Friday, October 18, 2019

Monique Felder on the Move, Again

Orange County Board of Education Names New Superintendent
(en español)

The Orange County Board of Education is thrilled to announce the selection of Dr. Monique Felder as the next superintendent of the Orange County Schools.  Dr. Felder will take office on November 1, 2019.

During its search for a new superintendent, the Board carefully reviewed applications from a diverse field of thirty qualified candidates and engaged in a thorough interview, background check, and reference check process.  Of the many excellent candidates who applied, the Board believes that Dr. Felder’s experience, leadership, and dedication to students make her the best choice to serve Orange County students, staff, and the community for years to come.  The Board was particularly impressed by Dr. Felder’s commitment to making educational equity a reality for all students, teaching students to become positive citizens of the world.  The Board is confident that she will lead the school system to even higher achievement in its effort to ensure that all students graduate prepared for college, careers, civic engagement and productive lives.

Dr. Felder has enjoyed a long and successful career in public education spanning more than twenty-five years in Maryland and Tennessee.  Most recently, she has served 86,000 students as Chief Academic Officer for the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools in Nashville, Tennessee.  Prior to assuming her most recent position, Dr. Felder served as an executive director to the deputy superintendent for the Prince George’s County Public Schools (Maryland’s second largest school district with 130,000 students).  She also previously served as a director, a supervisor, a principal, and an assistant principal for the Montgomery County Public Schools (Maryland’s largest school district with 162,000 students). Dr. Felder began her career in public education as a classroom teacher in Rockville and Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Dr. Felder has received many recognitions for her success across her career and has published important academic works in the education field.  For example, when she was serving as a principal her school was awarded the International Reading Association’s Exemplary Reading Program Award for the State of Maryland. She also was named a finalist for the Washington Post’s Outstanding Leadership Award. Additionally, she is a co-author of the book Increasing Diversity in Gifted Education: Research-Based Strategies for Identification and Program Services.

Dr. Felder has an impressive academic background as well.  She received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from York College in Jamaica, New York.  She went on to earn a master’s degree in elementary education from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and a doctorate (Ph.D.) in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Dr. Felder has a strong family to support her.  She has three adult children and five grandchildren, ranging in age from eight to seventeen years old. Her eighty-seven-year-old mother lives in Florida.  Both of her maternal grandparents were born and raised in North Carolina, so she has deep roots in the State.

“I am absolutely honored and humbled to be the next superintendent of the Orange County Schools,” said Dr. Felder.  “Serving all students and supporting their education has been my life’s work for twenty-eight years.  I look forward to collaborating with our stakeholders—students, staff, families, community members, and the Board—to improve outcomes for all students.  I can’t wait to get started!”

Please join the Board in congratulating and welcoming Dr. Monique Felder as the new superintendent of the Orange County Schools.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Last year, tech companies reported over 45 million online photos and videos of children being sexually abused — more than double what they found the previous year.

The Internet Is Overrun With Images of Child Sexual Abuse. What Went Wrong?

Online predators create and share the illegal material, which is increasingly cloaked by technology. Tech companies, the government and the authorities are no match.

The images are horrific. Children, some just 3 or 4 years old, being sexually abused and in some cases tortured.
Pictures of child sexual abuse have long been produced and shared to satisfy twisted adult obsessions. But it has never been like this: Technology companies reported a record 45 million online photos and videos of the abuse last year.
More than a decade ago, when the reported number was less than a million, the proliferation of the explicit imagery had already reached a crisis point. Tech companies, law enforcement agencies and legislators in Washington responded, committing to new measures meant to rein in the scourge. Landmark legislation passed in 2008.
Yet the explosion in detected content kept growing — exponentially...

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

From 2012: I want Barclay to “Lance Armstrong MCPS.”

