PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. - School officials in Prince George's County addressed concerns about the safety of students Tuesday, following reports an elementary school aide allegedly molested four students on a school bus earlier this year. It's just one of a series of recent incidents related to student safety that have taken place in the county, leaving parents concerned about the well-being of their children.
In a news conference held Tuesday afternoon, Prince George's County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell spoke told reporters that the principal at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School has been placed on administrative leave after an allegation was made via email. Maxwell would not elaborate on what that allegation was about, but said that it has been sent to local officials. That principal is new to the school this school year.
During last school year, a former school aide from the same school, 22-year-old Deonte Carraway, was indicted on 270 child sex abuse and porn charges involving children.
Tuesday's news conference comes just one day after word of the investigation into a school aide's alleged molestation of four students on a bus. The alleged victims attended James Ryder Randall Elementary School in Clinton, Md. Investigators said that incident took place on May 24, but police weren't notified by Child Protective Services until June 20.
On Monday, a Prince George’s County Public Schools spokesperson said they could not give any details about the incident as this was a criminal investigation. But the spokesperson said two employees have been placed on administrative leave. Police said they are still investigating the accusation and no one has been charged at this time.
Prince George’s County Public Schools recently lost a $6.5 million federal grant that funded the county's Head Start program because of repeated allegations of Head Start teachers using harsh and unusual punishment on their students. In a federal report, teachers at James Ryder Randall Elementary School were cited for forcing children to hold heavy objects over their heads after they misbehaved during naptime.
Also on Monday, 20 students from Glenarden Woods Elementary School were evacuated from a school bus in College Park after a fire started near one of the rear wheels of the bus. The fire was captured on dash cam video by Prince George's County Fire & EMS crews. The fire is under investigation, and a cause has not yet been released.
Maxwell said Tuesday that the school system is grateful to the bus driver, who went back to the bus several times to make sure every student was safe. In fact, he said, the system needs every member of the school system to take as much care as that bus driver did on Monday.
“If you don't love children, you shouldn't be here. And I have said on numerous occasions and i will continue to say that when people do not conduct themselves to our high expectation, that if they do not love our children, and care for our children, and aren't here to protect our children and teach our children, they're not going to continue to work with us," Maxwell said after being asked about the issues that have taken place in recent months.
Watch the full news conference below: