By Ovetta Wiggins,
Apr 14, 2013 10:44 PM EDT
The Washington Post Published: April 14
A Prince George’s County Circuit Court jury has awarded $90 million to the family of a 13-year-old girl who died four years ago after she was struck by a car while trying to catch a school bus. The family of Ashley Davis, who was a freshman at Crossland High School, sued the Prince George’s County Board of Education after she succumbed to her injuries two weeks after the Sept. 1, 2009, crash. A six-member jury handed down the wrongful-death verdict — one of the largest in the court’s history — this month. Read more ~~>Jury awards $90 million in Prince George’s County wrongful-death case
Prince George’s County Government leaders in 2009 school year when this incident happened:
County Executive: Jack B. Johnson
Board of Education Chairperson: Verjeana M. Jacobs.
Superintendent of School /CEO: Dr. William Hite Jr.
These are some of the issues Reform Sasscer Movement has been trying to have the Board of Education (BOE) members see clearly and fix without success. The amount involved here is not the issue. It will take care of itself. It always does. The real concern is a wonderful, innocent child died, who would have been 17 and a Sr. in High school this year. This family lost a very much loved member of their family; and others lost a very cherished friend. Quite possibly the world lost a future scientist with the cure for cancer, a doctor who perhaps would have saved your grandchild’s life one day!
However, the open discussion this case has triggered is a healthy start to perhaps changing policy to prevent this from ever happing again to our school aged children that must take public transportation to get to school. It’s unfortunate that this had to happen, but the bigger tragedy is it took a jury hitting the PG County school board upside the head with a 2 x 4 before anyone would take notice and even have a discussion on this matter. The corrupt and inept PG County School Board is only costing its residents more money. Surely, the arrogant BOE lawyers could have settled this case a long time ago, but they chose to drag it for their own selfish motives after being rewarded $5million “No bid” contract.
No amount of money…no amount of time passing will make that heartache go away. The only way to get some folks attention and force change is to show them how outlandishly dilapidated they were in their duties. This PGCPS transportation system has been in dire need of an overhaul for a long time. It is very sad but some of the bus drivers are involved in childish political games within the system. When The WaPo printed a story about a 5 year old who was put on the wrong bus, then dropped off in the middle of nowhere and left to fend for herself, there was little outrage. When there is little outrage, there is little inspiration or motivation to make improvements. It’s not about the money as we said before. The jury send a message. Now, perhaps the Prince George’s County District school system needs an overhaul. They now have about $90 million reasons to get motivated to fix what is very much broken.
Many thanks to the eight jurors for their selfless service to the county and its citizens on this case; and for the tough decision they had to make as well. We are sure it was not easy having to sit and listen to a testimony in such a landmark case for the county, or the nation for this matter. Urgent action will be required to address various issues currently affecting children, employees and families at Sasscer (PGCPS HQ). We are sure much progress will be made once the new BOE Chairperson and Superintendent comes on board. (See Highlights of HB1170 signed by Governor O’Malley)
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi”