School board to review plan for transfers

March 16, 1994|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Sun Staff Writer

The Anne Arundel school board will review tonight a plan to rectify problems uncovered by a probe into how the school system mishandled allegations that teachers had sex with students.

Superintendent Carol S. Parham drafted about two dozen recommendations to correct problems that surfaced nearly a year ago when then Northeast High School teacher Ronald W. Price was arrested and announced on television that school officials knew he was having sex with students but never stopped him.

The ensuing uproar brought down Superintendent C. Berry Carter II and led to the planned transfer of Northeast Principal Joseph Carducci after the results of three investigations indicated Mr. Carter and others did not report suspicions about teachers to police or social workers. The four-month investigation by Washington lawyer Alan I. Baron uncovered 138 allegations of child abuse in county schools since 1977, including 63 cases school officials failed to turn over to police or social workers.

The plan, ordered by state Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick, urges workers to "seek the opportunity to experience changes of assignment" through voluntary transfers, but notes that state regulations allow involuntary moves.

School employee unions objected in December when Mr. Baron's $106,000 state-ordered report suggested that routine transfers would benefit everyone.

Mr. Baron had recommended the school system consider transferring social studies teachers out of Northeast because of reports that they had become a powerful clique -- and also develop a policy to allow transferring other employees more routinely to avoid power blocs.

Social studies teachers at Northeast will be moved voluntarily at the end of the school year, and Roy Skiles, who will take over as principal in July, will evaluate remaining social studies teachers in the coming school year and suggest any other moves.

Several other proposed recommendations involve better record-keeping and putting into writing such policies as a ban on teacher-student dating. Some of the changes, such as adopting a sexual harassment policy, were made last year.

The blueprint is being unveiled a day before Mr. Baron is to face his critics in a meeting sought by Linda Tetrault, Northeast PTSA president, who has had harsh words for Mr. Baron's report. The school board meeting tonight and the session tomorrow night will be held at Board of Education offices in Annapolis.

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