Tomorrow is Primary Day. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Willie J. Mahone, President of the the Frederick County Branch of the NAACP, recognizes the important role every voter plays in the election process. "It's important for all of us to understand the impact we can have on local politics if we exercise our right to vote. While we do not endorse one candidate over another, we feel that it's important voters are aware of key issues in this upcoming primary that may influence their choices." 

The Government and Political Affairs Committee of the Frederick Branch recently prepared a list of questions, listed below, for the candidates running for the Board of Education and the County Council.

We are calling for the establishment of a Suspension Review Panel that would review a proposed long-term out-of:school suspension of ethnic minority students, and make an advisory recommendation. The panel would include community members who are not employees of the Frederick County Public Schools, and may also include school staff and employees. The panel would necessarily consider alternatives to suspension and modes of intervention, and would not be precluded from concurring with the suspension recommendation. As such the Panel may indeed end up validating the proposed action. 
Please indicate whether you support the establishment of a Suspension Review Panel, and if not, the basis of your opposition to such a Panel.

I would support such Suspension Review Panel to take place on the condition it reviews all suspensions of all students (or lack thereof) as well as actions that were taken (or not taken) when infractions occurred anywhere on school property (school buildings, school athletic fields as well as transportation).  I say this as a mom of both biracial and Caucasian children. My daughter (biracial) recently received a lunchroom suspension when she had enough of a child (Black) who had constantly bullied her, and retaliated.  The other child received no disciplinary action for all the times he bullied her, but she, who is a straight A student, received the punishment.  However to place a moratorium on all suspensions sends the wrong message to the student body.  If such a moratorium were to occur, it would need to be for non-assault/non-drug related offenses.

The NAACP is calling for the establishment of a Minority Affairs Advisory Committee. That Committee would have jurisdiction to investigate and make recommendations regarding the foregoing issues, as well as other matters relating to minority students staff. The Board of Education currently has several standing committees, as authorized·by Section 4-112 of the Education Article of the Code of Maryland, in the areas of Special Education, Family Life, Career and Technology, etc.
Please indicate whether you support the establishment of a Minority Affairs Advisory Committee, and if not. the basis of your opposition to such a Committee.

I would be for a Minority Affairs Committee because I feel these allegations of racially motivated harassment of students by staff must not be overlooked anywhere and the proper disciplinary actions must take place.  However, what impact would such a committee have on the hiring and recruiting of Minority teachers and staff?  With salaries being what they are, as well as the various issues currently in the school system.  Many teachers, who are qualified, would make a greater salary in such counties as nearby Montgomery or Fairfax.  Alternatively, many just forgo teaching all together for a more lucrative Federal Government or private industry position.

However, I question your numbers of 39% African American student population.  According to FCPS the demographics are 16.5% Hispanic Latino, 12.1% Black/African-American, 5.4% Asian, and 5% that are more than one race.

Recently the Maryland legislature passed a law allowing tow (2) years of tuition free community college for most Marylanders. There is a means test that most families can meet. and the student must have maintained a 2.3 grade point average. We see that legislation as creating a window of opportunity for many struggling families and students who would not otherwise conceive of advanced education. 

Do you support an informational campaign by the Frederick County School System, or any other actions, top ensure that the $}dents and their parents are aware of this opportunity?

I would like to see a collaborative campaign with FCPS, FCC, other state government agencies as well as private industry and colleges promoting Tuition Free Community College.  I would especially like to see 4-year colleges promoting this since many have joint programs with FCC to offer reduced tuition to those who graduate FCC with a degree.


Marie Fischer-Wyrick
Candidate for Board of Education


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