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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Education News"

Md. after-school program employee charged after inappropriately texting students

Westlake Legal Group md-after-school-program-employee-charged-after-inappropriately-texting-students Md. after-school program employee charged after inappropriately texting students texting sexual abuse of a minor sexting Montgomery County, MD News montgomery county police Maryland News Local News kensington Education News crime

WASHINGTON — A man who worked for an after-school program at an elementary school in Kensington, Maryland, was charged after police said he sent inappropriate texts to two students over a five-year period.

Christopher Steve Escobar, 27, of Germantown, was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a minor, Montgomery County police said.

Escobar began inappropriately texting the two students when they were around 9 years old in August 2012, police said. He came into contact with the two boys as an employee of the Bar-T after-school program at Kensington Parkwood Elementary School, according to police.

He continued texting with the two students until 2017, when they were around 14 years old. The two victims did not know of each other’s texting with Escobar, police said.

Escobar is being held without bond.

Police believe there may be more victims. They are asking parents and guardians to talk to their children about possible interactions with Escobar and to contact detectives at 240-773-5400 if they believe their child was victimized.

Westlake Legal Group EscobarChristopher-225x300-225x300 Md. after-school program employee charged after inappropriately texting students texting sexual abuse of a minor sexting Montgomery County, MD News montgomery county police Maryland News Local News kensington Education News crime
Christopher Steve Escobar, 27, of Germantown, was arrested Thursday, May 24, 2018. (Courtesy Montgomery County Police Department)

The post Md. after-school program employee charged after inappropriately texting students appeared first on WTOP.

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The Latest: Trump tells Navy grads ‘you don’t give up’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s address to the 2018 graduates of the United States Naval Academy (all times local):

11:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump is telling graduates at the United States Naval Academy that “we have begun the great rebuilding of the U.S. military.”

Trump says Friday in Annapolis that “we will have the strongest military that we ever had.” He added “and when did we ever need it more?”

Trump said the “best way to prevent war is to be fully prepared for war” and said that if “a fight must come, there is no other alternative. Victory.”

Speaking to graduates, Trump praised the military, saying of the Navy “you don’t give up, you don’t give in.” He also stressed his commitment to veterans.

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8:00 a.m.

President Donald Trump is set to address the 2018 graduates of the United States Naval Academy.

Trump will give the commencement speech in Annapolis Friday, a day after highlighting American military preparedness as he canceled a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (kim jawng oon).

Trump will speak to 1,042 newly commissioned ensigns and second lieutenants. He is expected to highlight his efforts to boost federal defense spending.

On Twitter Friday, Trump said he looks “forward to being with some of the greatest people on earth!”

It will be Trump’s first time speaking to the academy’s graduating class. Last year, Trump addressed the Coast Guard Academy.

The post The Latest: Trump tells Navy grads ‘you don’t give up’ appeared first on WTOP.

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Summer jobs programs for students kicks off

BALTIMORE (AP) — A Baltimore City councilman has kicked off the This is Working summer jobs program in which businesses in his district provide employment for students.

The Baltimore Sun reports Councilman Zeke Cohen on Wednesday kicked off the second year of his This is Working summer jobs program in which businesses in his southeast Baltimore district provide employment for students.

The councilman says he is grateful that 22 businesses in his district stepped up to hire between 25 and 35 students looking for work.

This is Working provides summer jobs for students along with weekly mentoring and coaching of workforce skills. It’s run in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development.

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Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com

The post Summer jobs programs for students kicks off appeared first on WTOP.

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Maryland governor vetoes measure on education board makeup

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has vetoed a measure relating to the composition of the state school board.

The bill vetoed Thursday would have increased the size of the Maryland State Board of Education from 12 to 15 to members by adding two certified teachers and one parent of a public school student.

The governor opposes the bill because it would have required him to appoint two teachers recommended by teachers unions.

Maryland State Education Association President Betty Weller criticized the decision. She says teachers should be at the decision-making table.

Another vetoed bill would have reclassified certain appointed positions within the education department to positions under the state personnel management system. Hogan says that would hinder the department’s ability to acquire talented employees.

The post Maryland governor vetoes measure on education board makeup appeared first on WTOP.

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Governor names new Virginia public schools superintendent

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Ralph Northam has picked a new public schools superintendent.

