Sunday, September 30, 2018

Georgia's Separate and Unequal Special Education System

From The New Yorker, article by Rachel Aviv. Full article here.

A statewide network of schools for disabled students has trapped black children in neglect and isolation

Seth Murrell, a four-year-old boy with dreadlocks to his chin, moved with his family to Atlanta in the fall of 2015. On his first day at his new preschool, he cried the whole morning. He wouldn’t sit still in his chair. He’d pop up and snatch the glasses off a classmate’s face, or spit at the teacher. When he was tired, he waved his arms in the air, begging his teacher to hold him. On the rare occasions that his teacher complimented him, he shouted “Yay!” too loudly.

His mother, Latoya Martin, a hair stylist, had moved with her husband and three children from Donalsonville, a rural town in Seminole County, in the southwest corner of Georgia, to be closer to psychiatrists and neurologists who would understand why her son was developmentally delayed. He couldn’t string words together into a sentence. His teachers called Latoya nearly every day and told her to pick him up early, because he was disrupting the class. When Latoya resisted—she was busy looking for a new job—her friends warned her that the school might call child-protective services if she couldn’t pick up Seth promptly. Latoya sensed that the teachers were accusing her of being a bad parent, so she informed the school’s principal that she had never done drugs and that in high school her G.P.A. had been 4.0. Latoya’s sister Anita said, “They kept saying we needed to work with him more at home. I’m, like, we work with him—that’s not the problem. This is part of his disability!”

After a month, Latoya was told that Seth would be sent to a school twenty minutes away, in the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support, a constellation of schools, known as GNETS, attended by four thousand students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. Anita, a public-school teacher in Atlanta for nearly two decades, said, “I was just trying to figure it out in my head—we already have special-ed classes in the schools, so why is there this second system?” GNETS has a ten-per-cent graduation rate, compared with seventy-eight per cent for other public schools in Georgia. …

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that students with disabilities learn in the “least restrictive environment,” a loose term that may mean different things depending on the race or the class of the student. Nirmala Erevelles, a professor of disability studies at the University of Alabama, told me that, “in general, when it comes to people of color—particularly poor people of color—we choose the most restrictive possibility,” sending students to “the most segregated and punitive spaces in the public-school system.” According to Beth Ferri, a disability scholar at Syracuse University, IDEA provided a kind of loophole to the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which outlawed racial segregation in schools. Now racial segregation continued “under the guise of ‘disability,’ ” she said. “You don’t need to talk about any race anymore. You can just say that the kid is a slow learner, or defiant, or disrespectful.” Ferri said that IDEA “treated disability as apolitical—a biological fact. It didn’t think about things like racial or cultural bias.”

Friday, September 28, 2018

MoCo School Board Candidates Examine Issues of Equity During Forum

As the seven candidates running for four seats this fall on the Montgomery County Board of Education debated on Wednesday night, the theme of equity repeatedly came up.
The forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County at the Rockville headquarters of Montgomery County Public Schools, touched on issues such as technology use in the classroom and cultural competency. The forum included At-Large candidates Julie Reiley and Karla Silvestre, District 1 candidates Maria Blaeuer and incumbent Judy Docca, District 3 candidates Lynn Amano and incumbent Patricia O’Neill, and Brenda Wolff, who is running unopposed for District 5. School board President Michael Durso (District 5) decided not to see re-election and At-Large member Jill Ortman-Fouse chose to run for an At-Large County Council seat instead of seeking re-election. She was defeated in the June 26 primary.
Asked by moderator Tracie Potts, an NBC 4 reporter who is also a member of the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, what school objective the candidates would want to champion if elected, Wolff said she would push for making computers more readily available to families while Reiley and Silvestre said they would focus on helping students and families who don’t speak English feel more comfortable in the county schools...

