Magruder High School Community Letter From Principal Leroy Evans on Today’s Return to School

by Patrick Herron

Per Montgomery County:

Dear Magruder High School Families,

Today marked our first day back at school following last Friday’s tragic events. We returned united in shared concern for every student, staff member and administrator. Friday’s event was traumatic, and today was another important step in our healing journey. We offered students and staff opportunities to talk about and process their emotions, with the support of mental health, law enforcement and community resources. Some of Magruder’s students and staff openly expressed their reflections and feelings, while others are not yet ready for such disclosure, or perhaps prefer a separate environment to do so. There is no wrong approach to processing. Regardless of how students wish to engage, we will be there for each other.

outside magruderWe were fortunate that so many caring friends of Magruder provided us with an array of resources that are wrapped around our students and staff today. We welcomed more than 100 partners dedicated to helping our community begin the healing process to our building. MCPS counselors and psychologists provided support, along with mental health professionals from EveryMind and specialists from the Street Outreach Network, the county Department of Health and Human Services, Identity, Inc., Positive Youth Development and a team from the MCPS Office of Student and Family Support and Engagement. Mental health professionals will continue to be available throughout the week.

Our students’ days began with a show of support from our police partners, who greeted all students as they entered the building. Many police officers stayed with us throughout the day. Our community engagement officer, Sgt. Jason Cupeta, also joined us to continue building the relationships he has established with our students and staff.

Interim Superintendent Dr. Monifa B. McKnight visited our school this morning to meet and display support for students and staff. She visited classrooms, spoke to students, and thanked counselors, psychologists and community support partners for their partnerships . Board of Education President Brenda Wolff joined Dr. McKnight to check in with our staff and confirm that the supports we have promised are in place and stand ready to serve our students.

We are extremely grateful for the outpouring of support. A school is a community, with members who depend on one another, especially in our most challenging moments. The response we’ve witnessed represents how–at its best–a community should work in good times and during difficult times. Students need to know they are valued and are safe in our building; staff need to know their work is important and critical to our educational mission.

I am very proud to lead a community that has shown such a high level of harmony and care for one another. As you can see in the photo above, a Montgomery County police officer met our students with a sign that read, “You Are Loved.” Indeed, our community is loved–today and every day.

We are Colonel Strong!

Leroy C. Evans, Ed.D.
Principal, Col. Zadok Magruder High School

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