More child abuse allegations in Prince George’s County Public Schools

UPPER MARLBORO, MD — More child abuse allegations in the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) system have come to light.

During a news conference Tuesday, PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell announced that a bus aide and a supervisor have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation that stems from an alleged incident in November 2015. However, Child Protective Services only began an investigation starting on May 24. The Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) began investigating on June 20.

A spokesperson for the PGPD said a school bus aide is alleged to have molested four children on a bus that serves students at James Ryder Randall Elementary School.

"I’m just a little disappointed in the school system. I feel like they let me down,” said a parent of one of the alleged victims, who asked not to be identified so as to protect his child. "Unbelievable. It’s breaks my heart. I’m in tears."

Dr. Maxwell said he was made aware of the allegations and investigation during the first week of the new school year and placed the employees on administrative leave immediately.

James Ryder Randall Elementary School was one of the schools mentioned in an investigation alleging child abuse in PGCPS’ Head Start program that cost the county its federal funding.

"I can’t act on things I don’t know and with 129-thousand kids and 20-thousand employees, I can’t know everything instantaneously,” said Dr. Maxwell.

Dr. Maxwell also revealed that the new principal at Judge Sylvania W. Woods Elementary School, Brian Jones, has been placed on administrative leave due to allegations against him. Dr. Maxwell added he was made aware of the allegations last week. He said to his knowledge, the allegations don’t involved children, but he has asked the police to investigate.

Judge Sylvania W. Woods Elementary School is where former school aide Deonte Carraway worked before being charged with child sex abuse.

Dr. Maxwell said there has been a cultural problem in the school system about reporting issues, but there has been an uptick in reports after the Carraway case.

However, some members of the PGCPS Board of Education were unhappy that they had found out about these allegations through media reports and at the news conference.

"I’m sick of it. Members of the board are sick of it. We have student’s lives in our hands. And this has been going on since November? It’s ridiculous,” said District 8 member Edward Burroughs III.

Burroughs was one of the five members, following the loss of Head Start funding, to sign a letter calling on County Executive Rushern Baker to ask for the resignations of the board chair Dr. Segun Eubanks and vice-chair Carolyn Boston. However, he did not say that he was prepared to add Dr. Maxwell to that call.

“We intentionally did not add his name to that list because we wanted to give him every effort to prove that he should be the superintendent of this school district and he’s yet to do so,” added Burroughs.

For his part, Baker, who is the one who appointed Dr. Maxwell, said he doesn't believe a shake-up of the school leadership is necessary.