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Mr. Lopez’ alleged inaction is unacceptable. He has been placed on administrative leave. #NotFired

Montgomery County Public Schools Paraeducator Charged with Child Neglect

Officers from the Montgomery County Police – Special Operations Division (SOD) Managed Search Operations Team have arrested Alfredo Lopez, age 59, of the 7800 block of Mineral Springs Drive in Gaithersburg, and charged him with two counts of neglect of a minor. Lopez had failed to provide supervision and failed to initially report two separate missing persons incidents.  On September 24, two teenage students with Autism and an Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) separately walked away from the Rockville public school where Lopez worked in a supervisory position. Both students were eventually reported as missing to the police and both students were located safe and unharmed later that day.
On Monday, September 24 at approximately 12:50 p.m., 1st District officers and Rockville City Police officers responded to the Rock Terrace High School located at 390 Martins Lane in Rockville for the report of a missing 16-year-old male student with Autism/IDD who had walked away from the school. During the investigation, officers determined that Lopez observed the student leave the school on foot at approximately 9:52 that morning and, at that time, made no attempt to notify school staff members that the student had walked away.  At approximately 12:40 p.m., Lopez notified school administrative personnel that the student had walked away, but only after a relative of that student had called the school to state that he/she would be picking the student up that day.  The student was then reported as missing to police.
That same afternoon, at approximately 1:51 p.m., a Montgomery County Public Schools bus driver observed the missing student walking northbound on Ridge Road (Rt. 27) at Sweepstakes Drive in Damascus.  The student was returned to his home.
At approximately 3:00 p.m., 1st District officers and Rockville City Police officers again responded to the Rock Terrace High School for the report of a missing non-verbal 16-year-old male student with Autism/IDD.  During that investigation, officers determined that Lopez was also responsible for supervising this student.  Lopez had lost sight of the student and did not immediately follow established protocol to report the student as missing to administrative staff.  A review of school surveillance video showed the student exit the school through the front door at approximately 2:53 p.m.  MCP K-9 officers and officers from the 1st, 4th, and 6th Districts, immediately began searching for the missing student.
At approximately 6:11 p.m., MCP was notified by family members that the student was located at home in the Glenmont area.  Officers determined that the student had walked approximately six miles in inclement weather from the school to his home.
On Tuesday, September 25, officers obtained an arrest warrant for Lopez charging him with two counts of neglect of minor.
On Wednesday, September 26, Lopez was arrested at his home. After being charged, he was later released on his own recognizance.

# # #

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Close to four dozen people delivered statements in front of the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday night regarding a zoning amendment that could allow for mini cell towers in certain residential areas.

Debate continues over 5G wireless towers placed in residential areas

Sue Present: “Please reject this ZTA. Work with us.” “Work with us” was a sticker warn by many of the opponents of the zoning regulations.

Dozens of people Tuesday night expressed their opposition to proposed zoning rules that would regulate where and how small cell towers would be placed in neighborhoods, many of them citing health concerns for the next wave in wireless communications.
However, the Federal Communications Commission has ruled that local governments cannot use health reasons for denying where the towers can be placed.
That didn’t stop speaker after speaker bringing up their worries that the radiation from 5G communications towers could affect their health, especially with gear mounted on poles not far from their houses.
“If you don’t know what the safety associated with these of these things, you should have the companies should put a sticker on the tower: ‘Warning, don’t stand here for more than 10 minutes.’ Something that tells us what this tower is emitting,” said Ian Dingwall of North Potomac. “Simply saying the government won’t let me is a mistake.”
The zoning regs are contained in a document called ZTA 18-11...

Video: Elrich, Hucker, Rice, Floreen, Riemer, Katz and Navarro Voting to Install Plastic Fields at Julius West MS, Whitman HS and Einstein HS

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

TONIGHT: Montgomery Co. Residents have been blindsided, kept in the dark, given the run-around, ignored,

WHAT - Montgomery County Council Hearing on ZTA 18-11

WHEN -  Tuesday, September 25, 2018 TONIGHT
WHERE - Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, 3rd Floor 
Hearing Room, Rockville, MD 20850

