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Anne Arundel County Schools: The Laughing Stock Of The Nation

| June 12, 2013, 07:54 AM | 13 Comments

I wonder if there is an equivalent to the Razzie Awards for schools.  Without doubt, Anne Arundel County would be leading the pack of contenders. It appears that all semblance of common sense has left the building as Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell, PhD, denies an appeal for a suspension of a seven-year old student who chewed his Pop-Tart into what a teacher thought was the shape of a gun.  And to be sure no-one was traumatized by the errant pastry, the school sent home a letter to students about “the incident” and even going so far as to offer counseling services!

The ludicrousness certainly did not escape Fox News.

Where has common sense gone? We shared this video on our Facebook page late last night to the 58,000 people who “like” our page and 100% of the comments agreed that common sense is no longer a requirement in the Anne Arundel County Public Schools.



And Margaret Cole makes a valid point. While the school administration is determining ways to regulate, pop-tarts, bullying seems to be little more than lip-service and a few pages in the Student Handbook.

Until a video surfaced, the incident involving a teacher bullying a student was just a “misunderstanding.” We have heard that the teacher remains in the classroom. (CORRECTION: Per AACPS spokesperson Bob Mosier, the involved teacher is not in the classroom as she is currently on leave. The other teacher in the video was transfered to a different facility and does not involve contact with children.)

We documented an ongoing issue with bullying at Southern High School.

A teacher admitted that administrators make him re-classify bullying incidents to something less severe.

Several years ago, a student was beaten in a hallway so severely that he was flown to shock-trauma. And while the victim was in the hospital for days and faced a long recovery including partial blindness, his assailants were back in school after a very short suspension. The school district deemed the incident an “altercation” and would not comment on the punishment citing privacy concerns.

Bizarre Grading Systems

The schools have adopted a bizarre weighted grading system where positive performance is not rewarded. A recent example was of a student with a grade on the cusp if a higher grade. Two assignments, both As, did not move the grade. When asked why two very high grades did not impact the student’s overall score, the teacher responded:

You are correct. The projects did not move the grades, especially if the students did well. However, they would have had a negative effect had they done poorly.

What kind of grading system is this? Are the schools holding back performing students to allow non-performing ones to look better? Is it a paper game?

STEM Hurts Other Students

If your students are not in a STEM program, it is unlikely, if not impossible, for them to ever graduate at the top of their class because of the convoluted way the Anne Arundel County Public Schools have decided to factor grades.  This conundrum was explained in a recent article in the South River Source.

Maryland Legislator Weighs In

Even a Maryland Delegate Tony McConkey weighed in on the craziness.

Every year, the school district requests more money from the County to operate the schools–and this is a good thing. But when they are making decisions like this, it should give people pause. If our teachers and administrators are unable to differentiate a half-ingested pop tart from a viable threat of violence, how can we expect them to effectively manage $600 million in their annual budget?  Maybe Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman can ask that question now that relations between the County and AACPS have been somewhat repaired despite removing $5 million from the proposed budget.

So now, a now 8-year old will have to appeal Dr. Maxwell’s decision to the full Board of Education wasting yet more time and energy on this silliness run amok.

In the meantime, as schools dismiss for the summer, someone might give the teachers and administrators some summer homework…here’s my suggestion…..what are your thoughts on the whole thing?



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Category: OPINION

About the Author - John Frenaye

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for nearly 25 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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Comments (13)

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  1. Fish Stark says:

    I can forgive the teacher who overreacted in the first place. It was in the aftermath of Newtown, she was probably stressed and on edge, and it was understandable that she would panic and have a reaction disproportionate to the actual situation.

    But it is inconceivable to me that the Superintendent–of all people–would not recognize that this was a hasty decision made in error, reverse it, and apologize to the child. Sure, chewing a pop-tart into the shape of a gun could be inappropriate, but the child was seven–could he reasonably have known that? It’s a scenario in which you take the child aside and say “hey, you mustn’t mention guns in school, even if it’s just pretend; it’s not appropriate,” but suspending him is ridiculous. That the school district will not reconsider its decision shows an inability to recognize their mistakes.

    This is especially concerning in light of the serious bullying problems taking place at these schools. When rules and policies are unclear or don’t make sense, it decreases respect for the rules in general, which leads to general disruption and an increase in bullying. Similarly, bullies and aggressors can take advantage of vagueness and contradictions in a disciplinary system full of logical fallacies. But, more to the point–with such serious problems in its schools, the district is proverbially shooting its public image in the foot by allowing itself to be on the TV news over a pop-tart gun.

    I urge Superintendent Maxwell, and the county leadership as a whole, to reconsider their decision.

