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July 10, 2019

Obfuscation and Public Retribution

Cindy A. Rose

I’ve been advocating for students and parents with Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) for about a decade now. Why do some parents seek help from others in navigating the school system? One of the things I hear frequently is the fear of retribution.


To be fair, the main thing they voice is simply not knowing where to go to be heard. More times than not, they want guidance on the process and they take it from there.


However, a fair number are afraid to make noise because they believe they or their child will be given a hard time or retaliated against in some way.


What does retaliation look like? For starters, children not getting into the classes they want, not getting the support they need, and staff giving them, or their child, a hard time in general. It runs the gamut from minor annoyance to willful ignorance of the rules on the part of the Board of Education.


I’ve run into the later when recently I learned there are two sets of ethics rules when it comes to the members on the Board of Education. There are the rules followed when dealing with the general public and rules followed when dealing with Cindy Rose.


Paranoid? I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.


As previously reported, I filed an ethics complaint with Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) on June 7 about the conduct of Brad Young. On June 28 I opened an email from Board of Education Vice-President Joy Schaeffer stating my ethics complaint has been dismissed because: “We did not feel that his comments were provided as the Board President or in his board role and, therefore, did not rise to the level of censure by the Board.”


Please note, they did not say his behavior was appropriate. They said his comments weren’t made as a member of the Board of Education.


Why do I believe I’m getting unfair treatment?


In the evidence I shared in my complaint, is a copy of one of the posts to which I took exception. Mr. Young states in the post: “….if you have any follow up email me at Brad.Young@fcps.young.” Any reasonable person reading that would conclude he is communicating in his capacity as a board member.


Mr. Young talks about speaking with the sheriff, attending graduations and solicits feedback. It’s obvious to any fair minded person he is communicating in his capacity as a member of the Board of Education. We are asked to suspend logic and ignore the obvious.


How does an ethically minded, deliberative body conclude he wasn’t acting in his capacity as a board member when he solicits follow up be sent to his official board email?


This is a prime example of why parents don’t want to question or rock the boat. This is the ultimate form of retribution – suspension of fairness toward a parent they simply don’t like.


This board is incapable of doing the right thing because they are too busy doing the political thing. They don’t have to like me, but they do have to do the right thing.


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