Tuesday, June 30, 2020


From an MCPS student who wishes to remain anonymous.

After the news broke that current and former students at MCPS had been victimized by their peers, the only surprise to them should have been that it wasn’t one of their predator teachers this time. MCPS has a long history of being shocked; shocked that there are sexual predators on campus.

What has shocked me to the core is the immediate posture of MCPS towards the victims that have spoken out about their abuse and harassment. Principal Renay Johnson from Montgomery Blair High School, immediately swept into action by contacting the cops to report that there were social media posts alleging abuse had taken place and encouraged victims to come forward.

Step One:  Predator on campus discovered
Step Two:  MCPS acts shocked, horrified, “deeply concerned”
Step Three:  Encourages other victims to come forward
Step Four:  If no one comes forward to the cops, MCPS could label this as a hoax
Step Five:  Convene some kind of policy meeting or summit, rewrite a policy or two
Step Six: Lay low wait for the victim’s lawyers to show up and ask for a settlement. 

MCPS has a long history of being ‘shocked’ that there were predator teachers on our campuses, and now they’re ‘shocked’ that there are predator students too or at least so many of them.

It is highly likely that some of these students would have come forward to MCPS already.  There will be a paper trail for some lawyers to find when they file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all the victims and MCPS settles and is forced to turn over a huge barrel of cash. 

Unfortunately, only a partial list of the predator teachers below:

Albert Einstein's varsity baseball coach and history teacher solicit BDSM sex from a 16-year-old student in exchange for drugs.  MCPS pays our $3 million.  https://wjla.com/news/local/md-family-sues-mcps-for-3-million-alleges-it-harbored-reckless-teacher-107948

Music teacher who sexually abused more than a dozen girls pleads guilty

Assistant Track Coach at Wheaton and special ed paraeducator at Loiederman Middle School abused 13-year-old girl  https://wtop.com/montgomery-county/2015/04/former-teachers-aide-arrested-on-sex-charges-with-student/

Police believe MCPS substitute teacher facing sex abuse charges has more victims
Pineada abused young girls in the classroom worked at 4 schools including Roberto Clemente Middle School.   https://wjla.com/news/crime/montgomery-county-police-hold-press-conference-on-investigation-into-mcps-substitute-teacher-109553

Montgomery Co. teacher charged with sexual abuse of student
A teacher at Magruder High School has been arrested and charged with sexual abuse of a minor and fourth-degree sex offense by a person in a position of authority.

Deplorable Math Teacher at Montgomery Blair High School  50+ Alumni accuse him

Walter Johnson Lacrosse Coach in attempted murder-kidnap was also terrified of students.

The lawsuit alleges that Damascus High Staff Knew about the rapes

The former MCPS bus driver that admits to abusing 4 students, plead insanity.
Bus Driver Sentenced to 11 Months for Touching Girls
A Montgomery County school bus driver has been sentenced to 11 months in prison for inappropriately touching 11-year-old girls on his bus

Police: Montgomery County school teacher arrested on child pornography charges
Physical Education teacher, Ashburton Elementary School in Bethesda.

Montgomery County teacher jailed for assault, endangerment, weapons charges
Pulls loaded gun on his wife

Monday, June 29, 2020

WUSA9: 285 US children hit with serious coronavirus-linked condition

At least 285 U.S. children have developed a serious inflammatory condition linked to the coronavirus and while most recovered, the potential for long-term or permanent damage is unknown, two new studies suggest.
The papers, published online Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine, provide the fullest report yet on the condition...

The Lancet: COVID-19 in children and adolescents in Europe: a multinational, multicentre cohort study

582 individuals with PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were included, with a median age of 5·0 years (IQR 0·5–12·0) and a sex ratio of 1·15 males per female. 145 (25%) had pre-existing medical conditions. 363 (62%) individuals were admitted to hospital. 48 (8%) individuals required ICU admission, 25 (4%) mechanical ventilation (median duration 7 days, IQR 2–11, range 1–34)...


Loudoun County Sees More COVID-19 Cases in Teens


But the owners say they made a mistake in allowing athletes to remove their masks while performing stunts.

