News Release: Board of Education Approves New Student Safety Policies

News Release: Board of Education Approves New Student Safety Policies

July 20, 2016
For Immediate Release
CONTACT:
Office of Communications
301-952-6001

UPPER MARLBORO, MD- The Prince George’s County Board of Education approved four new policies Tuesday designed to enhance and ensure student safety throughout Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS).

Approved unanimously, the policies relate to school volunteers; inappropriate relationships between students, staff, volunteers and contractors; reporting suspected child abuse and neglect; and overall safety measures to prevent child abuse.  

“Our foremost priority is the safety and security of students in Prince George’s County Public Schools,” said Dr. Segun C. Eubanks, Board of Education Chair. “The Board of Education encourages family and community participation in volunteer activities that support student learning and development. Parents, families, community members and groups play crucial roles in nurturing student success. These updates and revisions to existing policies are designed to protect children as they engage with volunteers, faculty and staff.”

Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell, Chief Executive Officer, will issue revised administrative procedures in August, prior to the start of the new school year.

“We are committed to implementing comprehensive policies that send a clear message about what matters most in Prince George’s County Public Schools -- our children’s safety,” said Dr. Maxwell. “We must use every precaution in issues involving student safety and ensuring safe environments in all of our schools.”

Specifically, the policies will address:

  • Volunteer Services – Outlines specific areas for inclusion, such as criminal background checks; volunteer eligibility criteria for current and former employees; access to and interaction with students; training requirements for all volunteers, including leadership with a Parent Teacher Association and Parent Teacher Organization; and compliance monitoring requirements for schools. 
  • Student Safety and Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse – Outlines training requirements for new employees; screening and training processes for volunteers; administrative procedures related to employee use of social media, school visitors and other areas; curriculum enhancements and school safety assessments. 
  • Reporting Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect – Focuses on procedures that employees, volunteers and contractors must follow in reporting suspected abuse or neglect, and consequences for failing to do so. 
  • Inappropriate Relationships Between Students and Employees, Volunteers and Contractors – Prohibits dating, sexual relations and inappropriate relationships between employees, volunteers, contractors and any students, regardless of whether they are enrolled in PGCPS. Consequences include termination, notification to child protective and law enforcement agencies, revocation of professional licenses and exclusion from future contracts and volunteer activities. 

The new policies are an outgrowth of the Student Safety Task Force recommendations released at the end of May. The task force conducted an independent review of current PGCPS policies, procedures, processes and practices related to student safeguards and protections.  

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Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS), one of the nation's 25 largest school districts, has 208 schools and centers, more than 130,000 students and nearly 19,000 employees. Under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell, the school system serves a diverse student population from urban, suburban and rural communities located in the Washington, DC suburbs. PGCPS is nationally recognized for innovative programs and initiatives that provide students with unique learning opportunities, including arts integration, environmental and financial literacy, and language immersion.