I want Barclay to “Lance Armstrong MCPS.”: Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, Maryland

Armed Robbery Prompts Shelter In Place Order For Blair High School

MCPS: Personal student information, test scores breached

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — A school district in Maryland says a student improperly downloaded personal information and test scores of more than 1,000 students from a college preparation program.
A Montgomery County Public Schools statement says the data breach happened Oct. 3 and impacted 1,344 Naviance accounts tied to Wheaton High School in Silver Spring. Naviance is an online program that enables students to prepare for college and careers.
District spokesman Derek Turner told The Washington Post that the student wrote a program or algorithm that tried various combinations of usernames and passwords to gain access...

“Clearly, the system holds them back and restricts their opportunity to thrive,” [Christopher] Barclay said. “That level of neglect must and can be addressed.”

Community Calls for Education Equity for ‘Black and Brown’ Students
Group makes list of recommendations to address achievement gap
The coalition said that to eradicate the achievement gap, MCPS needs to:
• provide incentives to recruit and retain strong teachers and principals in high needs schools
• increase access to professional learning
• ensure minority students have access to advanced-level courses
• engage families in their students’ education

• work closely with education equity advocates to quickly implement services...
Christopher Barclay was a Montgomery County Board of Education member from December 2006 to 2016. 
Montgomery Co. school board member pays back almost $1,500 in unauthorized expenses
The Washington Post
May 22, 2014

Montgomery County Board of Education member and County Council candidate Christopher S. Barclay has reimbursed the school system for nearly $1,500 in unauthorized expenses since 2012, including restaurant meals and purchases from an online travel site, records show.
The expenses were charged to a board-issued credit card that members and other senior school officials may use for meals, travel and lodging related to official business. School system spokesman Dana Tofig said Thursday that the personal expenses on Barclay’s card were flagged during a monthly review of card use. He said Barclay has fully repaid the school system.
The reimbursements were first disclosed by the Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County, a watchdog group that presses the school system for greater transparency. The information came in response to a public records request, and WJLA (Channel 7) reported on the expenses Wednesday...

MCPS Drops Plan to Build Schools on Parkland [Not MCPS' Land to Use!]

Former Bethesda Music Teacher Indicted on Child Pornography Charges

A former music teacher from Bethesda who state police arrested in May has been indicted on federal child pornography charges.
Charles Victor Kopfstein-Penk, 74, was indicted Thursday in U.S. District Court, the United States Attorney’s office said in a press release.
Kopfstein-Penk was arrested May 23 after state police searched his home on Lone Oak Drive. They said they recovered numerous electronic devices that contained child pornography. The state police obtained a search warrant after they started investigating Kopfstein-Penk in February.
Kopfstein-Penk, who gave music lessons out of his home, had images that included the sexual abuse of children, including one of child pornography that involved a pre-teen, according to the indictment.
The indictment also seeks “the forfeiture of any property traceable to profits from the offense or used to commit the offense, including a desk top computer and five external hard drives.”

He could face up to 20 years in prison...

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Wed. Oct. 16th -Children, Cell Phones & 5G: A Parent Education Session

Children, Cell Phones & 5G: A Parent Education Session

When: Wednesday, October 16, 2019 7 to 9 PM
Where: Room #205 Takoma Park Elementary School 7511 Holly Ave,
What: A multimedia presentation with Q and A for parents and community members. 
Please join us for a community information session on how to make technology safer in your home. Did you know over 18 smartphones have been pulled from the market or software updated because of excessive radiation in Europe? In the USA, popular cell phones also emit radiation exceeding US law but no action has been taken. In addition, Montgomery County is pushing new 5G cell towers forward despite scientists calling for precaution. Several cities have banned 5G. Countries have banned cell phones and Wi-Fi in classrooms.
Curious about the potential health effects? Want practical tips and resources you can use? Please join us!

