Location and Infrastructure Considerations >>
Environmental Concerns >>
School Overcrowding >>
Building Considerations >>
Needs of the Students >>
Financial Waste >>
No Open and Transparent Selection Process >>
No Community Involvement >>
No Reliable Feasibility Study >>
Safety Considerations >>
Displacing The School for Tomorrow >>
The Board has not fully explored or considered the impact of relocating the AEP students to the neighborhood. No site selection process was conducted.
The community wasn’t involved because “this opportunity came to them [Department of Facilities] late in the process and they didn’t have the opportunity to gather the community input to see what the concerns were prior to board consideration” (61:21 mark of board vote).
Superintendent Starr stated that they don’t want to engage the community in a what-if scenario in case it doesn't receive board approval (60:33 mark of board vote).
Our community has voiced reasonable concerns to the school board regarding safety, based on the information THE BOARD provided. As quoted from the CIP:
“Students are placed in the program after a central office review and as a result of their involvement with controlled substances, serious bodily injury, and/or weapons.”
The 2012/13 MCPS High School Safety Reports were the only other information available to the community. Based on those reports, the police were called to the Blair G. Ewing Center (formerly the Mark Twain School) for serious incidents 47 times. According to this same report, the Ewing Center has a high percentage of students receiving out-of-school suspensions (41.9% in 2011, 37.3% in 2012, 25.5% in 2013). These are out-of-school suspensions issued from the very school that is trained to deal with serious behavioral problems.
Watch Video of the November 17th Board Discussion and Vote (Click on Item 2 and fast forward to the 41:44 mark)
The community wants the Board to work with them and help them better understand this proposed move. Instead, the board has chosen to blatantly ignore and belittled community member concerns, instead of opening a dialogue and responding in a constructive way. The board has decided to instead vilify the community members, and characterize them as having a “not-in-my-backyard” attitude. The board wrongfully implies that the community is hostile, prejudiced, and unsympathetic. Aspen Hill is a diverse, caring, welcoming community, but residents do have apprehensions about how this relocation will affect the safety and tranquility of the neighborhood.
See our FAQ on this topic >>
2012-2013 High School Safety Reports (for comparison)