BOWIE, MD. (WUSA9) - New allegations of a “culture of cover-up” in the Prince George’s County school system were brought forward by a fired whistleblower Wednesday.
Fired Head Start Family Services worker Demetrius Deal says she was terminated after being accused of helping hide the abuse against a 4-year old boy in the County's Head Start System.
But Deal’s notes and emails dating back to January of 2016 appear to show she was the first to raise the alarm, and that supervisors did nothing about it.
“They demonstrate willful blindness to save face,” Deal said Wednesday.
Deal was fired September 3rd, along with five other employees shortly after the abuse scandal in the Head Start program was made public for the first time by a federal oversight report.
The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services suspended Head Start funding to Prince George’s County schools and brought in a Denver-based contractor to run the program.
Federal regulators found that Prince George’s failed to act quickly enough to correct deficiencies that threatened safety and wellbeing of preschoolers in Head Start.
Deal came forward after Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker Wednesday promised protection for teachers who tell the truth about abuse.
“This is not a gotcha. We’re going to make changes there,” Baker said.
Deal’s reactions were sharp. “I don’t trust them,” she said.
Baker said he will continue to stand by embattled School CEO Kevin Maxwell. “He is a leader who I believe can solve this problem,” Baker said. However, Baker also said his patience will not be unlimited.
Maxwell has presided over a number of abuse scandals beginning with the arrest of school aide Deonte Carraway who is accused of making child porn videos at the Sylvania Woods Elementary School, after supervisors allowed him to be left alone with kids.
Monday, Maxwell notified shocked Board of Education members that a school bus aide is under investigation for allegedly abusing a special needs child in November of 2015, while a supervisor is being investigated for failing to report the allegations and withholding video evidence from the bus. Maxwell said he didn’t become aware of the case until “when school started” in 2016. Police were investigating in June, according to the father of one suspected victim. No charges have been filed in the case and the aide and supervisor were placed on leave in late August, Maxwell said.
Tuesday, Maxwell announced the new Principal of Sylvania Woods Elementary, who was brought in after the child porn scandal, had himself been put on leave while allegations of improper conduct are investigated.
At least 2 dissident Board of Education members say Maxwell has failed to protect children or solve the alleged “culture of coverup.”
“I’m sick of it,” said Board of Education member Edward Burroughs.