HYATTSVILLE, Md. – Some students at Prince George’s County Public Schools believe the schools are feeling the impact of a spike in administrative leaves investigations in the school district during this school year.
An open records request discovered that the number of school district employees are up considerably compared to past years. More than 500 employees (many of which are teachers) have been through the administrative review process due to complaints filed against them. Last year, there were less than 200 employees placed on administrative leave due to complaints and the year before there were less than 100.
The school district said only 30 percent of those reports lead to disciplinary action meaning that in 70 percent of cases the staff member is cleared of any wrong doing. An even smaller percent, below 10, are recommended for firing.
The 500 employees accounts for around 3 percent of the approximately 20,000 people employed by PGCPS.
Due to the length of time the administrative review process takes, many teachers are out of the classroom for weeks and sometimes months.
Students DCW50 talked to Monday said they’ve noticed the difference in the classroom with many substitute teachers accounting for those absence.
“It doesn't really affect me but I see other kids start to act out,” said Kaylee Maeda, a middle schooler at Hyattsville Middle School who was being picked up from school by her mother when she spoke with us. “Just disrespect towards adults because they think that just because they're substitutes [there's no need to respect them.]”
At Northwestern High School, we found one student Irene Bonilla, 18, who said she’s had a substitute teacher in her English class the entire school year.
“I'd rather have a regular teacher because I get to learn more,” said Bonilla, who said most of the subs she sees in classes just watch over a class instead of engaging them.
Bonilla added that some of her teachers have shared with her that they are considering giving up their jobs within Prince George’s County Public Schools for positions at other school districts because of “several changes” regarding district policies.
Those changes and the high number of teachers and other staff under review due to complaints could be in response to the child abuse scandals that have rocked Prince George's County Public Schools over the past few years.
We reached out to the school district for comment on the situation and its possible correlation to new policies within the district but the district has yet to respond.