Dr. Monifa B. McKnight, Interim Superintendent of MCPS, released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
“Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,
I am writing today to discuss the recent serious incidents on our school campuses and the steps we are taking to ensure the safety of our students and staff.
In recent weeks, there have been multiple serious incidents on school grounds, including some that have involved weapons. Let me be clear: We will not tolerate weapons of any sort on school grounds. Anyone found to be in possession of a weapon at a school, on school property, or at a school-sponsored event will be referred to the police. Students will also face serious disciplinary action from the school aligned with our MCPS Code of Conduct.
Students must feel safe in order to be successful at school. Any behavior that makes our students feel unsafe will be dealt with quickly, in accordance with the MCPS Student Code of Conduct. If you have questions about our expectations for student behavior and disciplinary actions, please consult A Student’s Guide to Rights and Responsibilities and Student Code of Conduct or reach out to your school administration. Please also make sure your student is aware of these expectations and outcomes.
If you or your student becomes aware of someone who has a weapon or is planning to hurt themselves or others at a school, please immediately contact the school administration, the local police, or the Maryland SafeSchools Tipline at 833-632-7233 (available 24/7).
MCPS has policies, practices and regulations to ensure the safety of our students and staff, as well as trained administrators and security who are ready to de-escalate situations. We have documented agreements with the Montgomery County Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies to respond to emergencies. Counselors and other mental health professionals are available to repair and restore relationships following any situation. While teaching and learning is our business, safety is our top priority.
It is hard to say what may be causing the serious incidents we have seen over the past few weeks, but we know that some of our students are struggling socially and emotionally. It has been a very difficult time for everyone due to the pandemic, concerns about social injustice, and other factors, including significant individual challenges facing many of our students and their families. Student well-being is a focus during Mental Health Awareness Week. For information about the activities happening this week and the resources being shared, please visit the MCPS Mental Health Awareness Week web page. If a student you know is struggling, please have them reach out to someone at the school or contact the Montgomery County Hotline at 301-738-2255.
Keeping our students safe and healthy is a collaborative effort among our schools, our families, and our communities. Working together, we can make sure our students feel secure, valued, and are ready to learn and thrive.
Dr. Monifa B. McKnight
Interim Superintendent of Schools”