Maryland Public Employees AFSCME Council 67, AFL-CIO, opposes the creation of the Fresh Start Academy. Additionally, Charles County Public Schools Superintendent Kimberly Hill’s decision to develop an advisory board and include AFSCME without prior consultation was blindsiding and manipulative.

The proposed Fresh Start Academy promotes segregation and inequity in school for pre-K to second-graders who are branded by the superintendent as children with “behavioral challenges.” Besides being unconstitutional and a violation of state and federal law against education segregation and expulsion of children during their early childhood development, it is simply bad public policy. The segregation of our youngest students is developmentally inappropriate and violates the civil rights of children as young as 4 years old.

Approximately 100 Charles County residents, including AFSCME members and representatives, teachers, school principals and Maryland General Assembly members, attended a public hearing and expressed their concerns. These citizens expressed that a better use of the proposed $450,000 would be to provide better training and support for school personnel. However, Superintendent Hill seemed to be unreceptive to the feedback.

AFSCME Council 67 members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in hundreds of different occupations — from nurses to corrections officers, child care providers to sanitation workers — AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.

AFSCME stands in solidarity with other Charles County advocacy groups, like the NAACP and the ACLU, in opposing the creation of the proposed Fresh Start Academy.