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Somerset & Wicomico County School Superintendents Caught Quibbling & Being Untruthful

Updated: Mar 9



On January 29, 2021, the EAS Committee met, which included the Lower Shore Delegation of Maryland Senators, Delegates, school Superintendents, and State Superintendent Karen Salman. At this meeting, participants discussed various topics from school openings to school issues. Senator Mary Beth Carozza addressed a concern of the citizens about the school system using attorneys to communicate to parents through simple due processes. Superintendent John Gaddis of Somerset County Public Schools and Superintendent Donna Hanlin of Wicomico County Public Schools trivialize a very serious issue with untruths and baseless facts.


For example, a parent who files a complaint to the school system would normally receive a response from the principal. If a parent disagrees with the answer from the principal, they could then file a complaint to the Superintendent. If a parent does not agree with the response from the Superintendent, the parent (appellant) could then file an appeal to the county Board of Education. Once that happens, instead of the BOE reviewing the appeal, they are handing it off to an attorney to respond to parents on behalf of the Board of Education. BOE's have the right to hire an attorney for legal matters (Md. Code Ann., Ed. Art. 4-104). The problem is, this is simple due process and it is not litigation. If a county BOE wants to seek legal advice behind the scenes to assist with verbiage when the BOE responds to a parent is one thing. Interfering with due process is another. They are doing this in attempt to intimidate, harass, and ward off parents during the appeal process. It takes two parties to agree to legal mediation, and the BOE forces this process without a two-party agreement in place. In addition, attorney Fulton P. Jeffers and his law firm Carney, Kelehan, Bresler, Bennett & Scherr failed to disclose who they represent. This is unethical and illegal conduct.


The above correspondence was received by a parent from an attorney by the name of Andrew W. Nussbaum. This attorney also fails to disclose who he represents, and difficult to tell if he is working for the WCBOE, Superintendent, or both. The WCBOE failed to meet the 30-day deadline of an appeal as defined by Maryland Education Article 4-205(c)(3) and COMAR 13A.01.05.02B(1). The attorney attempts to extend a legal deadline of February 19, 2021 by seven days without the agreement of an extension between two parties. If he does represent the Superintendent, he has no business sending this letter or working with her, because the appeal is to the WCBOE and no longer in her hands (resulting in a conflict of interest). This attorney has: 1. Failed to disclose representation, 2. Tampered with legal deadlines, 3. Serves as a conflict of interest if working with both the Superintendent and the WCBOE to address an appeal. For whoever he is, REQUEST DENIED. This is unethical and illegal conduct.


Now make sure that you pay attention to everything said in the video below. Superintendent John Gaddis of Somerset County Public Schools is commenting on the involvement of attorneys as being part of the BOE's policy and procedure:



A FOIA request was filed to the SCPS to obtain a copy of the policy and procedures of the BOE using attorneys during the appeal process as being "part of the process" as stated by Superintendent Gaddis in the video. A letter in response to the FOIA is below:



Pinocchio #1. Superintendent Gaddis is caught being untruthful to Senator Mary Beth Carozza, all participants, and the citizens. What is he going to do? If he would be untruthful with a Maryland Senator and before other officials, how do you think he would behave with parents?


Superintendent Gaddis also comments on how virtual learning has caused parents to become more aware of what's going on in the classroom, and parents don't like what they hear. He claims that the parental disagreement comes from conflict with their faith, political, and belief perspectives. Gaddis also explains that the school teaches both perspectives. Pinocchio #2. If the school system genuinely taught compare and contrast, then there would be no conflict, and there would be no appeal. The conflict comes into play when the school system teaches a one-sided, biased perspective, which has ties to a political agenda that degrades family values, redefines social norms, and discriminates. The "other point of view' is never presented, nor is there any discussion of other perspectives allowed to be discussed. Most instructors will be quick to shut down any discussion that a student were to introduce or question, if it is in conflict of the agenda being presented. That's when it becomes bias, and gives birth to indoctrination. You can see examples of their indoctrination in the school systems for both SCBOE and for WCBOE.