Topics covered:

- 5G in Montgomery County
- The latest research on children
- Doctor recommendations on cell phones
- Tips to minimize health effects at home
- Strategies to support sleep and learning
Click here to download a flyer for the event

Theodora Scarato is Executive Director of Environmental Health Trust, a scientific think tank focused on environmental health. Scarato was director of an intensive special ed therapy program in Montgomery County Schools and instrumental in the Prince George’s County School System move to address drinking water lead contamination. Scarato has presented at National Institutes of Health, University of CA San Francisco, Albert Einstein Institute for Advanced Study at Hebrew Medical School and has coordinated medical conferences and published research on technology and health impacts.

After decades of pushing bachelor’s degrees, U.S. needs more tradespeople

Maybe the Montgomery County Board of Education should stop charging students class fees to attend Edison High School? 


All throughout high school, they made it sound like going to college was our only option.” Derrick Roberson, who is training to become an electrician

FONTANA, Calif. — At a steel factory dwarfed by the adjacent Auto Club Speedway, Fernando Esparza is working toward his next promotion.
Esparza is a 46-year-old mechanic for Evolution Fresh, a subsidiary of Starbucks that makes juices and smoothies. He’s taking a class in industrial computing taught by a community college at a local manufacturing plant in the hope it will bump up his wages.
It’s a pretty safe bet. The skills being taught here are in high demand. That’s in part because so much effort has been put into encouraging high school graduates to go to college for academic degrees rather than for training in industrial and other trades that many fields like his face worker shortages.
Now California is spending $6 million on a campaign to revive the reputation of vocational education, and $200 million to improve the delivery of it...

Charges filed from fight that broke out during the Paint Branch High School v. Springbrook High School football game. Injuries to MCPS Staff Detailed.

Special education battle continues in Prince George’s County


PFAS CHEMICALS HAVE been identified in synthetic turf, according to lab tests performed on several samples of the artificial grass that were shared with The Intercept. The presence of the chemicals, members of a class that has been associated with multiple health problems, including cancer, adds to growing concerns about the grass replacement that covers many thousands of acres in parks, schools, professional sports stadiums, and practice fields around the U.S.

In one set of tests, the PFAS chemicals were detected in the plastic backing of two samples of the turf. In another, in which the “blades” of the artificial grass were analyzed, scientists measured significant levels of fluorine, which is seen as an indication of the presence of the chemicals.
“We’re seeing unexplained levels of fluorine-based compounds in all of the eight samples of turf grass blades we’ve looked at,” says Jeff Gearhart of the Ecology Center, a nonprofit environmental research group based in Michigan that tested the turf blades. The samples of the blades that tested positive for fluorine were made by two different companies, Shaw Industries and Turf Factory Direct...

Monday, October 14, 2019

“I think we’re better off when we can all sort of listen to each other,” he said. But Del. Luedtke Blocks on Twitter and Facebook. @EricLuedtke

October 14, 2019

“Two careers that I love”: This UMD professor teaches public policy and creates it

When Eric Luedtke graduated in 2002 from the University of Maryland after studying government and politics and history, he didn’t know what he wanted to do.
He first got a job running a county council race, and eventually returned to Maryland for his masters in education. From there, he taught social studies in Montgomery County Public Schools for a while. And he said it was at this job that he was sucked into another world altogether: the world of policy.
Today, Luedtke goes from the corridors of Tawes Hall to the chambers of the Maryland House of Delegates — splitting his time between teaching public policy and creating it.
In the fall, Luedtke teaches classes with an average of about 35 students, but in the spring, he represents more than 120,000 constituents stretching from Olney to Damascus as a representative for District 14 in the Maryland General Assembly, a position he’s held since 2011.
“I happen to have found two careers that I love,” Luedtke said. “When it’s the spring and I’m fully in session and I don’t normally teach, I miss teaching. When it’s the fall and I’m teaching, I miss session.”..

