• News Release: Procedural Changes, New Training Strengthens School Safety, Reduces Staff on Leave

    October 12, 2017
    For Immediate Release
    CONTACT:
    Office of Communications
    301-952-6001

    UPPER MARLBORO, MD – Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) announced today that significant changes to administrative procedures and new training for all staff have strengthened school safety and substantially decreased the number of employees on administrative leave.

    Since the start of the 2017-18 school year, three new student safety administrative procedures have been implemented, six procedures were revised, and more than 90 percent of all staff have completed new online SafeSchools training modules. School system officials will report to the Prince George’s County Board of Education today on enhanced student safety and improved school and workplace climates as a result of the changes.

    “We remain committed to improving school and student safety while providing a positive workplace climate for our employees,” said Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell, Chief Executive Officer. “We must continue to do all that we can to encourage safe environments where students can focus on learning and staff feel supported.

    As of Oct. 6, there were 40 staff members, including 21 teachers, on administrative leave, pending investigations into allegations of child abuse and neglect, or failure to report. The numbers have been greatly reduced from the 2016-17 school year, when 848 staff members, including 419 teachers, were placed on leave.

    Last year’s focus on changing culture and climate dramatically increased reporting of child abuse and neglect allegations due to staff vigilance in protecting students. To ensure correct reporting, the system has provided staff with guidance on the use of administrative leave and enacted more effective processes to address Child Protective Services referrals.

    In February 2016, PGCPS created a Student Safety Task Force comprised of representatives from higher education, non-profit, private sector, local government, public safety and the school system. The task force made several recommendations based on a thorough review of the school system’s policies, procedures, processes, and practices. The task force’s recommendations -- focused on Climate and Culture; Reporting and Training; Screening of Employees, Volunteers, Vendors and Contractors; and Curriculum and Counseling -- formed the basis of the Student Safety Action Plan, implemented last school year. 

     
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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.