  2. Gene Macogay says:

    Clearly the Pop Tart is an exact replica of a stealth bomber.

  3. SH says:

    Absolutely ridiculous. Parents should have a right to demand better for our children! What is wrong with people today? Americans have allowed ourselves to become overly sensitive to the point of absurdity. So much time and energy (and tax payer money!) is WASTED in foolishness.

  4. Abby Long says:

    So Stupid! Set the boy up for a difficult life before he even gets started. I get whats going on in the world but my God this is a real abuse of authority. Can’t help but to wonder what the rest of the story is becouse this is strange??????

  5. Maybe they’re just mad because Pop Tarts are nutritionally unhealthy or didn’t get the AACPS seal of approval.

    The real shame is that AA County is supposed to have this highly educated, affluent demographic. This isn’t supposed to happen.

  6. George says:

    Everyone is missing the WHY. Guns will be banned 100% by this generation of kids when they are adults. This is not a pro-gun conspiracy theory, it is a fact. They are conditioning our kids that anything related to “gun” is evil. I grew up in Anne Arundel County Schools. I had music class in Elementary School, and I remember singing patriotic songs (many of which are still stuck in my head to this day). I went to Old Mill where I graduated. A school that had a statue of a Minute Man holding a rifle, I am sure that is gone now as that depicts violence (I no longer live in the state and every time I see what the politicians are doing to it breaks my heart; it was a great state). Have they removed the pictures of soldiers from their books? The school system I was brought up in taught me to love my country. I went in the military and served for 10 years. What the “educators” are doing is less education now, and more conditioning. Also notice in the story that the 2 teachers that bullied were not “terminated”. One is on leave (we can assume paid), and the other transferred to a non-child related position (great use of tax dollars for a teacher).

  7. Reallllllly????? says:

    It’s not an abuse of authority…he was not vindictively suspended. Ask his Dad to show the suspension paperwork….he has it! He has to sign it and gets a copy. Why has it never been released? That will give you the real reason as to why the kid was suspended. If Dad had nothing to hide, and it said he was suspended for a “Poptart gun” it would be on the paper he was given the day of the suspension.

  8. John Frenaye says:

    It seems like you have some knowledge of the incident beyond what the school is releasing. If you can come forward with facts that support your claim, we are more than happy to publish that side of the story as well. [email protected]

  9. John Frenaye says:

    If you have firsthand knowledge of your allegations, please contact us at [email protected] and we will be glad to publish that side of the story. I have had others come to me saying that “I am friends with a girl that is roommates with the teacher” and speculation like that. So, if you have info, please contact us

    I DO agree with you that there is no need to be pimpin this kid out , the NRA gift, etc.

  10. If you are able to shed light on the people involved moreso than the article, please, I’m sure that it would your information would be welcomed. Do you know this person? Can you back up the fact that there were previous issues that led to the suspension?

    I’m not sure you are seeing the point of the story. Your comment seemed to drift far from the topic.

  11. John Frenaye says:

    The piece is an editorial so it does have a position and a slant. While the teachers are the front line, I think we can all admit that the administration has really taken this to a bizarre level as they did back in the late 90s when they suspended a child for a drawing of a gun. (Windsor Farms Elementary)

    Teachers do put up with all sorts of things daily and I admire them.

    There have been a few reports that this kid was not suspended for the pop tart, but for many other infractions. However, none of the people are willing to come out from behind their anonymous keyboards and talk about it. I’d be pleased to cover that angle if it exists; but, I am unable to to it when I hear “my cousin Mary has a friend whose neighbor used to teach with a guy who teaches in the same school and said the kid was suspended for other reasons.”

    Also, while the school district cannot discuss individual cases and their spokesperson does what he can to control the message, had the kid NOT been suspended for the pop tart, you can be sure the schools would rather not be in this spotlight and would come out with a statement saying that the premise of a pop tart suspension is factually incorrect. They have not done so.

    The story (twice now) has made local, regional, and national news. If it was factually incorrect, don;t you feel the administration would correct that?

  12. Mike Wilkins says:

    so in twenty years, when this boy finally snaps because of the bureaucratic attacks brought on by this addition to his permanent record and sprays a grade school with a real gun, who’s at fault… to keep this from the possiblilty of a ending, i hope everyone who spoke out against this foolishness doesn’t just forget this boy in the future.

  13. Disgusted with AACPS says:

    Have you heard anything yet John?? You must have gotten so much new information from the “other side” that it’s taking you a while to type it up, huh. It’s been a month so you should probably hire some extra help to get all that information they have come forward with out there. We are anxious to hear their side.

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