful life of the facility concludes or upon expiration or termination of the lease, and may include the posting of a bond to guarantee removal.”   
2


2) In cases of special exceptions, the old zoning ordinance required every freestanding support structure must be removed at the cost of the owner of the telecommunications facility when the telecommunications facility is no longer in use by any carrier for more than 12 months.

3) MCPS School leases for telecommunications facilities, including those reviewed by the Planning Board, have included the requirement that, upon discontinuation of the telecommunications facility, at the Lessee’s expense the monopole shall either be shortened to other light standards’ heights or replaced with normal light standards, in either case at the Lessor’s choice.

Therefore, in accordance with Section 4 of the Board’s Rules, I would like to ask the following questions of the appropriate Board Staff:

o Was there a provision in the telecommunications facility lease that gave M-NCPPC authority to either require the Lessee to remove the structure or to shorten it to normal light-standard height when the structure’s use as a telecommunications facility had ended? 

o If so, why didn’t M-NCPPC exercise this authority? Please give a complete explanation as to why the full-height monopole has remained at the site.

o Did the Lessee, Sprint, comply with all obligations to remove or modify the structure and restore the property? If not, then why has M-NCPPC continued to engage with Sprint in lease agreements at other locations?


As mentioned, most of the information that I requested has not yet been furnish. I therefore encourage this Board to wait for the information that would reveal the conditions under which the original land use approval was authorized. If the conditions are not being met or could not be met with approval of the application, then I urge this Board to not approve the current application.  

However, if the Board would not be inclined to await for full information or adhere to the original conditions, then based upon the facts that are available, I assert that the monopole should not have remained – at least not at its existing height. At a minimum, the Board should fairly evaluate the Blair Local Park site as a new telecommunications installation, not as an antenna attachment.

Wheaton (Regional Park) Maintenance Yard

The Telecommunications Facility at the Wheaton Maintenance Yard site is governed by a Special Exception that was granted for that facility, S-2304. Older Tower Committee documents demonstrate that the Tower Committee previously “recommended” Clearwire’s application, in February 2010. See http://montgomerycountymd.gov/cable/Resources/Files/Towers/notices/2010/Feb3.pdf 
3

I think that the 2004 Zoning Ordinance would have required a land use review process for this colocation and modification to the existing Special Exception. At a minimum, the Tower Committee should have only “conditionally recommended” the 2010 application, subject to it meeting Board of Appeals conditions.  In accordance with Section 4 of the Board’s Rules, my questions of the appropriate Board Staff are:

o What Conditions did the Board of Appeals establish when it issued Special Exception S-2304? 
 o Is the Telecommunications Facility currently in compliance with all of the conditions established through the Special Exception? If not, please explain.

o Would adding the proposed additional facility be in compliance with the conditions established through the Special Exception? If not, please explain. If the conditions are not being met or could not be met, then I urge this Board to not accept the current application.  If this Board does not have the information on the Special Exception and the original conditions, then I urge this Board to defer decisions until those answers can be provided and considered.

Sligo Creek Golf Course

Each of the applications that is being considered today is for attachment to a facility that was originally approved and deployed many years ago. The radio tower at Sligo Creek Golf Course is a particularly “vintage” facility. Like the others, I think it is important to review and consider the conditions of the original authorization(s).  In accordance with Section 4 of the Board’s Rules, my questions of the appropriate Board Staff are: o What conditions were established with the approval of the installation of the radio tower at the Sligo Creek Golf course?

o Is this radio broadcast facility currently in compliance with all of the established conditions? If not, please explain.

o Would adding the proposed additional telecommunications facility be in compliance with the originally established conditions? If not, please explain. If the conditions are not being met or could not be met, then I urge this Board to not accept the current application. TFCG Regulations I have requested that the TFCG applications be returned to the Tower Committee for proper review, in compliance with the TFCG Regulations.  
4

On October 30th, I notified Michelle Grace that the Tower Committee had conducted deficient reviews of all three subject applications because the mandated public input that M-NCPPC should have submitted prior to those reviews had not even been initiated until after the Tower Committee’s reviews had concluded.  Per COMCOR 02.58E.01.05.b, the land-owning agency (i.e. M-NCPPC) must:          1.   Review the site application in accordance with the agency's siting standards and policy.          2.   Receive and evaluate public input as part of the agency's decision process.          3.   Submit input concerning the application at the scheduled Group meeting via, its Group designee.

