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MD: Howard County Education Board Member Denied Access to Complaint Against Her

howardcountyThe Howard County, MD Board of Education passed a resolution disciplining one of their members for “sexual harassment” charges.

These charges stem from a June 11 conversation board member Cindy Vaillancourt was having with a number of adults in front of a youth. That conversation was about a local Giant grocery store carding students in order to buy condoms. Mrs. Vaillancourt said she was discussing how to put pressure on the store to keep them from checking identification so that local students wouldn’t have to face unwanted repercussions. There is no legal age restriction on condom purchases.

Vaillancourt asserts that teen access to condoms is part of Howard County curriculum and discussion of such should not be considered offensive. Vaillancourt suggests that the actions by the BOE are politically motivated because she is often the dissenting member.

Vaillancourt has never been allowed to see the complaint that was made against her, despite requesting it through legal counsel.

According to the Baltimore Sun, an investigation by the Howard County Office of Equity Assurance found that  Vaillancourt had violated county policy by “making a sexually offensive comment to a male student that was unwelcomed and inappropriate.”  The county notified Vaillancourt of its findings in August and suggested she seek counseling. 

Vaillancourt did not seek counseling, and on September 23, 2014, the board voted 6-0-1 to disapprove of her conduct and recommend she seek counseling.  Board member Sandie Fench recused herself from the vote because of chatter on social media that she engineered the resolution to improve her prospects in the November election.

The following exchange occurred between Vaillancourt and board chair, Ellen Flynn Giles, during the September 23, 2014 BOE meeting (at approximately at the 9:15 mark of the video below):

VAILLANCOURT: I believe I should get to see this filed action…this complaint that was filed

GILES: You have the same rights as any other member.

VAILLANCOURT: Then why do I not have it?

GILES: Because everybody doesn’t have a right to see actions that are filed by minors regardless of..

VAILLANCOURT: Everybody has a right to see the complaints that are filed against them.

 

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Jim Jamitis

Jim Jamitis is the editor of Front Line State www.frontlinestate.com and creative consultant at www.Forge5.com doing graphic design, web design, web and social media strategy, and video production.

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Categories: Education, Elections, Government Transparency, Must Read, Transparency, Uncategorized, Waste, Fraud and Abuse
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