UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - The entire ethics panel for Prince George’s County Public Schools has resigned effective Friday.
In a letter sent to PGCPS Board Chair Dr. Juanita Miller, the chair of the panel cites multiple reasons for the mass resignation including an investigation underway by the Md. Inspector General for Education.
The ethics panel came under fire last year after recommending that most of the elected members of the board be removed due to alleged misconduct.
Those findings were never made public, but they were anonymously sent to multiple elected leaders in the county.
The findings were disputed by the elected board members in question, who have proven the findings had a myriad of inaccuracies. No one was ultimately removed from the board.
Concerns about the ethics panel were brought to the attention of the state’s Inspector General for Education. While the office will neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation, a school board invoice obtained by FOX 5 shows a lawyer has assisted the ethics panel in responding to the inspector general’s office and mentions multiple subpoenas for documents.
Dr. Miller confirmed the school district is paying the legal fees of the ethics panel. The invoice FOX 5 obtained for the month of January is for $2,272.
Former school board member Raaheela Ahmed, who was among those elected board members recommended for removal, said the findings were based on lies.
"My last year on the school board was very difficult and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that there were several instances of seeing policy violations and people just feeling like they can do whatever it is they want to do," Ahmed said. "This is just another example of people doing whatever it is they want to do, and I’m just waiting for the time where folks are going to be held accountable for it."
In the resignation letter, the ethics panel cites additional reasons for resigning including a dysfunctional board, false accusations of document leaking and board members being uncooperative with their investigations.
"Their integrity is being impugned by certain board members," Miller said in a phone call Thursday.
FOX 5 attempted to reach Gregory Morton, Sr., chair of the ethics panel but did not hear back Thursday.
A former board staffer provided evidence that he is exploring a lawsuit against the board due to ethics panel activities and notified the board of this prior to the mass resignation.
Dr. Miller says the board is now urging people to apply to be part of the all-volunteer ethics panel.