Attorney Nicholas Braswell practices criminal defense in Virginia, representing clients on cases ranging from drug charges to reckless driving.
On Tuesday, Sept. 13, the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington filed a lawsuit against the District of Columbia and the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). They did this because the OSSE has policies that allow the random drug testing of preschool teachers in private schools. The Association, which is a nonprofit organization that consists of 75 regional private schools, believes that the OSSE’s drug testing policies are in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment and are violating the preschool teacher’s right to privacy.
The OSSE has directly acknowledged that they do in fact call for the random drug testing of preschool teachers at private schools. They maintain that this is an attempt to keep the children of D.C. safe and that they are only doing their jobs by enforcing city policies.
The city law is called the Child and Youth, Safety and Health Omnibus Amendment Act of 2004 (CYSHA). It requires private organizations licensed by the city government to mandate drug and alcohol testing for people who work in “safety-sensitive positions.” The OSSE clearly believes that preschool teachers fall under the category of people who work in “safety-sensitive positions.” However, many private school organizations and civil liberty groups say that the OSSE’s interpretation of the law is not as clear cut as they would like to think.
There was a decision in a similar case where the judge ruled that the OSSE’s drug testing procedures were problematic and needed to be revised. The attorneys representing the private schools made the argument in the suit that the OSSE has made no attempts to change its policies since the last decision.
The rule also exposes a few hypocritical stances taken by the city government. For instance, even though the use of marijuana is legal in the District, the city can still ban its employees from using the substance. The city also does not force public school teachers or teachers at charter schools to endure random drug testing like they do at private schools.
Civil liberty proponents also believe that the drug and alcohol testing mandate has no connection to actual on-the-job impairment and because of this fact it violates the employee’s rights without good cause. They also assert that the costs of running these programs puts private preschools at a disadvantage when they try and compete with public and charter schools.
It appears that the city has not gotten the message that the war on drugs is considered to be a huge failure. Normal drug testing for a teaching position would work just fine. If they were serious about the safety of their students, then they would have random drug testing at public and charter preschools as well. There is also no evidence that cannabis users make worse teachers than non-cannabis users. The city apparently seems to be applying age-old beliefs in a modern world and that is most certainly a recipe for disaster.
Borderstan contributor and law firm sponsor Price Benowitz LLP. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author — our contributor and law firm sponsor Price Benowitz LLP — and do not necessarily reflect the views of Borderstan.
A Mount Pleasant coffee shop has shut down temporarily for a new coat of paint and other improvements.
Flying Fish Coffee and Tea at 3064 Mount Pleasant St. NW closed yesterday and is slated to reopen tomorrow, after the completion of the shop’s first makeover since it opened in 2011.
“It’s time to freshen up a little bit,” owner Michael Visser told Borderstan yesterday afternoon.
In addition to new paint, the coffeehouse will get some new furniture and equipment that is intended to help workers cook up breakfast sandwiches quicker.
On Mondays starting next week, Flying Fish also is slated to have pastries from Republic Kolache.
The eatery at 606 Florida Ave. NW has applied to start serving alcohol, according to a recent filing with D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).
A Rito Loco employee said the restaurant will likely serve beer and margaritas but added that the drink menu was not yet finalized.
The burrito-centric restaurant born out of a food truck is also seeking to serve booze in an outdoor seating area and offer live entertainment, the application notice says:
Restaurant serving Mexican food with seating for 49 and a Total Occupancy Load of 49. Applicant has also requested an Entertainment Endorsement and a Summer Garden with 47 seats.
Rito Loco’s menu includes burritos, tacos and rice bowls with beef, chicken, seafood and eggs.
