Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Open Letter to Superintendent Smith: Due to secrecy, obfuscation and an unwillingness to follow the law, the public is once again left to guess at what MCPS is, or in many cases is not, doing to protect our children.


"Derek G. Turner" ,
"jack_smith@mcpsmd.org" ,
MCPS Board of Education ,
Craig Rice ,
"councilmember.elrich@montgomerycountymd.gov" ,
Councilmember Navarro's Office ,
Good Morning Dr Smith, 

Regarding the sexual abuse of students by staff,  I have, for over the past four  years,  been demanding  MCPS follow the  law, update policy and procedures and as importantly, I have been trying to get MCPS to act in a transparent manner regarding this issue.    MCPS formed a work group due to my advocacy; a  work group which has now been disbanded with no notice.

While some very good work has been started on this issue, there remains a great deal to be done.    Due to secrecy, obfuscation and an unwillingness to follow the law, the public is once again left to guess at what MCPS is, or in many cases is not, doing to protect our children.   Based on my twenty two years of work in this field I can assure you, when people and systems have to guess what is being done, children will continue to be abused. 

Please be advised Dr. Smith, concerned parents have not been deterred by MCPS  refusal to meet with us and share information.    
Most recently, after making formal, repeated requests via email and in person (since August of 2015) and  a MPIA request in October of 2016, we learn MCPS still has no policy regarding social media guidelines for staff and volunteers.     This is  disappointing to say the least,  as among the dozens of employee sex offenders MCPS has had on staff over the past years, many of them have used technology to groom and abuse children.    

Parents continue to be concerned our children are being held to a higher standard than your employees.   First when our children had a code of conduct for their behaviors but the adults did not. There is now a code of conduct for employees but, not surprisingly after advocating for a year for a link to the adult code to be posted on your child abuse page and finally getting the link put up, it was quietly and quickly removed.     Presently, our children have clear standards for their electronic media use and in fact a new curriculum (announced last week) is being rolled out to reinforce those concepts.  While I fully support this initiative, I find myself again asking why my children are held to a higher standard than the adults tasked with their care.   

Narrowly focusing in on the social media issue, I ask you Dr. Smith, 
  • Will you direct your employees to swiftly finish the work they have told me was almost done in August of 2015?    
  • Will you investigate why (despite a recent arrest of staff who used social media to groom and assault a teen girl) your staff has still not prioritized much less completed  the employee social media guidelines?     

More specifically, I also ask you Dr. Smith:
  • Will you direct your staff to complete the work necessary to fully implement the new policy and procedures put in place last year regarding abuse and neglect?   
  • Will you have your staff close the loopholes and correct the errors in the policy and regulations which were implemented last year?  
  • Will you direct your staff to issue one, comprehensive report detailing all aspects of the implementation of the new policy and regulations; or, is it acceptable to you to have quarterly reports (each focusing on small parts of but never the whole) spread out so there is no complete annual report on what has actually been done over the past year? 
  • Will you direct your staff to comply with MPIA laws and release documents regarding the sexual harassment policy and it's implementation?    
  • Will you require your staff to comply with multiple MPIA requests to provide an accurate list of MCPS employees who are tasked with implementing and monitoring this complex task?    
  • Will you  tell parents how it is acceptable for your staff  (representing you at the policy management committee meeting with BOE members on 9/20/16), when asked to discuss the child abuse policy,  to state "we are not here to talk about the policy"? 

I have  and will continue to  work with the hope and conviction these things will be done in order to protect our children and prevent the inevitable harm which will occur if these actions are not taken.  Please be advised due to the work group being disbanded and a refusal on the part of MCPS to share information, I will continue to file MPIA requests to get your answers to the questions I am asking.

I emailed you in August 9, 2016 requesting a meeting to discuss this and other critically important issues surrounding the protection of our students.  I never received a response.  So,  I am again asking you if you will find time to prioritize this issue and meet.  

I hope to hear from you, 

Jennifer Alvaro
MCPS parent and advocate

1 comment:

  1. The MCPS machinations
    Will yield manifestations
    And provide explanations
    With absurd obfuscations.


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