Former Einstein High School Counselor To Serve 20 Years for Raping Two Women

A former Montgomery County high school guidance counselor was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday for raping two women he met through the dating application Tinder.
Colin Sime Black, 35, of Rockville, was found guilty on June 28 of second-degree sexual offense charges for raping a woman on March 24, 2017, according to court documents.
He was also found guilty on July 8 of sexual-degree sexual offenses for raping another woman on Dec. 31, 2016, according to court documents. The two convictions happened in separate trials.
On Friday, Montgomery County Circuit Judge David Boynton issued two consecutive 20-year sentences for the two convictions. Boynton suspended five years of the sentence for the June conviction and he suspended 15 years of the sentence for the July conviction, leaving 20 years for Black to spend in prison.
As part of his punishment, Black must register as a sex offender.

Black, who worked at Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, got together with one woman through Tinder on Dec. 16, 2016, when they engaged in sexual activity, according to court documents...

The Board of Education wants to Divest Lyttonsville of Their Open Space Land, Again. #AntiaircraftArtilleryBattalion

MCPS already designed a school for the Coffield Rec site.
Once again, the Board of Education has put the parkland next to the Coffield Recreation Center in Lyttonsville on a list of potential school sites.  

Back in April of 2011, the Board of Education was told by the Montgomery County Department of Parks that park land is not up for grabs for the placement of school buildings.  See the April 27, 2011, letter from Montgomery Parks to the Board of Education below. 

In 2011, the Board of Education was specifically told they could not have the land next to the Coffield Recreation Center for a public school, yet here that park is again on a list of potential school sites and the Board of Education has even gone so far as to pay for a possible building design for the proposed schoolSee image from MCPS presentation. 

Not only is the Park land next to the Coffield Recreation Center the property of Montgomery Parks, but the land that became part of the fields at Rosemary Hills Local Park was probably the site for an Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion in the first half of the 1950s, as part of a group of such sites that ringed the Washington, DC region before the advent of Nike missile sites after the Korean War.

Because the land was purchased by Parks and Planning before there were federal and state environmental laws that mandated due diligence into toxic materials and other past land uses that could pose a threat to water quality or health and safety, the screening process to assess threats was very superficial, limited, for example, to noting whether a dump or other substandard structures were on site.

This site would need to be investigated thoroughly before any construction could commence and as the long time residents of Lyttonsville know, this past use of this land has prevented other construction projects from taking place on the existing fields. 

Friday, October 11, 2019

Parents sue Fairfax schools, allege improper seclusion and restraint of students with disabilities

Parents and disability rights groups are suing the largest school system in Virginia, alleging students with disabilities experience discrimination, trauma and physical harm through the excessive and improper use of seclusion and restraint in Fairfax County Public Schools.

The parents, Jennifer Tidd, Pamela Ononiwu and Ashley Thomas, are accusing the 189,000-student school system of using the practices to “silence, detain, segregate, and punish students with disabilities,” according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Fairfax school officials said they have completed a thorough and independent review of seclusion and restraint guidelines, and added staff, increased training and appointed an ombudsman for special education. The school system also created a task force to look at best practices for restraint and seclusion. The parents who filed the lawsuit lambasted that task force as a “public relations ploy.”
"We acknowledge that the use of restraint and seclusion is an especially sensitive and challenging issue and is appropriate only when less restrictive alternatives fail," Superintendent Scott Brabrand said in statement released late Tuesday. "We will continue to base our procedures and practices on that guiding principle."
Tidd’s son was secluded on at least 745 occasions and excluded from class several hundred more times over seven years, according to court papers. Tidd said she did not receive notice or documentation of the instances of seclusion within 24 hours, despite school system guidelines that say she should have been notified in that time frame.
“We have really no way of knowing what the total is,” Tidd said. “Our trust has been breached.”
The parents, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of four students, are asking the federal court to bar the school system from using either of the closely related practices on students with disabilities until an alternative system is implemented...

It's National Coming Out Day!