Public Comment on Montgomery County Zoning Text Amendment 18-11 from Sue Present

Residents have been blindsided, kept in the dark, given the run-around, ignored, and, when they
have attempted to alert the County to concerns about proposed facilities, they have been
muzzled. They have observed County administrative agencies welcoming and accommodating
telecom representatives and treating these members of the industry as partners, while residents
themselves have experienced being treated as obstacles and adversaries.
County staff will no doubt tell you that it has held meetings with residents. The underlying issues
and the crisis of confidence remain.
o Tower Committee and DPS Reviews and Enforcement. There is currently no established opportunity
for the public to comment on applications that come before the Tower Committee. In the County’s
recent FCC filing, its expert noted a persistent, twenty-year problem (on page 48): “a substantial
percentage of applications filed by carriers and their contractors have substantial omissions or
errors.” And, based upon the experiences of those residents who have followed the Tower
Committee’s applications, myself included, the Tower Coordinator does not catch every omission
and error; residents have identified many errors that the Coordinator has failed to identify. In a
recent meeting with County staff, we inquired about expanded opportunities for public input
comment in Tower Committee reviews to address these errors. We were told that such
opportunities for comment were unnecessary and only of interest to me. But, other plans are in the
works for the public to submit comments on replacement poles.
The FAQs say that the County Executive intends to establish a process for advance notice to affected
residents and public comments on applications for replacement poles. But that process would only
provide a very brief and likely insufficient opportunity to provide advance written comments. Details
are not yet available as to how those comments would be considered in the review process, if at all.
The excuse given for this constrained time period for comment, i.e., the need for compliance with
the FCC’s shot clock, is spurious. And it is noteworthy that there can be a lengthy lead time between
the County’s intentions for a Tower Committee regulatory change, and actual establishment and
implementation. For example, intentions were announced to the Planning Board in May 2010 (at
minute 1:03:15) for revising the Tower Committee’s application fees. But, almost eight and a half
years later, no proposals have come to the Council for approval.
In the same previously-referenced meeting with staff, we inquired about what have long
been taxpayer-subsidized Tower Committee application fees. The initial response to our
question was that the application fees for co-locations and modifications aligned with
existing costs. But probing further, we found that “costs” to the County only meant outside
contractor costs (CTC). When we followed up on coverage of internal agency staffing costs
and costs related to the members of the Tower Committee, we were told that those costs
were not covered and staff did not consider coverage of those costs justified because the
costs were already being covered through other means (taxes???). Please note (at minute
1:01:15), in 2010, the application fees, as a matter of policy, covered approximately 75% of
the engineering (contractor) costs and none of the internal staffing costs. It is also important
to point out that, guided by its CTC experts, the County anticipates between 700 and 5000
upcoming 5G antennas/applications in the future (see page 8). This ZTA would open the
floodgates! And, until the 2003 fee structure regulations are revised and corrected,
taxpayers will continue to be subsidizing these applications. Councilmember Elrich’s words
bear repeating: We should not be subsidizing the telecom industry for the work that we
have to do.

Residents’ complaints and frustrations concerning the Tower Committee have included the Tower
Committee’s failures to coordinate with other agencies and to require the other agencies’
adherence to the Tower Committee regulations (COMCOR 02.58E).
Most of the applications that would be filed with the Tower Committee for replacement poles
would be governed by COMCOR 02.58E.01.05.b, which provides public input opportunities. But
this is one of the regulations that the Tower Committee elects to ignore and/or to not enforce. For
replacement poles in the public rights-of-way, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is what
COMCOR 02.58E calls the “Land-Owning Agency.” Per COMCOR 02.58E 01.05.b, The Land-Owning
Agency 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 (Tower Committee review)
meeting via, its Group designee.
4. Maintain a record of all telecommunications transmission facility siting leases that affect the
In other words, the Tower Committee continues to ignore and not enforce the regulation that
requires that DOT must facilitate and evaluate public input for any WTF in the public right-of-way,
and must provide that input to the Tower Committee for its consideration in the Tower
Committees review of any replacement pole application. As the authorizing agency for street pole
design, street pole location, and ground-mounted equipment location, DOT has a responsibility to
be providing notice to and working with affected residents before applications are filed with the
Tower Committee.
In addition to these concerns, many complaints have been raised about antennas on utility poles in
the public rights-of-way that have received permits but do not meet zoning standards, and in
some cases are at locations/poles other than the locations/poles specified on the permits and/or
plans. DPS and the Tower Committee recently announced that their agencies have modified their
practices (they did not adopt new regulations) to ensure that zoning reviews would take place in the
future, after being alerted through recent complaints that zoning reviews for antennas in the rights-
of-way had been omitted in the DPS permitting process. A specific, identified utility pole is now
required for each replacement pole antenna application. The Tower Committee forwards the entire
Recommendation and Report, not just the Record of Action. DPS reports that it intends to review
antenna applications on utility poles in the rights-of-way for zoning compliance.

