Millersville set for fresh start after rocky year


September 01, 1992|By Deidre Nerreau McCabe | Deidre Nerreau McCabe,Staff Writer

At Millersville Elementary School, rocked last year by charges that a fourth-grade teacher assaulted her students, school started on an upbeat note yesterday, with parents saying they looked forward to healing their wounds.

"I think everyone, including the teachers, is ready to start the healing process," said Dianne Osborn, a parent volunteer and spokeswoman for the school's PTA.

Parents, who three months ago were threatening to picket the school if the teacher, Margaret M. Snyder, returned to teach their children this fall, spoke of moving ahead and patching things up with a new principal and a new fourth grade teacher.

Mrs. Snyder, 57 was charged last June by county police in connection the alleged assaults on three students in March and June. She is scheduled to stand trial Oct. 16 in District Court in Glen Burnie.

School officials have refused to comment on whether the teacher has been placed on administrative leave or moved to another school, saying the matter is confidential.

And as if the charges against the teacher weren't bad enough, angry parents charged that the school's former principal, Henry Shubert, covered up complaints about the alleged assaults for months.

They asked School Superintendent C. Berry Carter II for a full investigation.

But before the school system's investigation was completed July 27, Mr. Shubert was transferred to Brock Bridge Elementary School in Maryland City. And Brock Bridge's principal, James W. Preston, was assigned to Millersville.

Although the probe cleared Mr. Shubert of wrongdoing, several parents said they continued to be upset by the way the alleged abuse and principal transfers were handled and by the lack of information given to parents throughout the ordeal.

But on Monday, most of the school's recent problems seemed forgiven, if not forgotten.

Parent volunteers talked about a "new, professional atmosphere, and teachers spoke of a smooth transition. Nicole Butters, the new fourth-grade teacher, said she was happy to be at Millersville.

"I feel very welcome," she said, on her way to cafeteria duty. "We're having a very good day."

Most importantly, the wiggly students eating sandwiches and munching corn chips in the cafeteria said they were happy to be back and eager to learn.

"I'm glad to be back because you learn a lot more here," said 7-year-old Amber Mongood of Millersville. "I'm really happy to be at school. It helps you read better."

"It was getting boring around the house. There was nothing left to do," said 8-year-old Randy Deltuva. "I missed my friends."

Mr. Preston, who spent the morning hustling around the school, making sure all went well, said the day's only hitch was an unwelcome black snake that had found its way into the teachers' lounge.

Two hours into the school day, he reported the errant serpent had finally been captured. "It's gone now," he said.

And parents say they believe that Millersville's other problems are gone as well.

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