Happy National Coming Out Day to all our kids, parents, aunts, uncles, family, friends, students, teachers, and staff. Because everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. And because we love our kids.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

MCPS Report: Only Talked to One Focus Group at Damascus HS and 9 Other High School Students

Comment on MCPS report on hazing and rape at Damascus High School:
A total of 2 student focus groups, one at DHS and another with 9 high school students (not sure where they came from).
Regardless, I would have spoken to way more kids than this.  And given the nature of the inquiry and sensitive questions, I probably would have interviewed a lot of kids one-on-one.  I love focus groups.  But in one it is easy for individuals not to reveal things because they don't want the others in the group to know what they know or what may have happened to them.  In all honesty, in a focus group, do "we" actually think a macho football player is going to say, "Yeah, they hazed me and raped me with a broom."  Not happening.  ~ Joseph Hawkins

...The report’s authors acknowledged that no comprehensive, historical review was done of unreported incidents and that no districtwide survey was conducted for the analysis.

Five high schools were examined in the sprawling suburban system, which has 25 high schools and is the largest in Maryland.

Still, it said, “the few extracurricular-associated hazing and bullying incidents of which we became aware appeared to be isolated events, rather than part of a larger, continuing pattern.”..

..."We conducted interviews and focus groups at DHS and at a sampling of other MCPS high schools. At DHS, we interviewed 29 individuals, including administrators, staff members, coaches, parents, and after-school activity sponsors. In addition, we conducted a student focus group. Beyond DHS, we conducted focus-group discussions at four other high schools in different areas of Montgomery County: Seneca Valley High School, Montgomery Blair High School, Walt Whitman High School, and Walter Johnson High School. Those discussions included principals, assistant principals, business administrators, athletic directors, coaches, and extracurricular sponsors. We also conducted four focus groups with staff from across the district: two with MCPS athletic directors (eleven athletic directors in total), one with seven MCPS principals, and one with nine MCPS high school students. Additionally, we spoke with key administrators from the MCPS central office, including Superintendent Smith, members of the District’s senior leadership team, the Chief Safety Officer, the Director of Systemwide Athletics, and representatives from the Office of School Support and Improvement. We also met on two occasions with the Montgomery County State’s Attorney and members of his Office to inform them of the scope of our review and our preliminary findings. We did not interview any victims from the DHS incident, any of the alleged perpetrators, or any of their families (though we did review documents related to the criminal prosecutions), and we otherwise strove to keep our review separate from the investigation by the State’s Attorney’s Office."..

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

MCPS should abandon extended schedules

How would you like six extra weeks of school?
As fearsome as that may seem to the average high school student, expanded schedules have become a reality this school year for hundreds of MCPS students. MCPS officials implemented an experimental schedule in two elementary schools.
In 2018, MCPS designated two Title 1 schools, Arcola Elementary School and Roscoe Nix Elementary school — which have a high population of low-income students — as “innovative schools.” This designation brings a variety of new programs, including free breakfast for students and the integration of Project Lead the Way engineering programs into the curriculum. Most radically, this new schedule added 30 extra days to the school year. Both schools finish in mid-June like the rest of MCPS, but unlike other MCPS schools, they begin in the beginning of July.
These measures are part of a nation-wide effort to fight the so-called “summer learning loss,” a phenomenon where students forget information over a long summer vacation, leading to lower achievement levels during the school year. Some think that long summer vacations are especially harmful for low-income students, who have less access to educational activities, camps and books throughout the summer. 
There’s only one problem with this well-intentioned and seemingly sound program: it doesn’t work.
One notable Ohio State University study found that students at year-round schools don’t learn more than students at traditional schools. In fact, many students in countries that have less instructional time, like India and Finland, actually perform better on standardized tests than students in the U.S. Furthermore, some of the original studies on summer learning loss relied on inaccurate results and could not be replicated.
D.C. Public Schools extended their school year by four weeks for 13 schools in 2017, but they discontinued the program in 2019 due to “concerns from educators about student and staff burnout,” said Ashlynn Profit, DCPS Deputy Press Secretary...