Northam announced Thursday he was appointing James Lane as Virginia’s superintendent of public instruction.

Lane is currently the superintendent of Chesterfield County’s public school system. Chesterfield is the state’s fifth largest school division. Lane had previously been superintendent in Goochland County and Middlesex County.

Steve Staples retired as state superintendent in January.

The post Governor names new Virginia public schools superintendent appeared first on WTOP.

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School police asked to adopt youth-friendly Miranda warning

BALTIMORE (AP) — School discipline reform advocates have asked the Baltimore city schools police to adopt a youth-specific Miranda warning to let children know their legal rights.

The Baltimore Sun reports the Baltimore school board is currently accepting feedback on new school police policies under consideration before a vote next month.

Juvenile public defender Jenny Egan asked the school board to formulate a Miranda warning that includes developmentally appropriate language. Egan says the typical recitation heard in many a television procedural features clunky language that’s difficult for children to understand. Juvenile public defender Neeta Pal read commissioners a “youth-friendly” warning adopted in Seattle’s King County that simplifies the language.

City schools police chief Akil Hamm told the board he’d consult with the district’s legal office to discuss the possibility of a script change.

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Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com

The post School police asked to adopt youth-friendly Miranda warning appeared first on WTOP.

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Charles Co. school music teacher faces sex abuse charges: superintendent

WASHINGTON — A Charles County Public Schools teacher faces multiple charges and is accused of inappropriate contact with students over a seven-year period, the schools superintendent announced Wednesday.

Ralph Marvin Van Dyke Jr. was charged with sexual abuse of a minor and sexual offense in the fourth-degree stemming from students’ reports. His charges came to light after a sealed grand jury indictment was made public Wednesday during a bond hearing, Superintendent Kimberly Hill said in a message to parents and guardians.

Van Dyke, an instrumental music teacher since 2006 at North Point High School in Waldorf, Maryland, is accused of having inappropriate contact with students from 2010 to 2017, Hill said.

Van Dyke’s personnel file had contained several previous complaints, Hill said: two were reprimands for inappropriate conduct — one was from 2006 from a Thomas Stone High School principal and another was from 2012 from Hill when she was a principal at North Point — and a third complaint was from a teacher to a vice principal that was not student-related.

Hill said that when the school system was notified of the incident, it immediately removed Van Dyke from his teaching duties and ordered that he have no contact with students.

In a separate message, North Point principal Daniel Kaple told parents and guardians that Van Dyke was put on administrative leave and assigned temporarily to an administration building since Nov. 15, 2017.

“Charles County Public Schools’ general practice is to immediately remove any employee accused of inappropriate behavior from having contact with students during the investigation of charges,” Hill said in her message.

But, she added that the school system puts the employee on administrative leave with pay or assigns them to a temporary position in the administrative offices until “resolution of the charges,” which, Hill said, “allows for a thorough and unbiased investigation.”

“Resolution can take months, even more than a year, depending on how long it takes for outside agencies to investigate, file charges or adjudicate the case,” Hill said.

The post Charles Co. school music teacher faces sex abuse charges: superintendent appeared first on WTOP.

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After lawsuit from Ellington parents, DC agrees to redo residency fraud notices

WASHINGTON — More than 100 students at D.C.‘s Duke Ellington School of the Arts accused of improperly attending the school have been granted a temporary reprieve, after a judge faulted the city for its handling of an investigation into student residency.

After a court hearing Wednesday, D.C.’s Office of the State Superintendent for Education, or OSSE, agreed to withdraw notices sent earlier this month to 164 students at the performing arts school who were deemed to be ineligible based on their residency.

A lawsuit filed in D.C. Superior Court earlier this week on behalf of eight parents claimed OSSE rushed the process for informing parents their residency was being challenged and didn’t tell parents they had 10 days to appeal the city’s finding.

The parents’ suit was dismissed after D.C. agreed to withdraw the initial notices.

Greg Smith, an Ellington parent and an attorney, said OSSE violated a myriad of protocols in its handling of the residency fraud investigation.

Smith said he’s aware of at least one case in which OSSE would not accept an appeal from a parent who attempted to submit one at the office and that, instead, OSSE was referring parents to speak with a prosecutor in the D.C. attorney general’s office.

“There was a rush to judgment where OSSE declared fraud without ever talking to any of these people,” Smith said. “Can you imagine?”

