Sources (see that S? plural?) confirm to us that there are multiple ongoing investigations into Montgomery County Public Schools involving superintendent Joshua Powell beyond what we’ve previously reported. Federal officials with the Office of Civil Rights and individuals with the state Education Professional Standards Board are investigating matters surrounding the employee Jim Dusso refused to target. Dusso was later fired, as you’ve read about repeatedly, but reinstated less than two weeks ago after lawyers and investigators got involved. But this matter is separate from Dusso’s.
The employee was being targeted because Powell wrongly suspected them of filing a Title IX complaint last summer and he decided to retaliate. They didn’t file it, we’ve seen the complaint. How we know Powell suspected them: he mentioned it during meetings in December and January. Several people were present during those meetings — one of them being Dusso. All of those present have been interviewed by investigators. As we have reported on several occasions, Powell wanted a record of negative evaluations to substantiate not renewing the employee’s contract/employment. Powell just didn’t anticipate Dusso standing up and revealing everything.
When that didn’t stick, he turned to those around the teacher.
Unfortunately for Powell, he could be in hot water for this latest bit of retaliation. Some specifics from 34 C.F.R. 106.71, incorporating 100.7(e):
Intimidatory or retaliatory acts prohibited. No recipient or other person shall intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by section 601 of the Act or this part, or because he has made a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under this part. The identity of complainants shall be kept confidential except to the extent necessary to carry out the purposes of this part, including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding arising thereunder.
Based on what we hear, this particular matter will not be settled.
In addition to Powell, we’ve also confirmed that a bevy of Montgomery County Schools employees will eventually be named in investigative reports. Many of them have been repeatedly mentioned in scandalous stories here on Page One.
If the EPSB or OCR rule against the district, that means back pay, lost wages, benefits, fees paid to attorneys, et al could come from Powell’s (the district’s) pocket.