MD Local lawmakers push for Accountability in Education bill
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – It’s a goal many parents hope Governor Larry Hogan can accomplish. To make schools safer for their children.
“It’s really important that we make sure that our schools are safe from the inside out,” said Senator Addie Eckardt.
Currently, state senators are reviewing a bill proposed by Governor Hogan to create an independent education monitoring unit to investigate complaints of unethical, unprofessional, improper, or illegal conduct in schools.
“When these types of questions come up right now there is no the team that has the authority to investigate the situations,” said Senator Mary Beth Carozza.
Officials say the proposed legislation would give the education monitoring unit subpoena power to obtain critical information and hold hearings. Power that the current unit doesn’t have.
“There is currently a governor’s office of education accountability but it doesn’t have the authority to investigate,” said Carozza.
This new unit would change that. For example, in situations like at James M. Bennett High School, with the guidance counselor who allegedly sexually abused and assaulted minors, and the Parkside High School teacher who was busted for dealing drugs back in 2017, parents or students would now be able to call into this independent unit before the situation gets worse.
“That specifically would allow for the investigation of those types of complaints of unethical and improper behavior, illegal behavior, “said Carozza.
Although still in its early stages, local lawmakers say they’re pushing for this legislation to pass in order to hold schools accountable for their actions.
“There has to be a way to report it,otherwise folks keep ignoring it and that does not help the situation,” said Eckardt.
Carozza also tells there’s opposition from the Maryland Department of Education and school superintendents, who she says would want to handle the investigations themselves.
On Wednesday the bill had it’s first hearing in committee and Senator Carozza says she expects a committee vote on it within the next few weeks.