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John Huber


Worcester County Board of Education Responds to Letter from Sheriff and State’s Attorney: JDLR!

In its statement, the Board of Education of Worcester County said:
“It is important that everyone understand that it is this Board’s opinion that this is not a matter of “truth” vs. “fiction” but rather a clear breakdown in communication between the Sheriff, State’s Attorney, and school system’s Executive Team. This needs immediate attention and correction.”

What does that mean? The Sheriff and State’s Attorney alleged that school personnel willfully and intentionally did not report crimes committed by students. Either they did or they didn’t.

While no details were disclosed (understandably, due to privacy issues), the letter referenced specific evidence. One would logically think the evidence would show that either a crime was committed, or it wasn’t, and it was either reported to the SRD or it wasn’t. When the Board says it was a  “breakdown in communications” that suggests deception or suppression. Especially since there was no reference by the board of how the evidence was perceived.

The sheriff and state’s attorney were very clear when they said :
“At this point in time, we are in possession of evidence proving that there have been and continue to be repeated, and at times intentional, violations of Maryland state law by school officials in failing to notify law enforcement of criminal misconduct and delinquent acts occurring within Worcester County Public Schools. We would like to provide the Board and legal counsel with this evidence privately and outside of the presence of school officials, in a closed special session.”

I would have expected a response from the board to clarify whether they found the evidence to be substantiated and accurate, unfounded, or, possibly. somewhere in between. However, their response provided no such clarification.  The response did not acknowledge one way or the other what the evidence showed.  The closest they came to saying anything was

“This Board does not agree with the characterization that our schools are unsafe or that there has been consistent unreported violence; this is not accurate.”

Unfortunately, the board did not elaborate how the assertions from the Sheriff and State’s Attorney were “not accurate.”  They issued no statements that assured stakeholders that the specific allegations were not true, and no statement that said there were not incidents of crime that went unreported according to the MOU, and more importantly, the Administrators’ Guide to Offense Codes that “require external notification.”  Again, they say it is a breakdown in communication. This leads me to suspect that something just doesn’t look right here.

What does that mean? They suggest “different philosophical approaches.”

My 15 years as a Maryland Public School Administrator makes me suspect that when one looks at the specific evidence referenced by the sheriff and the State’s Attorney , indeed crimes were committed, but, according to the school and the school board, they did not rise to the level of being reported to law enforcement.  If that’s the case, then say so; but they wont. Why?
So….. if Worcester County’s top prosecutor, and its top law enforcement officer both say it is most definitely reportable to law enforcement, whom should we believe?

Schools are under immense pressure to reduce suspension and arrest rates, often leading to a reluctance to report crimes that could elevate these statistics. This conundrum points to the broader challenge of balancing school discipline, safety, and compliance with state policies, all while fostering a conducive learning environment.

The announcement of the formation of a “School Safety Task Force” is a commendable initiative to address these issues and bridge the communication gap. It is designed to facilitate open and regular communication between all stakeholders, provide a deeper understanding of Maryland School Law and Federal Law, and serve as a platform for recommendations and issue resolution. However, the “invitation” to the Sheriff and State’s Attorney, rather than a direct inclusion adds another dimension of uncertainty. It remains to be seen how this task force will shape the path forward and resolve the prevailing disparities.

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The MEN was founded by John Huber in the fall of 2020. It was founded to provide a platform for expert opinion and commentary on current issues that directly or indirectly affect education. All opinions are valued and accepted providing they are expressed in a professional manner. The Maryland Education Network consists of Blogs, Videos, and other interaction among the K-12 community.

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