Michelle sent me a nonsensical response. But I hope that the Planning Board will take the obligations under the TFCG Regulations seriously.

Proprietary Review The Planning Board has many functions. But its function in reviewing these applications is a proprietary function, not a regulatory function. In addition to my own concerns about adherence to process and proper public input, concerns expressed/posted by other stakeholders have included aesthetics, financial issues, and safety. The Planning Board may approve or deny these applications for any of these reasons. The restrictions that the FCC places upon local regulators, found in the final attachment in the agenda packet does NOT apply to proprietors. As a proprietor, you may even deny applications on the basis of RF emissions. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Sue Present

MCEA and the Apple Ballot at its Best

MCEA and the Apple Ballot - are you serious?

Judy Docca, one of your favorite candidates, is running for reelection?

Seriously? Its too early for April Fools jokes.

If the material in today's Washington Post is accurate - please - share with us why Mrs. Docca didn't offer a public apology earlier?

Next question - why the apology AFTER she announced her decision to run again for reelection? Is an apology only needed for folks who want to place their name on the ballot?

And - an even bigger question for the Union, the Apple Ballot, and the dedicated educators in Montgomery County - is this the best you have to offer?  Or do you think this is the best you can offer?  




Thurs.: Casey Anderson & Planning Bd to Put 3 Cell Antennas on Park Land Without Having Files or Making Facts Public #BlairHighSchool

On Thursday, November 16, 2017, the Montgomery County Planning Board will approve the construction of 3 cell tower antennas on Park land.  The Planning Board will make their decision to approve these projects without the files connected to these projects and while REDACTING public information from the public. 

Basic information about these projects has been redacted from the limited information that the Planning Board will have before it on Thursday.  In addition, the applications connected to these proposals have not been provided.  A public information act request for these documents has not been fulfilled. Does the Planning Board staff even HAVE the completed applications?

Here is the limited information in the Planning Board packet and the redacted information is blacked out.

http://montgomeryplanningboard.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Siting-for-Private-Telecommunications-Memo-Redacted-Public-Copy-002.pdf

The information that has been redacted is actually public information that is routinely part of cell tower applications in Montgomery County.  Yet, the Planning Board apparently thinks the location of a cell tower is now a "secret."  

The Montgomery County Planning Board is also approving the Blair High School baseball field cell tower based on incorrect information.  There currently is not a working cell tower on the Blair baseball field.  The previous cell tower that had been there was turned off and is no longer used.  That cell tower should have been removed, however, the Planning Board allowed a useless tower and compound to remain in the baseball field outfield.

Redacted information, missing files, and incorrect information will equal a vote of the Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday?

Washington Post Creates Important Timeline in PG County Sex Abuse Case

Timeline: Complaints in the Deonte Carraway child sex abuse case in Maryland

Has The Washington Post done the same sort of coverage of sexual abuse trials and litigation in Montgomery County, Maryland? 

Lax management, ignored complaints created ‘unchecked breeding ground for abuse,’ lawsuit in Md. school sex case asserts

Less than two months after Deonte Carraway was hired as a teacher’s aide for an elementary school in Prince George’s County, a fourth-grade student complained about his behavior to an administrator.
“You need to check Deonte’s phone,” the student told one of the school’s top officials, a new court filing shows. “There’s some things with kids on it, nasty things.”
The administrator dismissed the student’s concerns and did not investigate, saying Carraway had a “clean record,” according to a lawsuit filed against school staff members and the county school board.
Hundreds of pictures, dozens of videos and 23 victims later, the student turned out to be right...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/lax-management-ignored-complaints-created-unchecked-breeding-ground-for-abuse-lawsuit-in-md-school-sex-case-asserts/2017/11/14/e55433ca-c884-11e7-8321-481fd63f174d_story.html?utm_term=.4a03fff26e94

The Washington Post took 77 Days to Cover the MCPS teacher John Vigna Trial .@PostBaron @washingtonpost

Why didn't The Washington Post send a reporter to cover the trial of Montgomery County Public School teacher John Vigna while it was in progress?


When students are sexually abused in other public school districts does it take The Washington Post 77 days to report on the trials in those cases?

Today we see The Washington Post reporting on a civil trial involving the sexual abuse of public school students by a staff member/volunteer.  The coverage of the civil case is in real time as the case is proceeding.  The coverage gives details that show that public school administrators were warned about this perpetrator but did not report him to Child Protective Services or the police.  The failure to report lead to additional victims.  This case is in Prince George's County.

