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New court docs in the University of Maryland trial details graphic accounts of fraternity hazing

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New court docs in the University of Maryland trial details graphic accounts of fraternity hazing


COLLEGE PARK, Md. — New court documents released Friday detail some of the alleged hazing at the University of Maryland’s Greek life. This comes directly after the university lifted its temporary pause on 32 Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Council (PHA) chapters.

Although 32 chapters have been cleared to return to normal activities, five fraternity chapters still remain under investigation. According to the university’s letter sent Friday, these chapters will stay under limited restrictions based on evidence that the incidents threatened the health and safety of the campus community.

MORE INFO: Suspension lifted: 32 IFC and PHA chapters cleared for normal activities at UMD

Inside court document filed by the Attorney General’s Office, members of at least eight fraternities reported that new members had been subjected to humiliation tactics ranging from physical assault to being forced to consume alcohol.

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In the brief, one anonymous report to the university’s Office of Student Conduct details one member suffering physical abuse for five hours straight during a “Line Up,” where new members are assaulted, forced into doing physical activity such as wall sits, planks, and push-ups, intentionally harm themselves, and be undressed for public humiliation.

The same email also alleges multiple unidentified fraternities engaging in hazing activities that include new members being burned with cigarettes and torches, laying on nails, and being “forced to consume things that are not food,” such as live fish, chewing tobacco, and urine.

In the same court filings, Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown acknowledged that the university’s removal of the suspension on fraternity and sorority activities rendered the case moot.

READ MORE: Students to file for temporary restraining order against UMD administrators amid Greek Life activity ban

Brown further explains that “the University was fully authorized pursuant to its Code of Student Conduct to impose limited, temporary restrictions on some chapter activities while it investigated serious and persistent allegations of hazing and alcohol abuse at multiple chapters.”

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A hearing will be held on March 18 for the temporary restraining order brought by University of Maryland fraternities and their members against top school administrators.





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Carey Wright will continue to lead Maryland schools, state board announces

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Carey Wright will continue to lead Maryland schools, state board announces


The Maryland State Board of Education on Wednesday appointed Carey Wright, a former Mississippi schools chief who started her career in the D.C. region, to serve as the next state superintendent of schools.

Wright, the current interim state superintendent, will be charged with steering the department of education as it implements the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, a landmark education law that funnels billions into public schools in hopes of making the state’s education system one of the best in the nation.

“Growing up in Maryland and spending a majority of my career in Maryland, I knew how good our schools were, and I also know how much better we can be,” Wright said after the vote.

In Maryland, the State Board of Education hires the superintendent, and the governor appoints members to that board. Gov. Wes Moore (D) has so far appointed six people to the 14-member board. Wright was unanimously approved by the state board members present; one member was absent.

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Wright was named interim state superintendent in October, after former state superintendent of schools Mohammed Choudhury lost support from the board.

An investigation by The Washington Post last year found that several former staffers alleged that Choudhury created a “toxic” work environment that drove out his former lieutenants and dozens of veterans in the education agency. Former employees alleged that he had a pattern of micromanagement that held up important work, and several district leaders quietly expressed confusion about the Blueprintand other guidance from the department. Choudhury said the former employees could not embrace change.

Since Choudhury’s departure, Wright has been guiding the state’s education department, which oversees 24 school districts with about 890,000 students enrolled. She was tasked by the state board with developing a literacy policy that would incorporate more elements of the “science of reading,” a methodology that places an emphasis on phonics while teaching kids how to read. The board set a goal of getting Maryland to place among the top 10 states in reading on the fourth- and eighth-grade National Assessment for Educational Progress, or NAEP — a standardized test sometimes called “the gold standard” of student assessment — by 2027.

The state ranked 40th in the nation in fourth grade reading on the most recent NAEP assessment. It ranked 25th for eighth graders.

Wright has had success boosting performance. She is known in the education world as the Mississippi superintendent who raised student reading and math performance in a state that for decades received low scores on the NAEP.

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Wright is a homegrown Maryland educator. She started her career in Prince George’s County Public Schools — the state’s second largest school system. She also served stints within the Howard and Montgomery county school systems, before becoming the chief academic officer and deputy chief for the D.C. Public Schools’ Office of Teaching and Learning.

In 2013, she was named Mississippi’s state superintendent of education. She retired from that post in 2022.

She will start her four-year term in Maryland on July 1.

This story will be updated.



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Officer Who Died In I-695 Crash Was Off-Duty: Police

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Officer Who Died In I-695 Crash Was Off-Duty: Police


BALTIMORE COUNTY, MD — The police officer who died this weekend in an Interstate 695 crash was off-duty, Patch confirmed Wednesday.

The Maryland State Police identified the victim as 36-year-old Anthony Gregory Ward of Rosedale.

The Baltimore Police Department said Ward was an active member of the city’s SWAT unit.

Find out what’s happening in Perry Hallwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

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“This is a terrible loss for Officer Ward’s family, his team members and the Baltimore Police Department on the whole,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley said in a press release. “My heart goes out to his loved ones. The Department extends its support and sympathies to them at this time.”

Find out what’s happening in Perry Hallwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

State police said the fatal crash happened Saturday around 4:30 p.m. on the inner loop of I-695 before the Jones Falls Expressway.

Troopers said Ward was driving a 2023 GMC Savana van when he changed lanes and ran into the back of a 1989 Ford tow truck.

Medics pronounced Ward dead at the scene, state police said.

“Our deepest condolences to the family, friends, colleagues, and the entire community mourning the loss of BPD’s SWAT member, Officer Anthony Ward,” the Baltimore Police Department said on Facebook. “May he rest in peace, and may the memories he’s created with his loved ones be eternal.”

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This map shows the area where troopers said the crash happened.


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To request removal of your name from an arrest report, submit these required items to arrestreports@patch.com.



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Maryland’s education mandate is a blueprint for disaster; dangers of tianeptine | READER COMMENTARY

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Maryland’s education mandate is a blueprint for disaster;  dangers of tianeptine | READER COMMENTARY


Education mandate is blueprint for disaster

Recent polling indicates a broad-based endorsement of Maryland’s Blueprint for the Future, but beneath the surface, questions and concerns about this ambitious plan are mounting.

The Blueprint, designed to revamp Maryland’s education system, holds appeal in its promise to improve public education. The issue, however, isn’t with the idea of better education; who doesn’t want that? The real problem is with the Blueprint’s high cost and inadequate funding structure, leaving taxpayers and county governments grappling with how to foot the bill.

Gov. Larry Hogan’s initial veto of the Blueprint, which was overridden, foreshadowed the fiscal challenges we’re seeing today. With a Maryland General Assembly session that ended without substantial action to address these concerns, the looming question remains: How will we pay for the Blueprint? This is a question that state legislators and policymakers have yet to satisfactorily answer.

The Blueprint’s financial burden is being transferred to counties, which are forced to make cuts to crucial programs to meet the new mandates. In Harford County, this translates to reduced funding for safety and security, special education, magnet schools, class sizes, world languages, arts and music, athletics, and extracurricular activities. Harford County is not alone. Counties across Maryland are struggling to maintain these cherished education programs as limited resources are redirected to support Blueprint initiatives.

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A fiscal briefing released in January by the state Department of Legislative Services paints a stark picture. It predicts that Maryland will confront a structural deficit commencing in fiscal 2025, which will skyrocket to nearly $2.93 billion by 2029. This aligns with the projected cost of implementing the Blueprint, which is set to surpass $4 billion by 2029. Maryland’s ranking of 46th in the 2023 State Business Tax Climate Index underscores the severe repercussions of raising taxes to meet these demands. Further tax hikes potentially could drive both businesses and residents out of the state, exacerbating the financial predicament.

The Blueprint is an unfunded mandate that strips local boards of education of their autonomy, imposing a one-size-fits-all approach to education that doesn’t consider the unique needs of different counties. It also risks bankrupting local governments and undercuts community-driven initiatives that could offer more tailored solutions to educational challenges.

As much as we all desire to enhance public education, the Blueprint in its current form is not the solution. It jeopardizes the very essence of local control and poses a significant financial threat to the state’s future. Maryland legislators must scrutinize this plan and strive to restore control to local boards of education. Otherwise, we will confront a much graver crisis in the future, with irreversible harm to both our education system and our economy. It’s high time for Annapolis to reevaluate and devise a blueprint that is sustainable, adaptable, and respects local governance.

— Aaron Poynton

Poynton is the president of the Harford County Board of Education. The opinions expressed here are personal and don’t necessarily represent the views of the board or Harford County Public Schools.

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Dangers of tianeptine

“They’re selling that stuff at the smoke shop near us,” Bryan, my coworker said. “I’ve been told it’s highly addictive, causes seizures and many bad side effects, and overdoses, even death.”

Bryan taught me about tianeptine.  Marketed as a dietary supplement and energy drink (which means the federal Food & Drug Administration can’t regulate its sales), it’s sold in smoke shops, convenience stores, gas stations, and online right here in Harford County. Brand names include Za Za, Neptune’s Fix, Pegasus, Tianna Red, White Magic, and at least a half dozen others.  It’s sold in fancy flavors with appealing colors.

Outlawed in Florida, Ohio, Michigan and six other states, tianeptine pills and liquids are sold in Maryland.  There’s no age restriction to purchase, no health warnings on the labels and no warning signs at stores where it’s sold — often in boxes of 12 bottles each.

The FDA has issued alerts and press releases warning about the dangers of tianeptine.  Poison centers in many states report a dramatic increase in the number of calls from users and families about the life-threatening incidents of its use.

I purchased a 15-capsule bottle of Za Za in Aberdeen.  It cost $32.  A .338 fluid ounce of Neptune’s Fix costs $19.  Like most addictive substances, the more a person uses, the more tolerance he develops and has to use more the next time.

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The encouraging news is that two of our delegates — Teresa Reilly and Steve Johnson — co-sponsored H.B. 1230, the “Tianeptine Consumer Protection Act.”  It passed the House and Senate and now awaits Gov. Wes Moore’s signature.

Our county and city councils, health departments, and all policymakers should consider immediate action to ban or restrict the sale of any tianeptine products.

— Don Mathis, Havre de Grace

Mathis is a certified peer recovery specialist at Voices of Hope in Aberdeen



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