School board member’s response to DOJ’s report is inadequate | Letters to the Editor


In response to Karen Yoho’s Jan. 15 column (school board member responds to statement on DOJ report) about the DOJ’s recent findings, it would have been nice if she had written a short letter stating that public schools of Frederick County failed our special education students and he will do better in the future, then explained how.

Instead, she began by backtracking on her surprisingly tone-deaf statement on Jan. 6 that the council had done nothing illegal in an obvious attempt to save itself from a much-deserved backlash. Then, in what I found to be an insulting paragraph, Ms. Yoho provided a history of past student abuse that has been eliminated from our schools such as corporal punishment and classroom shaming practices, as if to suggest that abuse imposed on our special education students should be understandable because we once thought similar abusive behavior was acceptable.

I was confused. Was it suggesting a comparative equivalence that rationalized the behavior specified in the DOJ’s findings or was it suggesting that board members weren’t smart enough to learn from the past and realize that current abuses were just as bad as current ones? she quoted from the story? (If she or the board felt that was a solid explanation for why the abusive behavior was not addressed, I wonder if they presented it as a defense to the DOJ). Then came a series of explanations, which sounded more like apologies, about a lack of funding and training. This letter looked like a series of self-serving explanations that were more about absolution than responsibility.

Superintendent Alban is gone, as she should be, but the abuse of the segregation and restraint process is clearly a disgraceful and appalling failure of the FCPS leadership that has dragged on for a very long time, over from which apparently no board member was engaged. enough to be aware it was happening, or worse, they knew it and didn’t fix it. Either scenario is a clear sign that Superintendent Alban’s departure should only be a first step; the entire tray needs to be replaced.


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