Texas:  Cheer Athletics temporarily closes gym in Plano after multiple COVID-19 cases

COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry

From American Academy of Pediatrics:

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Board of Ed to discuss "recovery of learning plans...for the summer and fall" tomorrow June 29, 3:30PM

Dear Parents, Guardians, Students and Staff:

Tomorrow, June 29, 2020, the Board of Education will continue its discussions on recovery of learning plans for MCPS for the summer and fall. We encourage you to tune in to this important conversation. The meeting, which will begin at 3:30 p.m., will be streamed live on the MCPS website and on MCPS TV (Comcast 34, Verizon 36, RCN 89). The Board will continue the discussion on our reopening efforts at its July 14 business meeting. As a reminder, our goal is to share a framework of the plan, as well as other important elements for reopening facilities and school buildings, with the community during the first two weeks of July. Thank you for your patience and engagement as we work diligently to build a comprehensive plan for fall 2020.

Below are reminders and updates on the fall 2020 parent/guardian survey, meal service plans for the summer, childcare in MCPS facilities, and the Montgomery County Public Libraries’ (MCPL) summer reading program.


Jack R. Smith, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Friday, June 26, 2020

In response to Tweets concerning Sexual Assault of Students, Blair Principal Appears to Have Blocked Accounts

...On Twitter, some students asked Principal Renay Johnson to respond to the allegations made against her students, or to voice her support for the victims. Johnson did not respond.
Instead, she appears to have blocked several people, many of whom are currently students at Blair, preventing them from viewing her profile.
According to MCPS’ “social media best practices,” staff members who use a social media account “in a professional capacity should not block users or delete comments on their own initiative.”..

dozens of sexual assault and harassment claims Instagram posts this week detail allegations from at least 12 schools

...Several Instagram pages surfaced this week, calling out, often by name, male students who are accused of harassing or assaulting their female classmates.
First, it was students at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring. Then students chimed in from Albert Einstein, Richard Montgomery, Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Thomas S. Wootton, as well as Eastern Middle School.

Soon, more than 100 allegations from at least 12 schools had been compiled on a handful of pages...
...Montgomery County Police Department spokesman Tom Jordan encouraged victims to report alleged incidents and “we will investigate it thoroughly.”
“I am checking with [the Special Victims Investigations Division] to see if there is anything to the social media posts,” Jordan said.
The allegations cover a range of issues from a boy’s persistence in asking for nude photos to rape...

@mcpnews If you are a victim of sexual assault, please contact us so that we can investigate completely. Call 301-279-8000 to make a report. Every victim has a right to be heard. There are resources available to assist victims.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

As activists try to get police out of schools, Maryland arrest data shows racial gap

As school systems in Maryland debate whether police officers should be based inside public schools, newly released state data shows that arrest rates are higher for black students and students with disabilities than for their peers.
State education officials this week denounced the disparities but did not offer new proposals to address them. School systems with significant gaps have created action plans and will work with the state to reduce them, State Schools Superintendent Karen B. Salmon said.
Still, “it’s horrendous,” Salmon said as the Maryland State Board of Education discussed the matter Tuesday afternoon. She said she had earlier raised the issue with school superintendents across the state...

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

MD State Board of Education discusses plans for fall, social emotional needs of students


Baltimore City teachers union files complaint against school district over work days

The Baltimore Teachers Union has filed a complaint over a decision by the school system’s top leaders to require them to work four additional days at the end of June, days they say the contract does not require.
The fierce tug of war is over whether the teachers had already worked the 190 days their contract required by June 16 when school ended. The BTU contends that it worked four days in March — the 16th through 19th — when schools were first shut down because of coronavirus, but the school system disagrees...

What Parents Can Learn From Child Care Centers That Stayed Open During Lockdowns

When Arizona schools shut down in mid-March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Tatiana Laimit, a nurse in Phoenix, knew she needed a backup plan. Laimit is a single mother of a 6-year-old girl and had recently relocated to the area. She didn't have any friends or family nearby to ask for help.
It was past 8 on a Friday night when she shot off an email to her local YMCA to ask if they were providing emergency care for the children of front-line workers. "And immediately [someone] responded and let me know, 'Yes.' "
Throughout the pandemic, many child care centers have stayed open for the children of front-line workers — everyone from doctors to grocery store clerks. YMCA of the USA and New York City's Department of Education have been caring for, collectively, tens of thousands of children since March, and both tell NPR they have no reports of coronavirus clusters or outbreaks. As school districts sweat over reopening plans, and with just over half of parents telling pollsters they're comfortable with in-person school this fall, public health and policy experts say education leaders should be discussing and drawing on these real-world child care experiences...

