To: Maryland School for the Deaf Meeting with Maryland State Subcommittee of the Budget and Taxation Committee; the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee; Dr.  Barbara Dezmon, State Education Chair for the Maryland State Conference NAACP; Mr. Willie Flowers, Howard County NAACP President

From: The Survivors of Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD)

Re: Follow up from the Senate Subcommittee meeting regarding systemic racism, elitism, abuse,
and abuse of power

Date: October 12, 2020

Dear Senators of the Senate and Taxation Committee,

The Survivors of Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD) would like to thank you for time to meet
with our group last week and hear our concerns of sustained and unconscionable egregious issues
at MSD.

Our group is respectfully asking what the next steps state representatives will take in this. process. The group is asking for a full investigation of the school’s administration, teachers,
coaches, hiring & firing practices etc.

We further ask that the following actions are taken immediately:

● Kevin Strachan to be terminated immediately. It was clear during the meeting on
10/8/20 that Kevin is biased and lacks understanding of the serious issues of racism and
elitism at the school. That he participates in and is a part of the culture of “isms” and
abuse at the school. It was evident in Mr. Strachan’s comments that as a tenured
administrator he is complicit in the toxic culture which exists at MSD.

● An injunction to suspend the search for a school superintendent and the state send in a
highly qualified interim superintendent, appointed by the state, until an investigation is
completed and effective interventions and a clear delineation of accountability to the state
are in place.

● An injunction to suspend the school’s ability to hire a Diversity Officer. We request that
Dr. Barbara Dezmon, and or Mr. Willie Flower who represents the NAACP, oversees the
hiring of a Diversity Officer, development of policies, and training and interventions
related to diversity at the school.

● James Tucker should not have received his retirement benefits due to his systemic
abuse of individuals, his leadership by tyranny, and his complacency on building a
culture of racism, and elitism at the school. It is unconscionable that the MSD Board of
Trustees knew that these issues were going public and permitted him to retire with full
state benefits. The BOT is complicit in not reporting this to the state.

● The MSD Board of Trustees should be dismantled and an interim board immediately put
in place to oversee the operations of the school.

The systemic abuse at MSD has been handed over to Kevin Strachan and others in
administration, a core group of teachers, coaches, and the personal office. The Effect of Abusive
Supervision by James Tucker, Kevin Strachan, Coaches, Human Resources, and others on
students and employees is staggering. It has created visible and invisible costs to all victims. As
you heard in the meeting many individuals sought out mental health care to deal with the
sustained abuse while others moved out of the state.

It is important to note that there are some great teachers and staff at MSD. Since these issues
have become public, they have privately shared their stories and have said they are fearful of
repercussions in coming forward.

In order to restore trust with the stakeholders at MSD, the school must have oversight by the State and the Board of Education. It was made clear that there is no oversight and those in power
have for decades been permitted to corrupt the fabric of the school. The school must have an
independent reporting structure to report incidents of abuse, bullying, elitism, and racism without
fear or intimidation.

Thank you again for your time and commitment to correct the wrong doings that have occurred at MSD for decades.

Warm regards,

Dr. Catherine M. Griswold
Jarlene Vilalobos
Maria Hourihan
Eric Woods
Sarah Rosen

A copy of this letter is available in PDF format.