MSD Protest

About a dozen parents and alumni from Maryland School for the Deaf protested Friday afternoon in front of the Frederick campus.

Typical protests in downtown Frederick the last couple of months have featured many chants and calls for action.

Friday afternoon, however, was different. That’s because the dozen or so parents and alumni of Maryland School for the Deaf were protesting on Clarke Place — in front of the school’s Frederick campus. They were waving signs calling for Maryland School for the Deaf Superintendent James Tucker to be fired because they believe he created a toxic environment at the school.

Some cars that drove by during the first half-hour of the march honked in support, the loudest sounds heard during the hours-long protest. One stopped as its driver appeared to sign in support of the protesters.

Protesters marched from near one of the school’s administrative buildings on Clarke Place to the corner of that street and Market Street before proceeding to City Hall and then coming back to the corner.

Catrina Register, who graduated from the school in 2013, said Tucker may have already announced his retirement, but his actions and failure to promote a safe environment should have led to him being fired.

“Tucker did a lot of damage to us,” Register said through Reyes Hourihan, an interpreter. “We want him held responsible [for his actions].”

“We don’t want him to get away with it,” she added, noting other students at the school could be harmed if the culture he created continues.

Favoritism of some students at the school is also an issue, Register said.

The Maryland School for the Deaf provides a public education for the deaf and hard-of-hearing residents from birth until 21. Most students start at a campus in Columbia before transferring to the high school campus in Frederick.

George Ketcham has two sons at the school: Kieran, 14, and Aidan, 12. Ketcham was also concerned about elitism at the school, saying it has created a bad culture.

Alumni and parents at the protest Friday presented a list of demands for school officials, similar to a letter submitted to the school’s board of trustees earlier this month. Some of the demands included an end to elitism and racism at the school, to hire more people of color and to fire Tucker. The demands also entreated the school’s Board of Trustees to listen to parent and alumni concerns.

Hourihan and other protesters said the school was putting some special needs students into tight quarters in a building on the east side of South Carroll Street near Clarke Place, versus one of the larger administrative buildings between South Market and Carroll streets.

Tucker announced he would retire Sept. 4, The Frederick News-Post previously reported. The school’s board of trustees will appoint an interim superintendent.

Robert Davila, chairman of the board of trustees, did not respond to a request for comment via email Friday evening.

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(11) comments

Jarlenev

Naysayers... Please read this article and sink in. http://deafvee.org/2020/08/30/systemic-failures-maryland-school-for-the-deaf/?fbclid=IwAR3QbSZXSYz01v0w8Uw7V2LGBWff1B7TRga_yX_e20LDP0Ug9LRIDZcvp2I

Berryman

protest will fall on deaf ears. They should worry more about their curriculum instead of institutional elitism.

NewMarketParent

@Berryman

Isn't "all of the above" a sufficient answer these days? Despite popular opinion, many people can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time.

bosco

"fall on deaf ears"????? Oh, that's bad. [ninja]

Jarlenev

We are not done and we have plans. Institutional elitism is the reason for the curriculum to be failed. Thank you.

Jarlenev

Naysayers... Please read this article and sink in. http://deafvee.org/2020/08/30/systemic-failures-maryland-school-for-the-deaf/?fbclid=IwAR3QbSZXSYz01v0w8Uw7V2LGBWff1B7TRga_yX_e20LDP0Ug9LRIDZcvp2I

DickD

All of this rhetoric and the only claim is favoritism? And previous articles claims that it was going on for 27 years? If it was, why wait until the man announced his retirement? One person claimed people are reticent to complain. Really? And now they are getting hysterical?

NewMarketParent

@DickD

Let me say it again. We as a population are a very "victim-blamey" society. That makes it very difficult for people to stand up.

You take that and couple it with it sometimes taking years to figure out and understand that what was happening to you was some sort of slight.

Not to be hyperbolic, but there are people who grow up in abusive households all the time and don't realize the toxicity of their homes until well into adulthood.

Jarlenev

Naysayers... Please read this article and sink in. http://deafvee.org/2020/08/30/systemic-failures-maryland-school-for-the-deaf/?fbclid=IwAR3QbSZXSYz01v0w8Uw7V2LGBWff1B7TRga_yX_e20LDP0Ug9LRIDZcvp2I

Aperiodic.Moralist1

I look forward to seeing a similar scene in front of the FCPS central office calling for Useless Alban to resign.

NewMarketParent

@Aperiodic.Moralist1

I can't wait for that day.

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