The measures that have been initiated by the agencies are probably steps in the right direction.
However, it doesn’t help these agencies’ images, their efforts, or the overall resolution of the crisis
of confidence to be disingenuous with the public. For the agencies to be asserting that public
complaints and testimony to the Council were what alerted them that antenna attachments to poles
in the public rights-of-way were not receiving zoning reviews is not borne out by public records,
which show these agencies have been aware of the practice for many, many years. Just ask Vicki
Huo, the owner of the home at 7800 Brickyard Road, in Potomac, where a huge replacement pole
with antennas was installed in 2011. She complained, but she got the run-around and was ignored.

So long as PEPCO and the other utility pole owners are not required to formally be a part of the
application process, there will likely still be permitting hiccups. It also remains a problem that the
Tower Committee and DPS do not adhere to and require compliance with COMCOR 02.58E.01.08:
Building Permit.

a. A building permit is required for the construction of a telecommunications
transmission facility in the County.
b. All permit applications must reference the Wireless Communications Site
application number, and must include the recommendation of the Telecommunications
Transmission Facility Coordinating Group and the approval of the land owning agency, if
c. Building permit approvals may be expedited if copies of standard construction
drawings are on file with the permitting agency.
d. Upon issuance and release of the building permit, a copy of the permit will be sent
to the Tower Coordinator for filing with the application and supporting documentation.
A copy of the site plan and construction drawings will be furnished to the Tower
Coordinator upon request for use in updating the database.

DPS Reviews and Permitting. DPS provides no public notice for the permits that are issued for
antennas in the public rights-of-way in residential zones, unlike building permits that are issued for
residential properties. There is no clear process by which the public is afforded an opportunity to
comment on these DPS Limited Use reviews. The documents used in DPS reviews may be different
than the Tower Committee’s reviews for the same site, because the Tower Committee frequently
relies upon only draft documents. And, because the above-mentioned COMCOR 02.58E.01.08 is not
followed, there is no common identifier for the application used by both DPS and the Tower
Committee, and the DPS review process is often less than transparent.

In a recently-posted “fact sheet,” the County indicates: post-installation, DPS will inspect work
performed to enforce code compliance. But, what will be the scope of this code enforcement? Like
so much, the devil is in the details. For example, as previously mentioned, enforcement would not
include the old utility pole removal and pending site restoration (including any post-pole removal
vegetation). And, residents have already been told that DPS will neither check nor direct checks for
RF emissions levels to ensure compliance.

The number-one purpose of DPS’s inspections is to ensure safety. If DPS will not be checking RF
emissions, then who will be checking? Residents have not received clear and cogent answers when
asking the Tower Committee this question. (CAP) requires initial and ongoing RF emissions testing,
and we include buffers from those residential uses where people sleep, learn, and convalesce. CAP
also requires WTF permits to be renewed every 10 years, which is not required by the ZTA.

As I walk around my neighborhood, which has both aerial and underground electric utility lines, I see
trees in neighbors’ front yards close to the street lamps. And I reflect upon the days when my
children were young. We had a lawful climbing structure that abutted a side property line. And from
their early ages, both of our children used to climb the trees on our lot. Who will be checking to be
certain that when antennas are proposed 10 feet to 30 feet from homes, that those antennas would
be installed at safe distances from where neighborhood children will be climbing trees or play
structures? Who will be checking as the trees grow taller and wider, too? I know of no person or
agency that will be responsible for checking to ensure compliance from where children play: No one
will apply the antiquated FCC RF emissions guidelines; and no one will be checking, using more
realistic scientific research and information that specifically applies to children’s bodies.

MoCo Bd of Ed. Demands Zeolite, But Zeolite "degradation can cause dust which also poses a health risk."

