MCPS Retains Law Firm to Conduct Independent Investigation Into Harassment and Bullying Accusations

On Monday, the Washington Post reported that Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) had retained the Jackson Lewis law firm to investigate the alleged misconduct of Principal Joel Beidleman. We reached out to MCPS spokesperson Christopher Cram, who provided the following statement:

“The Washington Post investigation published Friday, August 11, revealed significant allegations of harassment and bullying involving one of our principals, and we thank them for that work.   We immediately began an aggressive response, starting the immediate placement of Principal Joel Beidleman on Administrative leave, which removed him from further impact on students and staff. We also instigated an external, independent investigation with the law firm of Jackson Lewis and robust communication with county partners, including the county executive, county council members, state senators and delegates representing Montgomery County and, of course, the MCPS Board of Education.

The independent investigative team is moving with precision and speed to advance this work to achieve clarity so that MCPS can implement appropriate action(s). Our community will learn a significant amount of detail over the next few days and weeks. However, necessary legal and human resources protocols govern the process in these matters, ensuring appropriateness for all involved.

MCPS’ collective commitment to the well-being of our students and the integrity of our educational environment will continue to guide us through this challenging situation..

NOTE: Regarding the Investigative Team
MCPS has engaged the Baltimore office of the Jackson Lewis law firm. The firm is renowned for its expertise in employment and labor law. The Baltimore office, in particular, is well-versed in the intricacies of Maryland public education law, having represented several local educational agencies throughout the state.

The investigation team is spearheaded by Managing Principal Donald “Donny” E. English, Jr.. Donny’s more than 20 years of experience in litigating employment matters and guiding major corporations through internal investigations makes him well-suited to lead this investigation. He also serves on the firm’s Board of Directors and co-leads the Trials and Appeals practice group.

Joining him is Carol Ashley, a seasoned professional who has supervised and conducted numerous high-profile investigations, including those related to sexual misconduct and harassment. Her leadership in federal investigations concerning compliance with federal laws demonstrates her expertise and commitment to fairness and accountability.

Kathleen McGinley, Principal and Office Litigation Manager of the Baltimore office rounds out the team. Her strength as a litigator and her comprehensive understanding of employment law enable her to provide guidance, including compliance advice and preventative training to employers.”

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