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, OSSE said it will issue new letters to parents informing them they have 10 days to contest auditors’ findings.

The office is “now prepared to move forward with administrative enforcement” against families deemed to be non-D.C. residents and improperly attending the school without paying tuition.

D.C.’s decision to withdraw the initial letters came the same day Ellington parents and students held a news conference on the school’s grounds in Georgetown to draw attention to families who they contend are D.C. residents but have been swept up in the investigation.

Sophomore Sofia Klena is one of 164 students OSSE deemed ineligible based on her residency.

“My mother pays D.C. taxes. I’m a lawful resident of the District of Columbia,” said Klena, a student in the school’s coveted literary media and communications track.

Klena said she applied to Duke Ellington before making the move from Pennsylvania to the District two years ago, calling into question which records the office reviewed in its investigation.

“To be clear, we do not support fraud. But to be clear, most of these students belong here and are supposed to be here,” said Eric Easter, who helped organize the event Wednesday. Easter, who said he’s a D.C. resident, said his son was cleared of any residency fraud.

Another sophomore Sofia Uria Gereka-Herburger questioned whether the city was living up to its mandate to provide public education, adding students plan to protest outside OSSE’s headquarters on May 30 “for the rights students deserve.”

In its investigation, OSSE said Ellington school officials had been lax about checking students’ residency and when auditors looked more closely — based on utility bills, rent receipts, pay stubs and other information — they said they uncovered falsified documents.

Organizers said they know of 70 students who have D.C. residency but were issued letters by OSSE. Few know exactly why they are under investigation, Smith said.

Each student’s case is different. Some are unaware of why they were flagged with a residency violation, others now live with guardians. Others have moved out of D.C. citing the cost of living but their parents maintain a residence in the city. In the case of Winston Clarke’s son, he said he provided proof of residency yet was still deemed ineligible.

“How do you tell someone that they’re not a D.C. resident if you hand deliver it to their D.C. home,” Clarke said during the news conference.

WTOP’s Jack Moore contributed to this report. 

The post After lawsuit from Ellington parents, DC agrees to redo residency fraud notices appeared first on WTOP.

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Md. teacher accused of molesting 14-year-old student

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP) — A Maryland school teacher has been ordered held without bond after being accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old student.

Prince Georges County police have charged 31-year-old Simeon Smith of Waldorf with sexually abusing a student at a school in Morningside.

Officials say Smith was a teacher at Imagine Foundations at Morningside charter school.

Smith is accused of inappropriately touching and sexually assaulting the girl several times between February and April of this year on school grounds.

Smith is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on June 20. It was not immediately clear whether he has a lawyer.

The post Md. teacher accused of molesting 14-year-old student appeared first on WTOP.

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Audit to focus on Prince George’s Co. high schools’ Class of 2018

WASHINGTON — Investigators are going to take an even closer look at a school system that’s been accused of changing grades and more in order to allow students to graduate.

Last fall, an independent audit found that one in four Prince George’s County high school graduates in 2016 and 2017 may not have met graduation requirements.

Now, the Maryland State Board of Education plans a lengthier follow-up audit that will look at the Class of 2018.

“In short, we looked backwards. Now we want to look to the current and to the future,” Board President Andy Smarick said at its meeting Tuesday. The new independent audit, he added, will “make sure this next wave of graduates happening this year and into the future have all of the necessary requirements met.”

The audit will include a review of the Class of 2018’s graduation records and interviews with school leaders and staff, said Karen Salmon, Maryland state superintendent of schools. It could take about six months to complete.

Salmon also plans to put a member of her staff in the county in a monitoring role.

“Yes, this whole process has been discouraging — the things that we learned the first time around — but I’m pretty optimistic about this,” Smarick said. “And it’ll help not just Prince George’s County but also hopefully the rest of the state as we think about high school graduation requirements and monitoring.”

Prince George’s County schools CEO Kevin Maxwell is in the process of stepping down following the charges of grade manipulation and criticism over staff member raises.

D.C. Public Schools is also dealing with a graduation scandal. A study commissioned by the school system found that more than one in three students who graduated from high schools last year got help due to policy violations.

The post Audit to focus on Prince George’s Co. high schools’ Class of 2018 appeared first on WTOP.

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