Fairfax County offers 2 options for next school year

The Fairfax County school system is giving parents and teachers two options for the start of the next school year —  100% virtual online learning or face-to-face instruction in school buildings at least two days a week.
Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand, in a letter to parents, said that in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it is unlikely that students will go back to school buildings on the day schools are set to start...

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Heather Graf @ABC7HeatherGraf NEW: a few days earlier than expected @fcpsnews has sent a letter to parents, outlining the school district's "general plan" to return to school

5 Va. high school seniors at graduation test positive for COVID-19

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Five graduating seniors at a Virginia high school who attended a modified commencement ceremony at the school have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Fredericksburg City Schools Superintendent Marceline Catlett said Friday that the five students at James Monroe High School tested positive for COVID-19, and all five attended graduation ceremonies at the school on Monday...


The Maryland State Department of Education just released an updated version of Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Education. State officials say this will serve as a roadmap in developing recovery plans for school systems.
The guide includes what school districts must have in place before reopening schools. Specific strategies and considerations for school systems during this process are also included in the updated plan. The Maryland State Department of Education is requiring all school districts to have their recovery plans completed and posted online by August 14.
Officials with Montgomery County Public Schools say they are working on a comprehensive plan that reflects logistical constraints and health and safety requirements. The framework of the plan and other vital elements for reopening facilities and school buildings will be shared with the community in the first weeks of July.
The Board of Education is scheduled to discuss reopening efforts at their July 14 business meeting...

“All of those things combined just make it a complex problem — human behavior, contact and virus,” she said. “You put it all in a big pot, and boom!”

Bars, Strip Clubs and Churches: U.S. Virus Outbreaks Enter Unwieldy Phase

For months, clusters often centered in nursing homes, prisons and food processing plants. With Americans venturing into public more, new types of outbreaks are emerging.

...The newly emerging clusters — which vary in size from a handful of cases to hundreds and have cropped up in large cities as well as small towns — reflect the unpredictable course of the coronavirus. They also underscore risks that experts say are likely to persist as long as states try to reopen economies and Americans venture back into public without a vaccine...

...In Union County, Ore., a rural community of 27,000 about four hours from Portland, officials had recorded only eight cases of the virus by early June. By June 20, the tally had swelled to over 250. Most have been tied to an outbreak at a local church, the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church. “It was a little bit surprising, because so many people for so long were following stay-at-home,” said Paul Anderes, a Union County commissioner...

We Need Better Masks

With 21 U.S. states experiencing a rise in Covid-19 cases just weeks after reopening, it’s clear that maintaining control of the pandemic without lockdowns is proving to be a challenge. To not only stay open but also really revive the economy — to get people back to work, traveling, attending sporting events, eating at restaurants, and so on — they will need to feel confident that they and their loved ones are at low risk of getting infected.
Testing remains an order of magnitude short of what is needed, and a vaccine won’t be available until at least early next year. But we could potentially achieve control and confidence now if better masks were available for the general public that are more protective than the cloth ones worn now and closer in caliber to the N95 and high-filtration surgical masks used by health workers...

If We Can’t Trust the District to Take Parents Seriously, How Can Parents Trust Them With Kids Next Year?

Like every other parent in the Chicago Public Schools, I’m trying to wrap my head around what next school year might look like, both for everybody and for my own family in particular. So far, the struggle has produced more questions than answers and I’d imagine parents in every city across America are in the same boat.
We don’t know much yet about how CPS will handle next school year. Late last week the district emailed parents to give a heads-up that they will be using surveys and focus groups to hear our thoughts about next year and what we think is necessary to keep our children safe, supported and able to learn. That’s something, but it’s far from sufficient to rebuild trust in a district that has a long track record of not taking parent and community input seriously.
In that email, the district also made a few baseline commitments:
  • Everyone will need to wear face coverings, and the district will provide a limited set to students and staff members at the start of the school year;
  • Hand sanitizer will need to be readily available throughout buildings, and the district has begun procuring sanitizer for all schools;
  • Stringent cleaning and disinfection protocols will be in place;
  • And students and staff will receive daily temperature checks.
But I’ll be very surprised if anyone can find a CPS parent who trusts the district to uphold even these very basic health and safety measures. I’ve been a CPS parent for six years now, and have watched the district closely for more than two decades. Nothing is uniform. No policy is uniformly implemented. Maybe daily attendance. Maybe...

