Hollywood, MD – A quick perusal of some of the latest news stories depicts a troubling situation. In Maryland, Governor Hogan announced this week he intends to create the post of education inspector general and is allocating funds to Baltimore City Public Schools to repair those facilities that lack heat and are in a state of neglect, maintenance-wise. In Montgomery County parents are complaining about the public school system’s “lack of transparency” regarding their handling of sex abuse cases. Beleaguered school officials deny there’s a cover-up. Right here in Southern Maryland, Charles County officials are trying to heal the hurt in the community caused by an accused sex offender who has pleaded guilty to a handful of the over 200 charges filed against him for violating over 40 students. As a result of the arctic-like temperatures of the first days of 2018, there are schools throughout Maryland that lack electricity, heat, water and are surrounded by slippery sidewalks. The new year doesn’t appear to have started out productively.
It may seem like schools are the most dangerous places on the face of the Earth. But society has nothing to gain by bubble-wrapping its youth and wishing these problems would all go away. When it comes to education everybody wants to get back to basics. It doesn’t appear that easy. Lack of funds, fear of litigation and in some cases, the astonishing violation of a trust to do no child any harm in the work place create distractions that make the establishment of a conducive learning environment a challenge.
In many ways, it sounds like what the real world is like. We simply don’t have the unlimited funds to lavishly create a Utopian setting for students, teachers and administrators. Getting back to the basics and trying to create the perfect learning zone needs to begin at home. Charles County State’s Attorney Tony Covington spoke well Friday at the press conference in the context of the Carlos Bell case when he said, “parents, everybody—talk to your children. You have to have open communication with your children.” That communication can be applicable across the board. If there is anything—be it a chilly classroom or chilling adult in a position of authority—the child needs to tell a parent or guardian.
The school systems that are most successful achieve because parents are engaged. Every school day—from riding the bus, walking the halls sitting in a classroom—can pose danger. But it doesn’t have to reach a crisis level if responsible adults remain vigilant.
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