Photo via Twitter / Rito Loco
D.C. Puts Out Video From Police-Involved Shooting Near Shaw — District officials yesterday released video from a cop’s body camera that captured the aftermath of the fatal police-involved shooting of Terrence Sterling near 3rd and M streets NW earlier this month. Officer Brian Trainer, 27, shot Sterling after the 31-year-old man drove a motorcycle into a police car. [NBC Washington]
Planned Parenthood Opens Near Union Market — The District’s only Planned Parenthood location is now open at 1225 4th St. NE. [Washington Post]
Chinatown’s Chinese Residents Win Court Battle With Developer — Some of the last remaining Chinese residents in Chinatown have won a court victory that allows them to stay in their apartments for now. [Washington Post]
Mediterranean Eatery to Open on H Street This Fall — Sospeso is slated to open at 1344 H St. NE this fall with food from southern Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa. [District Cuisine]
A plan to begin construction on a new streetscape project along the 14th Street corridor has been delayed until next spring, according to District officials.
The District Department of Transportation originally planned to break ground this coming December on a new streetscape project that would span 14th Street NW from Thomas Circle to Florida Avenue. As planned, the project includes new “bulb-outs” that would let buses pick up passengers without pulling out of traffic, “cut-through” bike lanes, new crosswalks, street lights, bike racks and benches, among other improvements.
The purpose of the streetscape project is to increase multi-modal and pedestrian safety, comply with ADA standards and add new character to the corridor, according to DDOT. But crews won’t break ground on those new improvements and safety features until at least next spring, said DDOT project manager Rick Kenney today.
“We are presently delayed in receiving DC Water’s final plans, which has pushed our tentative start date to late spring of 2017,” Kenney said.
DC Water, which plans to switch service over to a new water main and install some new valves as part of the project, will finish its reviews and approve the final designs this week, according to agency spokesman John Lisle.
Once the work begins, DDOT estimates it will take about a year to complete.
A man talking on his cellphone lost the device and some of his other belongings to thieves with a gun in Columbia Heights early yesterday morning, police said.
The armed robbery occurred on the 1400 block of Columbia Road NW about 4 a.m. Monday.
The victim was walking in the area when three people drove up to him in a black or gray four-door Nissan car, according to authorities. Two of the individuals then hopped out of the car and went up to the victim.
Shaw resident Andre McCain’s plans to build a U.S. restaurant empire are set to go into motion next week with the opening of a fast-casual, sausage-centric eatery in the neighborhood.
HalfSmoke is slated to open at 651 Florida Ave. NW a week from today, Oct. 4, with a focus on gourmet half-smokes, bratwursts, veggie dogs and other sausages, dressed how customers want them for $7-$10. McCain said he intends to use the restaurant as a prototype for other HalfSmokes across the country.
“The goal is to become America’s preeminent brand in terms of sausages,” he told Borderstan yesterday.
But HalfSmoke isn’t just about grilled tubes of meat.
The restaurant will serve cocktails, boozy milkshakes and more than 20 beers, as well as sugar cane soda, house-made lemonade and cold brew coffee. It also will have free games, a photo booth and a foosball table that is near a light display that says, “Don’t grow up it’s a trap.”
McCain said he’s looking to establish a “community gathering place” at the restaurant, which has seating for 100 diners inside and 50 customers outside.
“The goal is to create a place where everyone can hang out,” he said.
HalfSmoke only is slated to serve dinner and late-night customers for its first two weeks. The restaurant will open at 4 p.m. and close at 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 2 a.m. on the weekends for now.
Eventually, the eatery is expected to open every day at 11 a.m.
The popular eatery announced today it has plans to sling burgers, fries and shakes at 1400 14th St. NW. The new location “will be right in the heart of the city, steps from historic Logan Circle,” according to a press release.
The forthcoming restaurant will also have a large outdoor seating area with picnic tables and plants, the release notes. Inside, the eatery will feature a “ceiling that is inspired by the distinctive street grid that radiates from the nation’s capital.”
If all goes according to plan, the Shake Shack would open in 2017.
More information from the press release:
The mayor visited the neighborhood to launch a week-long project to repair broken street lights in all eight of the city’s wards.
“We have about 70,000 street lights,” Bowser said, pointing to a broken street light at the intersection of 12th and Euclid streets NW. “As you can see, this one should be on, but it’s not on. Across the city, at any given time, we could have scads of these lights out.”