Saturday, June 20, 2020

MCPS, teachers union nearing ‘impasse’ in contract negotiations

From Bethesda Beat, reporter Caitlynn Peetz. For the full story go here. (note: 'Lloyd' refers to Chris Lloyd, MCEA President)
Many key issues unresolved; less than two weeks left in contract
With less than two weeks before the county teachers union’s contract expires, negotiations on a new agreement continue, causing some to worry the union and MCPS will reach a formal impasse for the first time in years.

Since October, school district officials and Montgomery County Education Association members have met routinely to negotiate a new contract before the current three-year contract expires on June 30. It covers more than 14,000 local educators.

Fall classes
Once the next MCEA contract is finalized, union and MCPS officials will begin a new round of bargaining “on everything related to” fall classes, “because we definitely will not be bringing 166,000 kids back to classes in August for the first day of school,” Lloyd said.
So there will need to be “impact bargaining” in which MCPS and MCEA reach agreements about everything ranging from what an average work day looks like for teachers to safety precautions needed for both staff and students. Mask requirements, supplies of hand sanitizer and possible installation of plexiglass in some situations might be part of discussions, Lloyd said.
Lloyd said many older teachers and those who are immunocompromised have told him they might not be comfortable returning to school buildings in the fall. But, Lloyd said, Superintendent Jack Smith has been clear with union leaders that teachers and students will have the flexibility to decide if they need to work remotely.
MCPS spokesman Derek Turner said the school district anticipates that many teachers and students won’t be able to return to school buildings when they reopen, or will not feel safe.

Friday, June 19, 2020

MCPS delaying ESOL screening until kindergarten

When classes resume in the fall, MCPS pre-kindergarteners who are not native English speakers will no longer be screened to determine how much help they need to learn the language.
In an email to staff members on Tuesday night, MCPS Director of Elementary Curriculum Brenda Lewis wrote that “although we will no longer officially identify students for ESOL [English for Speakers of Other Languages] services in the early childhood programs, we know that there are multilingual learners in these classrooms.”..

Loudoun County Schools Plan 2 days in-person, 3 at home to start school year

From WTOP, Neal Augenstein, reporter. For the full story go here.

Assuming Northern Virginia remains in Phase Three of Gov. Ralph Northam's phased reopening after the coronavirus shutdown, students in Loudoun County will likely be in school two days per week, and participate in distance learning three days per week, according to Superintendent Eric Williams.


In an attached document, "LCPS Guidance Regarding Public Health Precautions," the school system envisioned classroom desk configurations that would provide 6 feet of separation between students and teachers in most cases.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Fired Florida Data Scientist Launches A Coronavirus Dashboard Of Her Own


"Simulations indicate if 80% of the population wore masks, transmission rate would decrease by 90%," said Hudson.


The 1905 case that governs the law - "states have broad “police powers”, i.e., the primary governmental authority to enact “reasonable regulations” to “protect the public health and public safety” all of its citizens."

In mid-March this year, shortly before St. Patrick’s Day, Gov. Larry Hogan ordered that the state’s restaurants be closed to stop COVID-19 from spreading...

...I told the reporter to read the 1905 U.S. Supreme Court case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts. Indeed, the Maryland Attorney General had already raised Jacobson in support of the Governor’s COVID-19 responses.  In the end, the restaurants closed, did not defy the governor and brought no suits.  It is very rare that a 115-year-old case still holds such overwhelming currency with over 1,500 references in law review articles and half that number in judicial opinions.
Jacobson concerned a regulation from the Cambridge Board of Health that every resident be vaccinated against smallpox or pay a fine. Smallpox at the time was highly contagious and could be spread by those who were asymptomatic. Thirty percent of those who contracted it died. And, even many of those who survived were left with unsightly body and facial scars...
...When the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice John Marshall Harlan, writing for a 7-2 Court majority, ruled that, under the Constitution, states have broad “police powers”, i.e., the primary governmental authority to enact “reasonable regulations” to “protect the public health and public safety” all of its citizens.
Justice Harlan said that “the liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States to every person within its jurisdiction does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint.”  (Emphasis added.)..

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Fewer roommates in the fall: U-Md., American U. put new limits on student housing to curb coronavirus

Ordinarily, the University of Maryland tries to maximize the capacity of its residence halls by putting three or four students into some rooms. But next fall, those triples and quads will become doubles as the university aims to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus on its campus in College Park.
At American University, arrangements will be even more strict, according to plans released Tuesday. The private university in the District of Columbia will cut the number of available beds on campus by almost half, to 2,300 from 4,300, using a standard of one student per room, spokeswoman Lisa Stark said.
Emerging blueprints for a highly unusual fall semester show that universities in the Washington region are trying to bring as many students back as they can while reducing the health risks inherent when large numbers of people gather in close quarters to live and study together amid a pandemic...

