The chair and vice chair of the Prince George’s County Board of Education have been asked to step down after the county lost a $6.4 million grant as a result of scandals in the school system last academic year.

The 932 preschoolers enrolled in the Head Start program — which aims to provide education and health services to low-income children and their families — started school just after the grant was terminated on Aug. 12. The county has held a Head Start grant since the program was created more than 50 years ago, but the federal government took the grant away in mid-August after incidents of teachers allegedly abusing children came to light, according to the Washington Post.

A federal report details one incident in which a 3-year-old boy was forced to mop up his own urine while a teacher took photos on her cell phone, the Post reported on Aug. 17.

Five of the members of the board signed the letter at the end of August calling for chairman Segun Eubanks and vice chairwoman Carolyn Boston to resign, District 5 Board Member Verjeana Jacobs said.

“We feel like there was a lot of information that was withheld from us and that we didn’t get in the first place,” Jacobs said of the abuse allegations. Because of this, Jacobs and some of her colleagues have been pushing for an external investigation, but the idea keeps getting shot down, she said.

At the time of publication, communication representatives for school board chairman Segun Eubanks did not respond to request for comment.

“What the Head Start program does is it helps low-income children, who are coming from conditions of poverty, and therefore not entering school well-prepared academically, to get a head start,” said Peggy Higgins, director of College Park’s Youth, Family and Senior Services.

“Based on the reports that we’ve now received, it appears that the federal government received some notice that there was an allegation of abuse,” Higgins said. “They subsequently did a review of our program and learned that the administration didn’t do anything about it, or do anything quick enough about it, and so they felt like it was a serious enough issue that they pulled the grant.”

Higgins, who is also a social worker, said she was disappointed about Prince George’s County schools losing such an important grant. The county’s Head Start program was one of the few in the nation to embed the program into the county’s preschools, Higgins said.

“We have certified teachers in front of those children, and a more typical Head Start program, run by a church or a non-profit, does not have certified teachers,” she said.

Prince George’s County’s Head Start program had recently been recognized as one of the best, Higgins added.

The money from the program was being used in 35 different schools in the county, Jacobs said, but now there is a private company in charge of the funds. This way, the schools can still receive some funding for the year, but it will be monitored by a third-party, Jacobs said.

The county can apply for the grant after a year to get it back, Jacobs said, but they must clearly show that new processes are in place and that children are safe.

“We called for the current leadership to resign because of this, so it’s a big deal; it’s a serious situation and unfortunately it continues,” she said.

To demonstrate her point, Jacobs said she attended a press conference Tuesday about “another allegation of alleged abuse of children.”

Losing the grant could also pose a long-term problem in a county where funds are already sparse, said College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn.

“If you don’t give teachers the resources they need to do well, then they are bound to take short cuts and problems are bound to happen,” he said.