Some locals in Ward 1 have recently written to Borderstan to report street light outages.
“Several of us have contacted DC 311 and also Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, but the street lights are still out,” wrote one reader in August. “This is a critical issue for us — we park our cars there.”
Under the mayor’s new initiative, city employees will repair broken street lights in the areas where locals have most frequently reported them.
Bowser also announced last night a pilot program called “Text to DC311,” where District residents can text the words “street light” to DC311 to report a broken street light.
More information in a press release from the Mayor’s Office:
Cusbah on H Street to Stay Open — Indian-Pakistani restaurant Cusbah won’t close after winning a battle in court against its landlord who tried to evict the eatery from 1128 H St. NE. [Frozen Tropics]
Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square Closes Due to Mold — The Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square and the Historical Society of Washington, which is inside the building, are closed until further notice as workers clean up mold. [Washington Post]
Columbia Heights Escalators Expected to Work Again Next Month –– The Columbia Heights Metro station’s east entrance escalators are expected to go in operation again in October after about six months of work. [Park View, D.C.]
Logan Circle, Bloomingdale Restaurants Get New Chefs — The Pig (1320 14th St. NW) has picked up Nuvee Netayavichitr as its new chef de cuisine. Ben Schramm is the new chef at The Pub & the People (1648 North Capitol St. NW). [Eater DC]
A man sexually assaulted a girl in a Columbia Heights store over the weekend, police said last night.
The attack happened on the 3100 block of 14th Street NW about 4 p.m. Sunday.
Authorities didn’t immediately identify the shop on that block. But the area has several businesses, many of which are in the DC USA retail development.
The man trailed the kid into the unnamed store and offered her gum, according to authorities. He then got a hold of the girl and sexually assaulted her.
Adrian Rendon, a 46-year-old Northwest D.C. resident, was arrested in connection with the assault and charged with second degree child sexual abuse Sunday, police said. James King, Rendon’s lawyer, declined to comment.
The suspect might have links to more crimes than just the sexual assault, according to authorities. Police are asking for information from anyone who may have been a victim of the suspect.
Anyone who has information regarding this case or additional cases should call police at 202-727-9099. Additionally, information may be submitted to the TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411. DC Crime Solvers currently offers a reward of up to $1,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and indictment of the person or persons responsible for an assault committed in the District of Columbia.
Borderstan Blueprint is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead across D.C. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out our event submission form.
For more events, be sure to check out our event calendar.
Fall Flavors Cooking Class with From the Farmer
YMCA Anthony Bowen (1325 W St. NW)
Students can learn to make fall foods such as “an all natural pumpkin spice latte” during this cooking class. Tickets are $25 for YMCA and From the Farmer members and $35 for everyone else.
Banned Books Panel
Busboys and Poets (2021 14th St. NW)
Deb Heard, executive director of the Hurston/Wright Foundation and a former editor of the Washington Post Style page and Dana Williams, professor of African American literature and chair of the English department at Howard University, are scheduled talk about diversity, censorship and supporting authors in need of help.
The Big Hunt (1345 Connecticut Ave. NW)
Comedian Carlos Anthony will bring his stand-up act to the Big Hunt. Admission is free.
Funk and Fire Fundraiser
Old City Farm & Guild (925 Rhode Island Ave. NW)
Old City Farm and Guild will host Kung-Fu Lion Dancers and fire performers to raise money for a dance group to put on the first-ever, first full-length flow arts show in the District. Admission is $10.
Podcast Culture Presents: #PodcastDay Happy Hour 2016
Sudhouse (1340 U St. NW)
Sudhouse will celebrate Podcast Day with music, drinks and podcast trivia. Podcast hosts Cerrome Russell from the “Bad Advice Show” and Nicaila Matthews from “SideHustlePro” will run the party. Tickets are $20, which includes one drink ticket and podcast swag.
Adams Morgan (various locations)
Stoops and porches around Adams Morgan once again will become intimate venues for jazz, rock and other music. At 18th Street and Columbia Road NW, concertgoers can pick up maps to guide them around the shows.