High School Turf Fields Advisory Group Report:

Monday, September 24, 2018

Victims of an abuser associated with a school, or those with knowledge of such abuse, are encouraged to report these incidents to MD Attorney General

Thousands more A’s fill report cards in suburban Md. school system

Thousands of additional students in Montgomery County are getting A’s in key high school classes, an apparent case of grade inflation in Maryland’s largest school system that follows major changes in how students are evaluated.
New data show the percentage of A’s across core math courses nearly doubled from the first semester of 2014-2015 to last school year, rising from 16 percent to almost 32 percent. B’s rose more modestly while C’s, D’s and E’s dipped.
Similarly, more students got A’s in English, science and Advanced Placement courses, in a profusion of high marks that is stirring concerns that students and parents may be getting a false sense of proficiency. Some educators and parents place blame on that significant policy shift two years ago...

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Taxpayers League Meeting: Strategic Plan for Montgomery County Public Schools Sept 26th

The meeting will adjourn no later than 9:00 pm.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Residents Appeal Lighted Artificial Turf Fields at Julius West Middle School

 July 11, 2018

Maryland State Board of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

Re: Montgomery County Board of Education

To the Maryland State Board of Education:

This letter appeals the June 12, 2018, decision of the Montgomery County Board of Education (Local Board) to approve Agenda Item: Award of Contract – Installation of Artificial Turf Fields at Julius West Middle School and Albert Einstein High School. (Attachment A). The undersigned reside in Montgomery County, Maryland.

This appeal is made by Janis Zink Sartucci, Bonnie Clausen, Douglas Dull, Rosanne Hurwitz, Eileen Sherr, Carol L. Starr, Peter Lovell, and Jason Mitchell (Appellants) to the Maryland State Board of Education (State Board). The State Board has authority to hear this appeal pursuant to the Code of Maryland as outlined in Code Section 13A.01.05. The State Board can substitute its judgment for that of the County Board because this decision was arbitrary, unreasonable, and illegal. The decision was contrary to sound educational policy and is an abuse of discretionary powers. A reasonable mind could not have reasonably reached the decision reached by the Local Board.

Award of Contract – Installation of Artificial Turf Fields

The first “whereas” in the Local Board's Memorandum on this Action (Attachment A) states that this Action item is:

in accordance with the settlement agreement with Montgomery Soccer, Inc.;

The Local Board's Action did not include the “settlement agreement” nor any details as to what this document may detail.

The fourth “whereas” in the Local Board's Memorandum on this Action states:

WHEREAS, The scope of the project at Julius West Middle School includes the construction of two fields, one full-size field and an additional smaller field, as well as the installation of lights;

The Memorandum does not contain any additional information.

No documents detailing the “scope of the project,” actual size of the fields, or details about “lights” were presented in the Local Boards Action item.

This Action item appears to involve the Local Board turning over public school land to a private entity. The terms of this alleged agreement are unknown to the public.

The Julius West Middle School site is contiguous with two Maryland State roads (270 and 189). This Action item also appears to involve the construction of “lights” of unknown specifications next to these two State roads.

Alleged Settlement Agreement

Appellants do not have access or information as to what is contained in the alleged Settlement Agreement.

The Local Board Action item did not include a Settlement Agreement and did not detail what the alleged agreement may contain. Local Board members were not provided with any of this information for their public deliberation of this Action item.

This transfer of public school land to this private entity has not complied with Maryland or Local Board procurement requirements and has not complied with Maryland law with regard to the disposition of public school land.

Appellants are concerned that the alleged Settlement Agreement may contain agreements that violate Local Board and State procurement laws and regulations, as the alleged Settlement Agreement is being put forth to transfer public school land to one private entity (Montgomery Soccer, Inc.). The transfer of this land to one private entity has not complied with public school procurement laws or regulations and is a violation of the trust given to Local Board with regard to public school land.

Julius West Middle School fields

Local Board did not review or approve any “scope” of work documents for the Julius West Middle School fields referenced in this Action item. Appellants do not have any information as to the size, location, or details regarding the field work that the Local Board allegedly approved in this Action item.

Included in the Local Board's Action is a reference to “lights” for the Julius West Middle School field. No plan for “lights” has been presented to the Local Board and Appellants are unable to determine what these “lights” will entail. Appellants are concerned that any “lights” installed on the Julius West Middle School field will impact one or both of the Maryland State roads that run contiguous to the Julius West Middle School property. In addition, Appellants are concerned that any “lights” installed will impact homes surrounding the Julius West Middle School property.