And therein lies the difference.  The Washington Post jumps on events involving sexual abuse of students that happen in Prince George's County, but dawdles on coverage of the exact same types of cases when they happen in Montgomery County.

Why?  Maybe The Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron would like to explain why the difference in reporting?

Remember Marty Baron is the Boston Herald Editor featured in the movie Spotlight.  Clearly he knows how to investigate and report on these types of stories.

Why no SPOTLIGHT on the sexual abuse of public school students in Montgomery County, Maryland?

Report questions grade changes in Prince George’s

State education officials say they are deeply concerned about the findings of an investigation into alleged grade-fixing in Maryland’s second-largest school district.
An audit released Friday says almost 5,000 students graduating from Prince George’s County schools this year and last year had late grade increases after final cutoff dates.
A sampling of roughly 1,200 students from that group found that the late changes affected final grades for more than 400 students. Half of them had grade changes with no documentation, and scores more had only limited documentation.
The report also found that many graduates had unlawful absences exceeding 10 days, and that 59 were ineligible to graduate.
Investigators were unable to determine graduation eligibility for almost 300 other students, or one-fourth of the population sample, because of insufficient documentation...

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

School Board Approves 2018-19 School Calendar

http://www.mymcmedia.org/school-board-approves-2018-19-school-calendar/

WPost: Schools and cellphones: In elementary schools? At lunch?

It’s been a long time since mobile phones arrived in the nation’s schools, but educators are still grappling with what to do about them.

Should they be allowed in elementary schools? What about middle-schoolers using them at lunch? Which limits make the most sense for devices so ubiquitous?

What has become a more settled matter for high school students is sparking questions and controversy in lower grades, some two decades after mobile phones became an inescapable part of the cultural landscape.

The debate has emerged in Maryland’s biggest school system — in suburban Montgomery County — where some of the rules have been relaxed in recent months.

It used to be that students through fifth grade could carry cellphones only with special permission. But over the years, an increasing number of parents wanted their elementary-age children to take phones to school, often believing kids would be ­safer — walking home or in an emergency — with the device at the ready.

As the Maryland district recently moved to do away with the old rule, other parents objected — shocked that children as young as 6 or 7 would be permitted to bring smartphones to school. One father recalled his child’s school banning fidget spinners and Pokémon cards. Why allow cellphones?
“A phone would be more of a distraction,” said Art Bennett, who has three children in Montgomery schools. “Unless there’s a demonstrated need, I don’t see why there ought to be phones in elementary school at all.”

The change in district rules, which took effect this fall, also allows middle school students to use cellphones during lunch if principals give the okay — an idea that has conjured images of children bent over phones in the cafeteria and left parents, already worried about the hours their children spend on screens, dismayed.

“We all know the phone is a blessing and a curse,” said Lisa Cline, co-chair of a safe technology subcommittee of the countywide council of PTAs. “I don’t see why we want to make these children into little adults.”...

...Students are supposed to use the district’s network while in school, and social media sites in Montgomery are blocked for ­middle-schoolers, although some break the rules and go off the network to access them. High school students can use Facebook and Twitter through the network...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/schools-and-cellphones-in-elementary-schools-at-lunch/2017/11/13/1061064a-ba81-11e7-a908-a3470754bbb9_story.html?utm_term=.969a46bd4436

Where is MCPS Data on Lead in Water? 7 On Your Side: Tapped with trouble

Do you have any idea if the water at your child's school is safe to drink?
7 On Your Side did some digging and the I-Team has discovered some alarming results.

http://wjla.com/features/7-on-your-side/7-on-your-side-tapped-with-trouble

Annual Salaries of Montgomery County Public Schools Principals

Annual Salaries of Montgomery County Public Schools Principals: Pay varies based on seniority, school type

Note: Perks, benefits, travel etc... information is not included in this salary information.

