Knife-Wielding Trespasser Prompts Shelter-in-Place at Kennedy High School on Friday

John F. Kennedy High Vickie Adamson sent the following community message to the Kennedy community:

“Dear John F. Kennedy High School Students, Staff, and Families,

I am writing to share that at approximately 11:30 a.m. today, we went into a Shelter-in-Place when a trespasser came onto school grounds during lunch. The trespasser had an altercation with one of our students, and when other students approached the scene, the trespasser brandished a knife. Security responded immediately and disarmed the trespasser. Security was able to secure the trespasser in a room at 11:35, away from onlookers. We called for the Shelter to remove all students from the situation and to convey everyone to safe locations.

Per our established protocols, the school team contacted the Montgomery County Department of Systemwide Safety and Emergency Management and the MCPS Office of School Support and Well-being (OSSWB). Our Community Engagement Officer was already on school grounds, and security quickly alerted her to the situation. Additional officers were dispatched to the school to address the trespasser.

The Shelter-in-Place was lifted at 12:02 p.m. and at no time was instruction disrupted. I would like to express my deep appreciation to our security team, our Community Engagement Officer, and all the staff who responded swiftly and effectively to this incident, ensuring the safety of our students and staff.

I would like to remind all families to have conversations with their child(ren) about safety. We had a number of students who attempted to get close to the scene in order to videotape the incident. Students put themselves at risk because of this. Some students also attempted to interfere with our ability to contain the situation. We will contact the families of these students separately, and we appreciate your support and cooperation in these matters. We are also aware that there are videos of this incident circulating among students, and if you are aware that your child is sharing videos of this incident, we ask that you have them delete the video and refrain from sharing it further. Sharing these types of videos glorifies violence that we must not tolerate as a community. Please talk to your child about the importance of moving away from confrontational situations and seeking an adult’s support. In fact, encourage your children if they have a phone-Don’t film the fight, instead tell an adult and report the fight; that is the appropriate action, and in doing so, you may limit physical harm or even save a life.

If students are upset by this incident, our counseling staff, our school psychologist, and members of our Wellness Center are on hand and available to meet with any student to support them through their distress. Please do not hesitate to call the school if you have any questions about resources and support.

I will close by reminding everyone that they can anonymously report any school or student safety concerns, including mental health concerns, through the Maryland Center for School Safety’s Safe Schools Tipline  (1-833-MD-B-SAFE / 1-833-632-7233). For further information on the approach to emergency preparedness in MCPS, please visit the Department of Systemwide Safety and Emergency Management’s website.”

We will provide an update if additional information becomes available.

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