The Maryland State Department of Transportation, Office of Traffic and Safety reports that they have not been contacted about the installation of lights next to these State roads and have not reviewed the proposal. Appellants have serious safety and health concerns regarding the placement of “lights” next to these State roads. If these “lights” will impact the movement of traffic on these State roads the impact of this Local Board action could put the Appellants and public at risk of harm when using these State roads. The “lights” could also seriously impact the neighbors to this property and could diminish property values.

Maryland State Finance and Procurement Section 14-412 requires energy efficient outdoor lighting fixtures, but Appellants are unable to determine if this Local Board Action complies with this State requirement.


For the reasons stated above, Appellants requests that the State Board rule the Local Board's approval of this June 12, 2018, Action item to be null and void, and direct the Local Board to immediately halt the construction of artificial turf fields at Julius West Middle School and Albert Einstein High School.

Artificial Turf’s Next Home?

With Montgomery County Public Schools replacing the first of its artificial fields this summer, disposal of the old material has been called into question...

..."’Repurposing/reusing’ is purely a euphemism for dumping ... a mess of worn-out plastic carpet with literally tons of pulverized tire waste and sand spilling everywhere,” Michels wrote.
“There really aren’t two sides to this story,” Michels said. “Do you really want to do this, take 40,000 pounds of plastic and [the rubber crumbs] and put them in a landfill? At this step, MCPS should say we made a mistake, this is the first one [of the fields to be recycled], Walter Johnson’s next up. This is a harbinger of things to come.”
Montgomery County Public Schools did not respond to specific questions regarding this story. Derek Turner of MCPS Office of Communications responded by sending links to the statements by Zuckerman.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Cities’ Offers for Amazon Base Are Secrets Even to Many City Leaders

Jared Evans, a member of the Indianapolis City-County Council, is proud that the city is among 20 finalists for one of the most coveted prizes in the country: the planned second headquarters of Amazon.
He does, however, have one small question: What financial incentives did his city dangle in front of Amazon?
“What have I been told?” Mr. Evans said. “Absolutely nothing.”
Across the country, the search for HQ2, as the project has been nicknamed, is shrouded in secrecy. Even civic leaders can’t find out what sort of tax credits and other inducements have been promised to Amazon. And there is a growing legal push to find out, because taxpayers could get saddled with a huge bill and have little chance to stop it...
When officials in Montgomery County, Md., did respond to a request for information on their bid, they delivered, among other items, a 10-page document of incentives — with every line of text redacted...

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Former Md. gubernatorial hopeful hired to school post after backing county leader

Onetime Maryland gubernatorial candidate Valerie Ervin was hired into a six-figure job with the Prince George’s County school system less than three months after she dropped out of the governor’s race and threw her support behind the county’s top leader.
In the final stretch of the campaign, Ervin regularly stumped for Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, who was in a heated battle for the Democratic nomination. Baker hinted publicly that if he were elected, Ervin would join his administration.
But Baker lost the June 26 primary. In August, Ervin was hired to a $133,200-a-year position as a special assistant in the school system’s Office of Employee and Labor Relations. Officials in the state’s second-largest school system said the job was created in August to improve communication with the labor unions representing the district’s 20,000 full-time employees.
At least one school board member, David Murray, raised questions about political favoritism...

Video: Elrich, Rice, Floreen, Katz, Navarro and Riemer Voting to Install Plastic Playground at Somerset ES

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


The FBI is encouraging public awareness of cyber threat concerns related to K-12 students. The US school systems’ rapid growth of education technologies (EdTech) and widespread collection of student data could have privacy and safety implications if compromised or exploited...

Monday, September 17, 2018

WJHS Football Field is Full of #CRAP

FYI: Artificial turf football fields are supposed to look green. They are not supposed to look black.  When they look black it means that far too many tons of crumb rubber have been dumped on the field to take the place of the plastic grass.

Tons of extra crumb rubber means the field has failed and the playing surface is not safe. 

The blades of plastic are no longer able to hold the required depth of crumb rubber in place to prevent athletes from killing themselves when they hit the ground stone surface beneath the plastic.  The playing surface is no longer uniform or stable.

