Comments to the Board Feb 2023

February 14, 2023

Good evening, Chairwoman Mrs. Lichter, Vice Chairwoman Mrs. Harvey, Superintendent Dr. Williams, and members of the board,

Thank you for the opportunity to speak on behalf of CASE.

Dr. Williams, CASE would like to thank you for your service to Baltimore County, and we wish you nothing but success as you finish your work here and plan your next chapter.

I have two items I would like to discuss this evening. The first item is a call for stability as we prepare for change. I understand there may be a need to transfer administrators, but please consider leaving people where they are unless they’ve made requests or there is an urgent need. And as we begin to hire assistant principals and principals and central office leaders, please consider BCPS employees first. It will be important to maintain historical knowledge as we move forward.

The second item has to do with principal and administrator safety and protection. CASE members understand that when they take on leadership positions they are subject to public criticism. But as their union representation I am not seeing public criticism. What I see is people using social media to speculate, spread false information, and even lie about school administrators. CASE believes that parents and the community should be strong advocates for students and hold administrators accountable, but they too should be held accountable when they make false and slanderous accusations. There is a way to communicate truth without exposing students or violating their rights. BCPS leadership and the board must speak out against this abuse.

This week, I had to support an administrative team whose lives have been threatened by a parent. Not one threat but multiple threats. There have been “no trespass” letters issued and peace orders acquired by the administrators from the courthouse. The peace order should have been acquired by the system. Having the administrator acquire the order actually puts the system at risk. The parent response to the “no trespass” letter was, “You have to leave the building at some point, I’ll just get you then.” More needs to be done. We can’t wait until something horrible happens. We can have courage and act and still maintain people’s rights. We can have courage and act and still maintain a relationship with parents and the community. We need you to help. We need you to protect. We need you to lead.

—Billy Burke, Executive Director