Friday, August 19, 2016

Ball in Your Court, HoCoGov

The turnaround in the local press concerning mold in Howard County Schools has been breathtaking. We went from results of the County's independent investigation one week to an article discrediting the same report based solely on the say-so of an HCPSS contractor.

My, that was fast.

What does the firm that completed the independent investigation think of this?

"Skelly and Loy Inc. representatives denied a request for an interview, stating they could only release information approved by Howard County Public Schools."

Wait, what?

Let's review the basics:

  • Parents experience loss of confidence in how HCPSS is handling the mold issue.
  • They ask for an independent investigation.
  • Howard County Government responds to constituents and makes this possible.
  • Report is released, showing mold in schools.
  • School system hires their own contractor who discredits the independent report.
  • Firm who completed the independent investigation at the behest of hocogov is not permitted to speak to the press without HCPSS approval.

What happened to the independent part of this?

If HCPSS had difficulty understanding the County Report, they should have asked the County to complete the process by hiring an independent industrial hygienist to interpret the results. Or the County themselves should have volunteered to do so. Parents, who already had no confidence in how the school system was handling a serious health issue, are witnessing the complete circumventing of the County's mission to respond to their concerns.

Let me say that again: if the school system had responded to parents about mold in the schools in a way that showed transparency and accountability, we would not be where we are today. So why should community members accept the word of a school system-hired analyst?

They shouldn't. Nor should Howard County Government.


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