The Walter Johnson High School football field is being used by two football teams this season and there are no plans or funding to replace this field this year.  Students from all over Montgomery County will be risking their lives on this surface.

7 On Your Side: Montgomery County sports field washing away in rain

#CRAP = Crumb Rubber Artificial Pitches

At the time of these offenses, Ridges was also a Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) paraeducator and a coach for Springbrook High School Boys Junior Varsity Basketball team.

Man Charged with Inappropriate Touching and Sexual Exploitation of Juvenile Female
Posted on 09/17/2018

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department – Special Victims Investigations Division (SVID) have arrested and charged Thomas Henry Ridges, age 38, of Chase Terrace in Beltsville, Maryland, with two counts of sexual abuse of a minor and a fourth-degree sexual offense related to his inappropriate touching of the juvenile female and his inappropriate sexual conversation with and proposition of the victim.

Ridges’ came into contact with the victim as his role as a Horizon Child Care, Inc. employee.  At the time of these offenses, Ridges was also a Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) paraeducator and a coach for Springbrook High School Boys Junior Varsity Basketball team.

On September 5, detectives received information regarding possible sexual abuse of a minor.  Investigators determined that on July 20, Ridges offered to drive the 16-year-old victim home from the Horizon facility in Silver Spring.  The victim accepted the ride.  Ridges did not drive toward the victim’s home.  He began to ask the victim if she remembered a time when she was 14 years old and was at a local pool as a camper at Horizon’s summer camp program.  Ridges told the victim that he had touched her in a private area and that it was purposeful.  The victim had previously believed the touching was accidental.

As Ridges continued driving around, he attempted to engage the victim in a sexual conversation and posed inappropriate questions to include asking her about her previous sexual encounters, asking her about drinking alcohol (as her parked in front of a liquor store), and asking her to send naked photographs of herself to him via cell phone.  Ridges also propositioned the victim to engage in sexual acts with him during the car ride.

On September 14, investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Ridges.  He was arrested on that day and transported to the Central Processing Unit. He has since been released on bond.

Detectives are requesting that parents of juveniles who attend Horizon Child Care, Inc. or who have had contact with Ridges to talk to their children about possible interactions with Ridges and contact SVID detectives at 240-773-5400 if they believe their child was victimized.

Thomas Henry Ridges

Montgomery County Councilmembers Reimbursement Reports #ExpenseReports

When It Comes To Special Ed, States Largely Deficient

Federal officials say that fewer than half of states are adequately meeting their obligations to serve students with disabilities under special education law.
Just 21 states received the “meets requirements” designation in an annual compliance review conducted by the U.S. Department of Education.
The remaining states were labeled “needs assistance” with the exception of Michigan and Washington, D.C. which were classified in the more dire category of “needs intervention.”
The results from the review released this month are based on how well states served students with disabilities ages 3 to 21 during the 2016-2017 school year.
The annual assessments are mandated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. States are evaluated based on a number of factors including student performance, functional outcomes of students with disabilities and fulfilling IDEA’s procedural requirements...

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Generation Zapped -which was just screened at NIH Conference- is allowing for a full exclusive stream online for one week.

Interested in the issue of technology and  children's health? 
I have a great recommendation for a movie tonight - perfect for parents. 

The new film Generation Zapped  -which was just screened at NIH Conference- is allowing for a full exclusive stream online for one week. It also won best documentary at the DC Independent Film Fest. 

The movie is online streaming for free until September 21, 2018. (It is also available on itunes and Amazon if you want the extended version with full interviews with scientists). Generation ZAPPED is a solution-based documentary that investigates the health concerns raised about children and wireless technology. Interviews with 20 experts.

I  just presented on this issue at NIH Healthy Buildings Roundtable Conference with several experts working on the issue. This film was streamed throughout the entire conference at NIH for two days. .   

If you are interested in presenting the film with an expert Q an A at school or community center or civic association afterwards please let me know. Im glad to present anytime on practical solutions for health technology.  There is a lot we can do!  