False hope for Md. childhood sexual assault survivors

At first glance, the newly enacted Maryland law that extends the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse from age 25 to age 38 appears to offer hope to individuals who, for any number of reasons, are psychologically unable or unwilling to seek a remedy for the horrors they experienced as children until they are well into adulthood.
That’s not how it worked out, however, and at the very least this law delivers false hope. House Bill 642 instead dealt a stealthy and significant win to the Archdiocese of Baltimore — and any other employer that has allowed perpetrators under their purview to persist in terrorizing children.
Here’s why. Although the law extends the statute of limitations from age 25 to 38, it adds an onerous requirement: Victims older than 25 who sue a rapist’s employer must now meet the notoriously difficult-to-prove gross negligence standard. Before this law, a sexual-abuse victim had to demonstrate ordinary negligence by the employer. What the new law means is that older victims suing potentially culpable employers, such as the Archdiocese of Baltimore in the priest-rape cases, must prove that the employer was acting with thoughtless disregard for the consequences without the exertion of any effort to avoid them.
Therefore, schools or camps or other organizations that purport to care for children, but allow abuse under their noses, can get off the hook and avoid compensating victims because proving gross negligence is just too hard...
...This punitive outcome from legislation that was clearly mischaracterized as rendering only a benefit to victims is unacceptable and it should be changed during the next session of the Maryland General Assembly. One way to right this wrong would be to take the high road — an approach that has worked next door in Delaware. That state lifted the statute of limitations on lawsuits for two years for victims of pediatric sexual abuse, giving them an open window to bring suit no matter how old the incidents and regardless of the reason that the victim failed to file before. Such an approach came at no cost to taxpayers, and it helped ensure that pedophiles were identified and possibly prevented from causing harm to other children...

Monday, November 13, 2017

MCPS Board of Education Denies Daly ES Students Free Public Education #poverty #FARMS #extortion #AppleBallot

 "...at Daly, some third-graders need help paying the $5 fee for the recorders they use in music class..."


It is 2017, but the Montgomery County Board of Education still refuses to abide by the Maryland Constitution and offer all public school students a free education 
This recent article in Bethesda Magazine (link below) about Daly Elementary School in Germantown notes that the children are being required to pay a fee to participate in their music class.  That is an illegal fee and in violation of the Maryland Constitution's guarantee of a free public education for public school students.  
In Maryland, everything connected with the curriculum is to be provided to students for free.  One day, maybe progressive Montgomery County will follow the law.  

http://www.bethesdamagazine.com/Bethesda-Magazine/November-December-2017/Hope-Lives-Here/

Saturday, November 11, 2017

"I was appalled by the use of such a hurtful term by a former educator who is also the current Vice President of the Board of Education."

FW FR: Jeanne Taylor, MCCPTA Special Education Committee Chair
Date: November 10, 2017
To: Montgomery County Board of Education
Dear President Durso and Members of the Board of Education,
Today I watched a video in which Dr. Docca used the term “retarded” in a public Board meeting.
Quite frankly, I was appalled by the use of such a hurtful term by a former educator who is also the current Vice President of the Board of Education.
Over the years, the “R” word, originally used as a clinical term, has become a form of derision, similar to “moron” or “idiot”. The term is so offensive that various public agencies - including those under the federal government - have stopped using it.
In the past, the Board has celebrated school-wide campaigns to “Spread the Word to End the Word”, a concerted national effort which educates people about the use of the “R” word, which is a reprehensible slur. One of the pictures on the http://www.r-word.org/ website shows a young man holding up a sticky note which says, “Practice what you preach.”
I would ask that this Board live up to that principle by publicly condemning the use of the “R” word by anyone who works for the Montgomery County Public School system, including members of the Board of Education.
By choosing not to address this issue, the Board will be going against several of its own Core Values which are listed on the Board of Education website: http://www.montgomervschoolsmd.org/boe/about/mission.aspx
In short, the entire school community needs to hear a message of inclusivity, dignity and respect from the top administrator and governing board on down. You are supposed to set the example.
I look forward to hearing about how you will address Dr. Docca’s conduct.
Sincerely,
Jeanne Taylor,
MCCPTA Special Education Committee Chair
cc: MCCPTA Board of Directors

Friday, November 10, 2017

Kennedy High Student Found with Trace Amounts of Cocaine at School, Officials Say

Kennedy High Student Found with Trace Amounts of Cocaine at School, Officials Say: Five staff members checked out at the hospital after exposure to powder

Apple Ballot Endorsed BOE Member Docca Uses "R word" at Public Meeting, Giggles, and Wants to Be Re-Elected

Board of Education member Judy Docca has just filed to run for another 4 year term on the Montgomery County Board of Education.

Judy Docca is an Apple Ballot (Teachers' Union - MCEA) endorsed candidate.

Is this the type of language the Apple Ballot wants to hear from our public officials in our public school system in 2017?