So what was the majority of the members of the Prince George’s County Board of Education doing when the stories of violence and truancy were really starting to heat up? Well not protecting the students if reports from a Maryland Delegate and a leader of the PTA are true.
After spending weeks trying to get Superintendent Dr. Hite and Board Member Rosalind Johnson to move on reports of daily fights and high truancy at High Point High School, parents and community leaders turned to writing the entire board and even members of their delegation to the General Assembly. Of the nine elected members only one responded to their concerns, Edward Burroughs, and he may have paid a price for it.
A parent member of the High Point High School PTA reported and it was later confirmed by a member of the Maryland General Assembly, that after people in the community sent numerous emails asking for help Edward Burroughs agreed. The parent said their emails outlined documented instances of students seen arriving at High Point High School, getting off the bus and entering the community, and then returning to the school at the end of the day to take the bus home. Burroughs who formerly served as a two-term student member of the board was elected as a full member from District 8 last year decided to see for himself if the reports were true when he went to the school a few weeks ago. After seeing that they had not misled the board but the board was being misled by Johnson and Hite, parents said they had learned Burroughs had been censored. The board took the vote in a closed meeting after saying Burroughs violated board policy for going to the school without the approval of the superintendent. This was shocking to the parent since they say how is a board member supposed to oversee the system if they need administration approval to go to the schools?
The PTA leader says she was told numerous times by her board member Rosalind Johnson and Dr. Hite that the situation at the school was under control and their concerns had been “over stated”. She went on to say that Mr. Burroughs has not confirmed to them that he was in fact censored but they have confirmed the information much like we have from a member of the House of Delegates close to Mr. Burroughs.
Prince George’s County Superintendent William Hite and District 1 Board Member Rosalind Johnson have been under fire from community leaders after a video of a hallway fight ended up on Youtube. School Board leaders Verjeana Jacobs who chairs the group and Donna Beck who is the Vice-Chair have also been facing complaints their lack of action to respond to the reports before they made television and media reports. Another parent reported being told my members of the board they wanted to come to the school to investigate their claims but policy prohibited them from visiting schools to observe without approval from the superintendent.
Last week Dr. Hite announced he was replacing Principal Michael Brooks with Assistant Principal Rebecca Garcia. In a letter to parents the superintendent wrote the school system plans to conduct a national search for a full-time replacement who “has experience in addressing the issues at hand, and who will best serve the diverse student population at High Point High School”.
Requests for comment from Edward Burroughs and school system administrators have not been returned. We held this story in order to work hard to get a comment from the board of education or Mr. Burroughs but none have been supplied.