The longtime superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools in Maryland, Dr. Terry Alban, is on administrative leave.
The change in her status comes after the school district reached a settlement following a Justice Department investigation into the school system’s mistreatment of students with disabilities.
Just one week after the Justice Department made public its finding and the resulting settlement into “pervasive misuse of seclusion and restraint practices against students with disabilities,” Alban’s administrative leave is effective Dec. 8.
The office of the United States Attorney for Maryland and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement last week that “the school district unnecessarily and repeatedly secluded and restrained students as young as 5 years old in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
The decision to place Alban on leave comes after the Board of Education held a closed session Tuesday evening over a personnel issue, but Dr. Eric Louers-Phillips, with Frederick County schools, said the board did not expressly link the superintendent’s change in status to the settlement.
Alban has served in the role for 11 years. Dr. Michael Markoe will step into the superintendent role on an acting basis, Louers-Phillips said. An interim assignment would suggest that he would be in the position longer. However, it is unclear when or if Alban will return. Her contract is scheduled to expire in 2023.
(EDITOR’S NOTE Dec. 9, 2021 1:23 p.m.: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled the interim superintendent’s name. This story has been updated.)