Maryland Best Practices for Youth Sports as of June 15, 2020


8 days after all testing negative for COVID-19, 142 Fort Benning soldiers test positive

he U.S. Army tested a cohort 640 new recruits and instructors for COVID-19 upon arrival at Fort Benning, Ga. All but four tested negative. Eight days later, 142 of them retested positive. 
According to a release from U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 640 new recruits arrived at Fort Benning and were medically screened and tested by medical professionals. At the time, four tested positive. All 640 recruits entered a 14-day monitoring period, with the four COVID-positive recruits isolated and properly treated. 
After the 14-day monitoring period, training operations began with COVID-19 prevention measures in place including masks and social distancing. Despite these efforts, however, eight days after the end of the 14-day monitoring period, one recruit reported to the chain of command with COVID-19 symptoms...

Face Masks May Be The Key Determinant Of The Covid-19 Curve, Study Suggests

As states reopen amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many are documenting still-rising levels of new cases. This is partly, or largely, due to bad pandemic-time behavior—that is, not wearing masks and not social-distancing. Even in New York, which has done so well in reducing its numbers, people are getting weary and a little sloppy with protections. A new study out in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that among all the strategies for reducing transmission, wearing face masks may be the central variable that determines the spread of the virus.
“Our analysis reveals that the difference with and without mandated face covering represents the determinant in shaping the trends of the pandemic,” the team, from Texas A&M University, the University of Texas at Austin, California Institute of Technology, and the University of California San Diego, write in their new paper...

How Do You Decide if Children Can Play Together Again?

As some parts of the country “open up” and families venture beyond their households, parents are faced with hard decisions about what children can do. There are no official guidelines, so I asked smart and experienced pediatricians from around the country what questions they are getting from parents, and how they’re answering them. Spoiler alert: There are no easy answers.
“I’m getting it every day in my office: what do we do, we can’t stay home forever, we need some activities,” said Dr. Sally Goza, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who is a primary care private practice pediatrician in Fayetteville, Ga. “I try to explain to parents, this virus is not gone, it’s still here, we need to be smart in how we go about being around other people.”
Despite the “novelty” of the virus, these dilemmas are not entirely new — this is what parents do: weigh risks, look at what the experts say, figure out where your own level of comfort is, and then make decisions that affect the health and safety of the people you love best.
Making these decisions is going to involve choosing other families you feel you can trust. “There’s a certain amount of selecting out families with the same level of risk aversion,” said Dr. David Rubin, director of PolicyLab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia...

Monday, June 15, 2020

Montgomery County Council Education and Culture Committee Statement on SRO Program

On Monday, June 15, 2020, Press Release - Montgomery County Council <MCCouncil-LIO@public.govdelivery.com> wrote:

Statement from the Education and Culture Committee on the Montgomery County Board of Education's resolution to evaluate modifying or ending the School Resource Officer program
ROCKVILLE, Md., June 15 2020—On June 11, the Montgomery County Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution directing Superintendent Jack Smith to “explore and benchmark alternative discipline programs and processes used to handle school based incidents used by similarly situated school districts that have opted for adequate local law enforcement coverage or other alternatives as opposed to implementing an SRO program in school buildings.” The Board of Education also will examine if the existing SRO program aligns with MCPS’ Strategic Plan. The Education and Culture Committee, which is chaired by Councilmember Craig Rice and includes Councilmember Will Jawando and Councilmember Nancy Navarro, made the following statement about the resolution.
The Education and Culture Committee fully supports the resolution passed by the Board of Education on June 11 to evaluate the SRO program across Montgomery County Public Schools. We are especially pleased that the Board’s resolution calls for the exploration and benchmarking of alternative and successful discipline programs and processes used to handle similar incidents by other jurisdictions. The Committee applauds the work that the Board of Education is doing to improve the well-being of all students and to ensure that every student is provided with a safe and equitable learning environment. In addition to the Board of Education’s work, the Committee will be looking into additional data associated with the SRO program including its scope and the types of police and student incidents. The Committee also will examine alternative programs and processes with the Board of Education to identify the best practices for fostering and maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment for students.