Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet Davitt speaks to the media after the guilty plea of former Baltimore County schools leader Dallas Dance.
As a retired employee of the Baltimore County Public Schools and a resident of the county, I am writing to express outrage with the confessed illegal behaviors of former Superintendent of Schools Dallas Dance and a minor official, Robert Barrett. Both have entered guilty pleas in the court system (“Dallas Dance and the loss of trust,” March 9).
I attended Randallstown School and Catonsville High School. I am grateful for the outstanding education I was offered by superb teachers who taught a locally-developed curriculum that was nationally recognized.
The Baltimore County school system was viewed as being scandal free for 170 years until Messrs. Dance and Barrett temporarily besmirched this reputation and violated the trust the Board of Education placed in them to continue to improve the educational programs for girls and boys. This disgraceful behavior was an affront to thousands of past and present students, teachers and other employees, school board members, PTA members and other stakeholders of BCPS.
I use the term “temporarily besmirched” with strong purpose because the present students, teachers and other employees, school board, PTA members, and other stakeholders will quickly restore the system’s reputation. It is a pity that they must go through this undeserved endeavor.
In 1985, the staff developed and the Board of Education adopted the “Precepts, Beliefs, and Values of the Baltimore County Public Schools.” I am sitting in my den beneath a framed enlargement of this document as I write this lament. Copies of this statement of our expected behavior were distributed and discussed throughout the system. Many framed copies are still proudly displayed in schools and offices.
The school system was called squeaky clean because honesty and integrity were absolutely expected of all stakeholders. Employees were expected to buy stamps for personal mail and knew, for example, not to accept a ticket to a bull roast or ball game from vendors.
Now we suffer hurt and embarrassment from the misdeeds of these two men. Shame on them.