The Maryland PTA has been reprimanded and placed on probation by the National Parent-Teacher Association, the News4 I-Team learned.
The state PTA is accused of a series of violations of organization standards and has been the subject of complaints from a large majority of local PTA leaders in the state, according to documents obtained by the I-Team. Among the complaints leveled against the Maryland PTA is the condoning of rude and disrespectful behavior against local PTA members and leaders.
Through a spokesman, the state PTA said it is challenging the reprimand and findings of the National PTA.
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“We are working to rectify this,” the spokesman said. “We do not agree with the action taken. We’ve voiced serious concerns about this probationary status.”
The formal reprimand was issued against the Maryland PTA May 20. It prohibits the state PTA from receiving some grants and funding from the national organization.
“National PTA has received numerous communications from members and leaders of Maryland PTA asking National PTA to intercede on their behalf,” the reprimand said. “The leaders who contacted us represent more than two-thirds of the local PTAs in Maryland and more than seventy-five percent of the Maryland’s PTA membership.”
The reprimand accuses the state PTA of “failing to seek professional legal guidance that will allow PTAs to operate and hold elections during the current COVID-19 situation and condoning rude and disrespectful behavior and communication toward council and local PTA leaders.”
“In my experience as a PTA member this is problematic because I have seen how our state PTA leadership refuses to work with local PTA leaders to resolve our concerns in the best interest of our kids,” said Bradley Shear, a local PTA member in Montgomery County.
The scrutiny of the Maryland PTA comes amid an unprecedented education crisis nationwide, in which PTAs are assuming increased importance. Several Maryland public school districts have announced they will offer only virtual, distance-learning classes for the fall semester, placing a unique challenge and strain on parents and teachers regionwide.
The National PTA declined multiple requests to answer questions about its findings. In a written statement, a spokeswoman said, “It remains our sincere hope that Maryland PTA can swiftly find an equitable resolution to its current situation that embraces the needs of the greatest numbers of its council and local leaders and members. It is essential that we get back to our work of supporting and helping meet the needs of students, families, schools and communities, especially in this time of crisis in our country.”