Statement by Councilmember Andrew Friedson on Investigation Into MCPS Employee Misconduct and Promotion Processes

Below is a statement by Montgomery County Councilmember Andrew Friedson on the investigation into Montgomery County Public Schools employee misconduct and promotion processes following the Thursday morning hearing involving the Montgomery County Council and Education & Culture Committee (the full hearing can be seen here):

This morning, the entire Montgomery County Council joined the Education & Culture Committee for a hearing to review the deeply alarming workplace harassment and employee misconduct allegations in MCPS and their processes for promoting principals and administrators.

It’s evident that this is not just a case of established MCPS processes and procedures failing, but of systems that appear to be set up to fail, or perhaps not set up at all. It’s also clear this deeply disturbing episode doesn’t just reflect a process or procedural problem; it appears to reflect a longstanding cultural problem.

Regaining the public’s trust starts with publicly releasing the full Jackson Lewis report with any required redactions unless there is a specific legal reason not to release it. That report is only as good as the trust that the 25,000 educators, 160,000 students and their families, and the public have in it. And they can’t trust what they can’t see.

Letters and websites aren’t enough. Everyone needs to feel there’s a genuine culture of accountability and transparency. They must have faith that complaints and concerns will be taken seriously, investigated thoroughly, and that appropriate actions will be taken without delay. The idea that anonymous complaints have not been taken seriously up to this point reflects a deeply concerning culture of power dynamics and protectionism that must change immediately.

The Maryland Public Information Act is intended to promote public transparency, not to prevent it. Along with colleagues, I urged the Board of Education and Superintendent to change their email procedures to ensure emails are available for requests, reviews, and investigations.

I strongly support the Office of the Inspector General and have full faith in their independence and professional standards as they undertake two investigations into the specific allegations against Dr. Beidleman and the school system’s policies and procedures for handling misconduct allegations. I’ve spent the past five years working to strengthen the Office of the Inspector General and together with Council colleagues, added two exclusive investigator positions to provide additional oversight into our more than $3 billion public school system.

Both the obvious failures related to this specific incident and the broader structural and cultural failures they have exposed must be investigated thoroughly and transparently. We need true accountability for all those directly and indirectly responsible and we need an actionable plan to root out the problems. This cannot be the end of the process for achieving the type of systemic change needed to restore trust. Our students and families, educators, and taxpaying public deserve nothing less.

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