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Questions arise after MCPS spends $415,000 on single-use water bottles

ROCKVILLE – Despite its emphasis on sustainability and recycling, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) spent $415,000 on single-use water bottles during the 2018-2019 school year.
The district purchased 3 million eight-ounce bottles of water for use in the elementary schools and spent $515,000 for 16.9-ounce bottles for students in the upper grades.

State Del. Al Carr. (Courtesy Photo)

When State Del. Al Carr (D-18) toured MCPS’s central food facilities on Sept. 4, he questioned the large amount of single-use water bottles piled up on palettes.
“We need to try and get kids in the habit of sustainability,” he said. “For me, it was just an eye-opener, and I will be asking more questions about it,” Carr said.
“I think we need to provide an alternative,” he said, adding, “The first step is for them to have clear drinking water available to (for) the kids either at fountains or filling stations.” 
The school system is currently looking for ways to solve this issue. It added water fountains with bottle-refilling stations during all their new, revitalized and expansion school projects, according to MCPS’ Fiscal Year 2018 Environmental Sustainability Management Plan. It also has retrofitted some water fountains in existing schools and replacing older ones...

Monday, October 7, 2019

2019 Report: Maintenance of Maryland’s Public School Buildings. MCPS "semi-annual roof assessments were not being completed... and relocatables appear positioned too close together..."


From the Report on Page 40:


Thirty-nine schools were assessed in April and
May 2019. Original existing square footage at
these schools range from 1936 to 2017, with
adjusted building ages ranging from 2 years to
49 years. Eleven of the schools assessed this
year had an adjusted building age of 30 or more
Montgomery County Public Schools is the
largest school system in Maryland with 210
school facilities totaling 24,510,372 square
This year, roofing conditions seemed to need
additional attention as 14 of the 39 assessed
schools received Not Adequate or Poor scores
for this category. It appeared that the required
semi-annual roof assessments were not being
completed or were not completed accurately. If
routine assessments of the roof and other
areas throughout the buildings were performed
more often or thoroughly, MCPS would likely
identify and prevent many of the deficiencies
found during the IAC assessments.

The setup of the newer relocatable classrooms,
like those at Clarksburg Elementary, is of
concern as well. The downspouts are not being
extended down and diverted away from the
structures; this allows water to flow down the
siding and the wood to rot more quickly. In
addition, the relocatables appear positioned
too close together—approximately 1-3 inches
apart—allowing the elements to enter the
space which will slowly rot out the siding and
cause other potential issues, but also be
inaccessible to maintenance personnel unless
the walls are removed from the inside. This will
eventually become costly to repair and require
funding repairs that could and should have
been prevented.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

During an interview with detectives at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney, the girl acknowledged she had been selling her body for sex with adult men.

Cops arrest NoVa remodeler and longtime Northrop Grumman employee in teen escort sex case

Montgomery County Police have arrested and charged two men — a remodeler and longtime Northrop Grumman employee — with soliciting a 15-year-old girl for sex via Craigslist.
Tito Aguilar, 48, of the 700 block of Balls Bluff Road NE in Leesburg and Steven Zareski, 66, of the 11200 block of Sedgefield Road in Fairfax, are each facing multiple criminal counts including sexual solicitation of a minor.
According to court documents, the victim's mother stumbled upon a calendar dotted with male rendezvous and rates charged for sexual services. One appointment listed August 9, 2019, at 12 p.m. with "Steve." On that day, officers with the Gaithersburg Police Department managed to locate the girl walking at the RIO Washingtonian Center with an older adult man, later identified as Zareski.