Witches’ Night: Octoberween Celebration
Fantom Comics (2010 P St. NW)
9 p.m.-12 a.m.
The Dupont Circle comic book store will celebrate “all things spooky and scary” for “witches and magical women of all types,” according to a Facebook event post. Costumes are encouraged.
Fitness & Health Day in the Triangle
457 Massachusetts Ave. NW
10 a.m.-12 p.m.
The Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District will have neighborhood fitness and health businesses, live music and food.
Feed the Homeless at Franklin Park
Franklin Park (901 14th St. NW)
Locals are encouraged to bring food and clothes to help the homeless at Franklin Park.
Luther Place Memorial Church (1226 Vermont Ave. NW)
Luther Place Memorial Church will host a blessing for pets in front of the St. Francis door.
Photo via Facebook/Luther Place Memorial Church
(Updated at 11:55 a.m. Sept. 28) Stoops and porches around Adams Morgan once again are set to become intimate venues for jazz, rock and other music this weekend.
PorchFest, Adams Morgan’s annual fall music festival, is slated to return with three dozen free concerts in front of a dozen homes and businesses in the neighborhood Saturday, according to organizers. The performances are scheduled to run from 2 to 6 p.m.
The music is set to include Afro-Brazilian female percussion band Batala and “blues, jazz, rock, soul, folk and much more,” PorchFest co-founder Nathan Ackerman said in an email. Additional details on the performers weren’t immediately available.
Festival organizers will have maps for the concerts online and at 18th Street and Columbia Road NW Saturday.
Started in 2013, PorchFest is put on by the Adams Morgan Partnership Business Improvement District and Cultural Tourism DC.
Photo via Facebook/Adams Morgan PorchFest
Exiles (1610 U St. NW) is scheduled to host a “hootenanny” next Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 7:30 p.m. The party will include a pig roast, beer pairings, spiked apple cider and a family-style buffet, according to the bar’s co-owner, Brian Hillery.
“We will host the hootenanny on our back patio where our smoker Suzie Q lives,” Hillery said. “As we recently installed outdoor televisions, I was planning on screening The Last Waltz at some point.”
The event will also include games like cornhole and darts along with a chance for partygoers to make some music.
“We’re also encouraging attendees to bring along guitars, banjos, harmonicas, fiddles, and empty jugs with ‘XXX’ printed on them,” Hillery said.
Tickets to the “hootenanny” cost $45. Those interested in attending can email the bar to make reservations.
Flier courtesy of Bryan Hillery
Our latest Pet of the Week is Miles, a loving, older dog who sports a gray beard. Here’s a little bit about him from his owner, Cathy:
Miles was adopted from City Dogs Rescue in November 2014. Mostly miniature schnauzer with some Pekingese and Australian cattle dog thrown in, Miles is 100 percent sweet.
He loves long walks in the morning to chase the squirrels in Lafayette Square or to visit his friend Fala at the FDR Memorial. He also loves cuddling on the couch, homemade treats and playing fetch with squeaky tennis balls and soft toys. At the end of a long day, Miles loves to visit Logan Circle and say hello to his dog friends.
The only thing Miles doesn’t love is being away from his mother. But with a lot of love, patience and hard work, he now understands that allowing her to go to work means more squeaky tennis balls, treats and soft toys for him!
Miles will be celebrating his 10th birthday this fall and looks forward to sporting an even more distinguished gray beard.
Want your pet to be considered for the Borderstan Pet of the Week? Email us at [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least three horizontal photos of your pet.
Are you looking for dog walking, pet-sitting, basic training, or more advanced training solutions for your furry best friend? Anytime K9 has knowledgeable, well-trained staff willing to go the extra mile for you and your favorite quadruped.
Ready to satisfy all your pup’s needs for a healthy, fulfilled life, Anytime K9 is DC’s fastest growing pet services company! ABC-certified trainers offer private lessons for all temperaments, classes for all ages, and even agility training for the dog with boundless energy! Midday dog walkers cover the city, and with the use of the latest technology, give you real time updates on your dog’s walk status.