Last month, a temporary worker at Hazelwood Elementary/Middle School in Northeast Baltimore was charged with sexual abuse of a minor. Some months prior, Baltimore’s teachers union complained that temporary employees were filling union jobs. And now, the city school system is not only reevaluating its vetting process, but plans to fire many temporary employees by Friday.
Ever since the always controversial city schools CEO Andres Alonso handed more power to principals to budget and staff their schools, the system has nearly doubled the number of temporary employees on its payroll. And the majority of temporary employees who worked in schools this year performed duties “that overlapped in some way with union-bargained jobs.” It strikes me as an awful time to finally let these employees go, but what do I know?
This policy of “autonomy” is implicated in the sex abuse issue as well, as under the current system the vetting of employees falls solely on the principals. Shawn Nowlin, 27, represented himself as a social worker, a family therapist, and a doctor, though he is not licensed in Maryland in any of those capacities. The ruse got him jobs within the school with names like “life skills education facilitator” and overseer of “partnership coordination.” The alleged victim of his sexual abuse, a teenager who lived with him, was put under his guardianship because the teen’s parents thought he was a doctor.
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