Gaddis also states that: "Parents don't want that in the curriculum, but it's the MD state standards that the school system has to address." Pinocchio #3. Just so the reader understands, the Maryland State Board of Education (MSDE) does not provide, write, or mandate curriculum for the counties. The MSDE provides framework of units and seeds, for which a county school system can use as a guide in developing their own curriculum. It is entirely up to local school boards and their superintendent to develop and oversee their own curriculum (Md. Code Ann., Ed. Art. 4-111). In doing so, the county BOE must make sure that they keep the "Maryland College Ready Standards" in mind when developing their curriculum. If a county does choose to use the MSDE's sample framework, units, and seeds, the material absolutely contains political bias and indoctrination. School systems use it because they're too lazy and don't want to take the time to go through a vetting and alignment process to the MD College Ready Standards when developing their own curriculum. As a result, the county school systems give into using inappropriate, subversive material that contains political propaganda in the county curriculum, and they blame the MSDE for the mandating curriculum, which they don't. The majority of administrators align themselves with the corrupt, political ideology of the State, teachers union, and special interest groups that support such indoctrination.


Under the revised COMAR (13A.04.12.02 and 13A.04.14.02), each local superintendent of schools or chief executive officer will certify to the State Superintendent of Schools that the instructional programming for mathematics and English language arts courses align to the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards. As a result, the local county BOE can chose what is appropriate or inappropriate, and still meet the MD state standards. In the end, the curriculum does not have to indoctrinate if the BOE is doing their job.


Pinocchio #4. Superintendent Gaddis is pretending that Somerset County Public Schools teaches both points of view, and he is being deceptive when addressing the Senator, participants, and the viewers. The Delmarva Parent Teacher Coalition has several examples of their political bias in the classroom at SCPS, as well as subversive assignments and materials used in class.


Superintendent John Gaddis of Somerset County Public Schools gets Four Pinocchios:

Now for Superintendent Donna Hanlin. At the end of the video, she admits something that crosses the line of ethics, and she was untruthful. She said that she and Dr. Gaddis are very aware of the appeals that Senator Carozza is referring to (which the Senator did not refer to any appeal, but the concern of using attorneys), and Superintendent Hanlin and Gaddis have been discussing these matters together. First of all, an appeal was filed to the WCBOE to appeal Superintendent Hanlin's decision. Once that takes place, the appeal is out of her hands and now between the appellant and the BOE. The Superintendent is done with this process. However, a BOE most likely would include the Superintendent in any correspondence that develops between the appellant and the BOE to keep the superintendent in the loop (understandable). Here is where it crossed the line of ethics. Superintendent Hanlin admitted that she shared what is otherwise confidential between the appellant and the board, took this privy information and went out of her jurisdiction to discuss matters with another county's Superintendent of schools. Likewise, Gaddis did the same. The collusion between superintendents is a breach of confidentiality, and unethical.


Next, Superintendent Hanlin states that the school system has tried to communicate with parents on numerous occasions and attempted to sit down and meet with them before it reached the appeal process. Pinocchio #5. Superintendent Hanlin, administration, or board members never offered to sit down to meet with anyone or made any attempt to resolve matters leading up to an appeal. All administration and the BOE do is obstruct, twist, deflect, and reject the truth by dismissing actual evidence that proves a case every single time. Two things that are consistent is that WCBOE/WCPS will never admit when they are wrong, and they will never apologize.


No matter what concerns are brought before the school administration or BOE officials, legitimate matters have always been rejected by default. They fail to uphold their own policies, they create unofficial policies, cite policies that don't exists, and make stuff up as they go along in attempt to tamper with due process, deflect, and shutdown the truth. Because Superintendent Hanlin concurred with Superintendent Gaddis on the process in which he explained, Superintendent Hanlin of Wicomico County Public Schools gets Five Pinocchios since she had an additional no-no.

This is how our school systems operate. The citizens need their school systems to be honest with them, fully transparent, and to follow policies and due process without these double standards and manipulative practices. Parents are tired of being disregarded, bullied, and lied to. The school system thinks it can behave this way without consequence, but the citizens will show them otherwise. Contact your elected officials below and let them know that you don't appreciate the superintendent being untruthful.


SCBOE Board Members

Penelope Nicholson-Chairperson pnicholson@somerset.k12.md.us

Margo Green-Gale mgale@somerset.k12.md.us

Caleb Shores cshores@somerset.k12.md.us

Troy Brittingham, Jr. tbrittingham@somerset.k12.md.us

WCBOE Board Members

Donald Fitzgerald - dfitzger@wcboe.org

Gene Malone - gmalone@wcboe.org

Allen Brown - abrown@wcboe.org

John Palmer - jpalmer@wcboe.org

Tonya Lewis - tlewis@wcboe.org

Michael Murray - mmurray@wcboe.org

Ann Suthowski - asuthowsk@wcboe.org



Fellows & Editors

March 7, 2021 Copyright DelmarvaPTC.org

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