Deonte Carraway

22-year-old Deonte Carraway, a volunteer and former employee of Judge Sylvania W. Woods Elementary School in Glenarden, Maryland.

In the aftermath of the child sex abuse case in Prince George’s County Public Schools earlier this year, a School Safety Task Force presented five recommendations to school district CEO Kevin Maxwell. Maxwell accepted and has begun to implement the recommendations.

In February, Prince George’s County Police identified 17 children who were sexual victims of 22-year-old Deonte Carraway, a volunteer and former employee of Judge Sylvania W. Woods Elementary School in Glenarden, Maryland. Carraway filmed approximately 40 videos of children between the ages of 9 and 13 performing sexual acts. Several of the videos were taken during the day inside of the school building. He has since been charged with 10 counts of felony child pornography.


Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Kevin Maxwell. (Twitter Photo)

“Student safety is paramount to us,” Maxwell said during a Tele-Town Hall Meeting on June 6 to discuss the Student Safety Task Force report that was released on May 31. “I was appalled by the events at our school, at Judge Sylvania Woods, and want to make sure we do everything possible to implement the right strategies to make sure that our children remain safe. Our children deserve that and I take that responsibility seriously.”

Maxwell asked Prince George’s Community College President Charlene Dukes to chair the Student Safety Task Force, made up of doctors, lawyers, and nonprofit leaders. It took over a month for the team to survey the PGCPS community, conduct interviews, and analyze current school safety practices in four areas, including culture and climate; reporting and training; screening of employees, volunteers, visitors, vendors and contractors; and curriculum and counseling.

Five recommendations came out of the task force.

  • The CEO of the Prince George’s County Public Schools should report publically each year on system-wide efforts related to student safety.
  • The CEO should ensure that each principal conducts safety assessments and uses the results to develop and implement comprehensive strategies to include screening and training of employees, volunteers, vendors, and contactors; evaluation of physical facilities; and curriculum/lesson content reviews.
  • The CEO should establish an Office of Monitoring, Accountability, and Compliance with direct reporting to the CEO.
  • Employees, volunteers, vendors, and contractors should undergo background checks and other screening methods.
  • The School System should update the curricular content focused on preventing child sexual abuse that is taught in K – 12.

“Our task was to thoughtfully review all school policies, procedures, and practices with regard to student safety,” Dukes told the AFRO.

According to the task force, training will be a heavy focus for all adults who interact with children ranging from administrators and teachers to school bus drivers and volunteers. It is also under consideration to have adults obtain background checks yearly as opposed to the initial check during the work clearance process.

Maxwell said the additional training should not come at increased costs for the school district. “Keeping our children safe, it’s hard to put a price tag on that,” he said during the teleconference. “We train our people anyway. It’s a matter of shifting the focus of our training and the models that we use.”