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Worcester County Board of Education Steamrolls State's Attorney & Sheriff on School Safety

In response to this letter sent by the Worcester County State’s Attorney and Sheriff’s Office on September 21, 2023, the majority of the Worcester County Board of Education disregarded those who are specifically elected to keep Worcester County citizens safe. The Delmarva Parent Teacher Coalition filed an information request to obtain the board's response. The response below is a letter drafted by the named board attorney, but signed by Todd Ferrante who is President of the board. It ends with no resolution, only obstructive measures:

“The Board fails to see how engaging in a truth versus fiction dialogue through public forums is helpful in maintaining school safety and as such, may violate Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1966 (HIPPA), and the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).”

The State’s Attorney and the Sheriff are not in the business of spreading false information or gossip, and would certainly not expose a minor's identity or jeopardize their future. They don’t have time for that, and they operate within the law. The language "may violate” only speculates or assumes, and these two law officials are not out to violate any of these Acts. They simply want to be informed of what's happening in the schools. Worcester County Public Schools has both a legal and civil obligation to inform law enforcement in order for the citizens to be protected. Failing to inform is not a partnership or even a functional county.

“The majority of the Board found that WCPS schools are safe.”

This just opened a huge liability for the board. If anything at all happens to any child, the board is fully responsible. They guarantee and ensure the safety of all children as Worcester County schools are declared safe. The fact is, we are not safe anywhere. Safety must be proactively planned, constantly monitored, maintained, and improved. Being prideful, arrogant, or lax on this subject spells disaster.

“Superintendent of Schools Lou Taylor and/or Chief Safety Officer Annette Wallace will be members of the Task Force.”

This is a conflict of interest. These two should be the ones to report to the School Safety Task Force, not be a part of it. Otherwise, their only intended purpose to be included is to interfere, manipulate, and flee accountability. Everyone knows that it is impossible for one to discipline themselves or hold oneself accountable.

The board attorney should always have the citizens' best interest in mind when advising the board, since their duty is to represent the people. Here we see just the opposite. This letter was crafted by their attorney to exploit and escalate matters, opening the board to liability so that pockets could be lined with future legal work at the expense of the taxpayers.

All the State’s Attorney and Sheriff asked for was simple communication. They did not ask for an intermediary, liaison, gateway, or relay station to impede or delay what is necessary for those whose official job it is to keep citizens safe, maintain law and order, and to keep the peace. The majority of the Worcester County Board of Education is out of line before the people they represent. They are now acting as obstructionists, serving as an insulating layer designed to foster and shield a hotbed of future lawlessness. Their willfully negligent actions lead to child endangerment. Board member Katie Addis appears to be the only member who is genuinely vested in the safety of our children. The rest of the board have positioned themselves as political illusionists, offering lip service and running interference in a land of make-believe. This is not helpful or a viable solution to school safety moving forward. The board simply needs to communicate and be transparent with law officials in all incidents, accidents, and threats regarding school safety and the law.

Fellows & Editors

October 24, 2023

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