Friday, October 4, 2019

BCC High School Track Not Completed on Time

Concerns about school building ranking delays funding proposals

ANNAPOLIS — A panel of lawmakers and school system officials delayed approval of two proposals that are expected to lead to a statewide review of school buildings and possibly change how state school construction money is allocated.
The nine-member Work Group on Assessment and Funding of School facilities delayed initial actions amid continued concerns about how a ranking of more than 1,400 schools across Maryland might be used and how it could affect local school system priorities.
“We all care about our kids,” Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon said. “We’re trying to figure out a way to go.”
The panel, led by Salmon, is charged with establishing a new method of determining need for state school construction dollars. The legislature is expected to consider a plan in 2020 that could allocate $2 billion to replace and renovate schools across the state.
Salmon had hoped the panel would be able to come to a consensus about the underlying criteria for a facilities grading system and how it would be used to improve school buildings.
“We have admired the problem a whole lot,” Salmon told the group. “Now we have to come up with a solution.”..
The discussion over the details of the initial proposals was far from finished.
The panel is debating a proposal that would impose a new ranking system that would grade schools based on the age, life expectancy and current condition of school buildings. Increased emphasis would be placed on buildings that have deteriorating roofs, failing heat or air conditioning systems or other health and safety concerns. The formula also would attempt to funnel money to improving or replacing schools that are no longer educationally sufficient because of size or outdated design.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

Draft MOU for MSI Soccer's Take Over of Public School Playground at Julius West Middle School

Note:  Montgomery County's Noise Ordinance calls for quiet hours to begin at 9 PM on weeknights and on weekends quiet hours end at 9 AM.  MSI Soccer wants to use these stadiums until 9:45 PM on weeknights and start games at 8 AM on weekends.  


MEMO from City of Rockville on OCTOBER 7, 2019
regarding the MSI take over of Julius West Middle School playground.



Damascus High returns to football field, a year after sexual assault case consumed town

...All four of the adults were informed of the assaults on the night they occurred; Colbert spoke with Wallich, who passed information about the alleged assault to the athletic director and to Crouse, according to a group text message seen by The Washington Post. None called the police that night; The Post reported in March that school officials waited more than 12 hours to tell police about credible allegations that at least one player had been sexually assaulted with a broomstick.
Wallich declined to be interviewed for this story, writing in an email: “I’m not doing interviews with certain media including [The Post]. I lost respect for just about everyone during this media coverage last year. We have moved on and turned the page. I’m done discussing the past.”..
...There are some less convinced that the county has done enough to address the issues, and whether Wallich should still be the coach. WilmerHale, which has been investigating the school since April, is examining more than the 2018 incident and set out to review any other reports of sexual assault, bullying or hazing within the athletic department since 2017.
MCPS officials have not commented on the decision to retain Wallich. The county’s athletic director, Jeffrey Sullivan, declined to be interviewed.
“I know there have been calls for shutting down the whole program for a year, taking a break, wiping out all of the coaches and starting over,” said Janis Sartucci, an activist with the Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County. “And I think that goes to the question we see in all of these institutions where this has been an issue: Can there be real change if the same decision-makers are left in place? That’s always the problem.”..

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Of those funds, Frederick County Public Schools will receive $755,315 to purchase two electric school buses and a charging station as well as $555,000 for 22 propane-powered school buses. Montgomery, Howard and Prince George’s counties will also receive funding.

Frederick County awarded money to purchase electric school buses

Some students in Frederick County could soon have an eco-friendly ride to school.
On Thursday, the Maryland Department of the Environment approved nearly $2.5 million for electric and alternative fuel school buses as part of a settlement in the Volkswagen emission case.
Of those funds, Frederick County Public Schools will receive $755,315 to purchase two electric school buses and a charging station as well as $555,000 for 22 propane-powered school buses. Montgomery, Howard and Prince George’s counties will also receive funding.
“It’s new technology that we want to be a part of and this is a great opportunity for us to pilot two new buses with some of the other counties ... and see the long-term benefits of electric school buses,” said Fred Punturiero, director of transportation for FCPS.
“Defeat-devices” were installed in numerous Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles from 2009 to 2015. These devices allowed cars to meet emission standards while being tested, but in reality those vehicles emitted levels of nitrogen oxides that were 40 times the federal standard, according to MDE.
About 16,000 of those vehicles were sold in Maryland, thus leading to a case and settlement between Volkswagen and MDE.