Prince George’s County Schools have implemented new improvements to school safety measures for it’s more than 130,000 students in the midst of recent misconduct cases by the systems staff.
The school system’s misconduct cases include charges against a teacher’s aide who worked at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School in Glenarden, Md. and allegations of a county school bus aide molesting special needs pre-kindergarten children on their way to James Ryder Randall Elementary in Clinton, Md.
“I was angered about these horrendous situations,” Kevin Maxwell, the county’s public schools CEO, told more than 12,000 people during a Town Hall meeting, conducted over the phone, on Oct. 4. “What we want are safe classrooms and a high quality education for all of our children. We have been making certain our employees know the expectations.”
The changes Maxwell noted are the results of five recommendations from the School Safety Taskforce that suggest the CEO of Prince George’s County Public Schools should: give annual reports on school safety efforts; ensure that principals conduct safety assessments and use results to develop and implement school-wide changes; establish an Office of Monitoring, Accountability, and Compliance; that the school system should develop and implement screening and training of staff members; and update curriculum focused on preventing child sexual abuse from kindergarten through 12th grade.
“One of the recommendations of the student safety task force is to do a safety assessment of our schools,” Maxwell said. “We are in the process of evaluating every single school in Prince George’s County.”
Office of Student Services Adrian Talley added that counseling services are available to children and families in the county who have been victims of sexual abuse. “All of our staff are taking the abuse training, and we’ve modified that this year,” Talley said. “The goal is to ensure that the staff has the capacity to know when there is a problem, where to report it, and who should be involved.”
School system Director of Security Rex Barrett noted that five arrests were made from the social media threats against five county schools over the first weekend in October and added that camera systems have been installed at every school in the system, in addition to electronic entrance systems, panic buttons for a quick police response, and four systemic lockdown drills scheduled throughout the school year.
“We share the horrors and the fear and the disappointment based on the significant issues of safety that have arisen in far too many of our schools over the past several months,” Board of Education President Segun Eubanks said.
On Oct. 12, the Prince George’s County chapter of the NAACP released a statement that called for Maxwell’s resignation as CEO, because Maxwell “has failed to protect the health, safety and civil rights of the students of the school system.”