Prince George's County Executive Willing to Change School Leadership

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker said he had a very frank discussion Tuesday with the head of the county school system in the wake of another report of abuse of young students.

Wednesday Baker said he told Prince George's County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell he expects him to get a handle on issues surrounding student safety.

"My expectation of Dr. Maxwell and the county is that we deal with these problems, and if we can’t, then we have to look at leadership," Baker said.

He added he has confidence Maxwell will deal with these issues.

Baker appeared Tuesday on a call-in show on WHUR, the Howard University radio station in northwest Washington, where he made it very clear that he and Maxwell had a frank discussion that included the possibility of a shake-up at the top level.

"I don't think it's necessary right now. But I told him I'd be willing to do that," Baker said. "Everybody should feel that their children are safe when they send them to our schools. And if they're not, we're going to make changes."

Baker took calls Tuesday evening from listeners, alongside WHUR's Harold Foster. A series of scandals in Prince George's County Public Schools shaken the faith of parents and others in the school system, and listeners wanted some answers.

On Monday, News4 reported a school bus aide allegedly sexually abused young special needs children. Although only recently revealed, that investigation began in May, only four months after the school system dealt with its worst child abuse scandal in recent memory.

In that case, Deonte Carraway, a teacher's aide at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School, allegedly sexually abused at least 23 children and recorded it on camera. He is scheduled to go on trial on March 14, 2017.

Parents at Judge Sylvania Woods were told on Tuesday that their new principal had been placed on administrative leave due to anonymous allegations made against him. The allegations did not involve students at the school.

Sources told News4 on Wednesday that the principal was cleared after those allegations were determined to be unfounded. 

Baker faced pointed questions about the unreported allegations of abuse and neglect that prompted the federal government last month to revoke the $6.4 million grant for the vital Head Start program. The program does continue to function under stop-gap measures.

"My job as county executive is to make sure this is the best school system that can be at every level,” Baker said. “I'm pleased with the academic performance that they're having there. I am not pleased with these incidents that are happening. Neither is (Maxwell) But I want him to understand, and I want the citizens to understand, that we take these very seriously."

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