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June 26, 2019

Leadership is the problem, not money

Cindy A. Rose

As a sequel to my last column, I can’t tell you how surprised I was to click open the June 19 Letters to the Editor section in The Frederick News-Post and read Laralyn Gill’s letter stating that the president of the Frederick Council Board of Education should be censured and apologize.


As it so happens, on June 7th of this year I filed a formal request to have Brad Young censured.


I used to be an ardent supporter of Mr. Young.  However, that bloom has long since faded.


This is the third request for Mr. Young to be censure since October 2018. There could be more, however. Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) and the Board of Education don’t like the public to get wind of anything that makes them look bad.


In October of 2018, just before the election, Mr. Young was in the process of being censured for what I would term “stalking” a parent from one social media page to another to berate her. The public didn’t learn about this until December when he was forced to apologize.


His apology can be seen in the following link during the December 12, 2018, board meeting. It’s at the end of item 3.09 (Board Member Comments).


Board members Elizabeth Barrett and Colleen Cusimano were officially censured in the past. Ms. Barrett for what appears to be less egregious than Mr. Young’s violation. Mrs. Cusimano was censured for giving parents too much information on the student data breach.


Mr. Young was only made to publicly apologize. Was it the infraction, his gender or his position that protected him from an official censure? We are left to speculate.


His callous “suicide” remarks made during a May 2019 Board of Education meeting caused enough concern for the June 19 letter to be sent to the News-Post editor.


My encounter with Mr. Young was filled with judgment and virtue signaling. He turned an opportunity to help parents into one of shaming and blaming parents, the community and law enforcement for in-school fighting between students. While blaming parents for the problems, he made sure to take the time and list everything he is personally doing in the community, while ending with an accusatory “What have you done?”


Mr. Young is no longer capable of thoughtful, respectful leadership. More importantly, he appears to be incapable of helping FCPS find a way to curb aggression in our schools. How many more fights must the staff and students endure before FCPS decides to get tough with discipline? “Restorative” practices are eroding safety and security within our school buildings.


When school leadership surrenders to the status quo, while at the same time refusing to believe its practices are part of the problem, and while having its Board of Education members participating in the very behavior we punish students for, is it any wonder that we can’t get control over school safety concerns?


At the least, Mr. Young needs to resign or be removed as board president. What is best for FCPS is for him to resign as a member of the Board of Education. FCPS has a leadership problem, not a funding problem.


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