Theodora Scarato 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Rethinking What Gifted Education Means, and Whom It Should Serve

SILVER SPRING, Md. — It was a searing summer day before the start of the school year, but Julianni and Giselle Wyche, 10-year-old twins, were in a classroom, engineering mini rockets, writing in journals and learning words like “fluctuate” and “cognizant.”
The sisters were among 1,000 children chosen for an enrichment course intended in part to prepare them for accelerated and gifted programs in Montgomery County, Md. All of the students were from schools that serve large numbers of low-income families.
“It’s one of my favorite parts of summer,” Julianni said.
The program is one element in a suite of sweeping changes meant to address a decades-old problem in these Washington suburbs, and one that is troubling educators across the nation: the underrepresentation of black, Hispanic and low-income children in selective academic settings.
Amid deepening debate over the issue, sometimes referred to as “the excellence gap,” school officials across the country and at all educational levels are wrestling with possible remedies. Montgomery County is one of several districts that is successfully diversifying its gifted programs, in part by overhauling the admissions process and rethinking the fundamental mission of such programs. This 160,000-student school system, one of the nation’s highest performing and most diverse, has provided a potential model — but not without creating anxiety and skepticism among some parents who feel their children have been hurt by the changes...

Asbestos in a Crayon, Benzene in a Marker: A School Supply Study’s Toxic Results

New York Times, full story here. Reporter Niraj Chokshi

A public interest group said this week that it had found toxic substances in a number of school supplies, including asbestos in a Playskool crayon and another carcinogen, benzene, in a dry-erase marker.
The findings were detailed in a report published Tuesday by the group, the United States Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, which had an independent laboratory test 27 back-to-school products. Four tested positive for dangerous chemicals. …
Of the crayons tested, one, a green Playskool crayon, tested positive for trace amounts of tremolite, a form of asbestos. The crayon was part of a set of 36 manufactured by Leap Year Publishing and purchased at a Dollar Tree store.
Benzene and related compounds
Four markers were sent to the laboratory, and two dry-erase ones tested positive for a group of compounds often found in petroleum products and known as B.T.E.X.: benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene. …
In another set of tests, the public interest organization examined three three-ring binders for phthalates, a group of chemicals added to plastics to make them flexible, some of which may affect human reproduction or development.
Only one, a Jot-brand, 1-inch blue binder from Dollar Tree, tested positive. Binders sold under the Avery and Yoobi brands did not.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Environmental Waste Generated by Board of Education's Lust for Plastic Football Fields: The Turf Mountain

The Netherlands is a country of artificial turf. No country in the world has more artificial turf per capita. Last summer, over 200 artificial grass pitches were replaced in the Netherlands. No less than 1 million square metres of artificial turf had to be removed. All waste that cannot be dumped. What happens to the old pitches? What happens to all that plastic and all the polluting rubber in them? Processing companies promise to separate all the waste and recycle it. Municipalities pay top dollar for that. But what is the reality? Those involved call it 'the best kept secret in the market'. ZEMBLA follows the trail of a number of transports, and finds itself in a world of dealers, defrauding artificial turf processors, absent supervisors, and a growing artificial turf pile.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

2009: FieldTurf Guaranteed RMHS Field would be 100% Recycled and Would Not End Up in a Landfill

What actually happened to the RMHS plastic grass.
In 2009, FieldTurf produced the letter below stating that the Richard Montgomery High School (RMHS) plastic football field and 120 tons of ground up tires (crumb rubber) would be 100% recycled and would not end up in a landfill.

In 2018, the RMHS plastic football field was removed and sent to a landfill in Southern Virginia and to a paint ball field in Baltimore County.

The RMHS plastic grass football field was not "100% recycled" and did end up in a landfill.

Pictures of the removal and dumping of the RMHS plastic grass football field are at this link. (Scroll down for all posts.) 

The Montgomery County Board of Education failed to have the RMHS plastic grass replaced under warranty when the field failed.  Instead, they diverted MCPS Operating Budget funds meant for public school classrooms to pay for the replacement of the RMHS plastic grass football field.  

The Montgomery County Board of Education failed to have FieldTurf honor their commitment to 100% recycle the RMHS plastic grass field.   They are polluting Southern Virginia and Baltimore County.  

These are the Board of Education members that are continually endorsed by major organizations, unions, other elected officials, and news organizations and elected and re-elected into office.  

The dumping and pollution from the removal of the RMHS plastic grass is their actual record in office.  

This is what Montgomery County voters support.