Montgomery County Police and Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services responded to a collision involving a Montgomery County Public Schools bus on Monday, April 24, around 9:30am in the 13000 block of Old Columbia Pike in Fairland.

Four children (initially reported as five) and the driver were on the bus at the time of the collision. According to MCPD, “one child was extricated from the bus, but everyone was transported to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries” The ages of the children have not yet been released. According to a report, the bus was traveling to Fairland Elementary School.

The cause of the crash is currently under investigation. We will post an update when additional information is available.


Per the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office:
Today in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, MD, before the Honorable David Lease, a jury found defendant, Etienne Kabongo, 67, of Gaithersburg, criminally responsible for the sexual abuse of four females with special needs.

Kabongo pleaded guilty to two counts of Second-Degree Rape and two counts of Sexual Abuse of a Minor for the abuse of four female victims who rode the bus he drove for Montgomery County Public Schools. One of the victims came forward after an incident in July of 2018 and a Montgomery County Police investigation resulted in the discovery of school bus surveillance footage of multiple incidents involving three additional victims. Two of the girls were minors at the time and the other two were both 18-years old.

The defendant had maintained that he was not criminally responsible due to an alleged mental disorder, but today the jury found he is indeed responsible for these crimes. Kabongo faces up to 40 years in prison. A sentencing hearing is set for March 30th 2023.

“Etienne Kabongo was entrusted with the safety of some of the most vulnerable members of our community and he violated that trust, using his position to sexually abuse the nonverbal students for which he was responsible. Thank you to Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Rubinstein for his work in holding this defendant accountable. We are grateful that justice has prevailed and hope it provides some comfort for the victims and their families,” said State’s Attorney John McCarthy.


MCPD released the following updated summary of events with new information regarding the lockdown and subsequent arrest of a student at Albert Einstein High School this afternoon. The original news release stated that the student taken into custody during the investigation was not being charged criminally.

At approximately 1:54 p.m. today, Montgomery County Police received a report of a student with a gun inside of Albert Einstein High School, located at 11135 Newport Mill Rd. in Kensington.

The school was placed on a lockdown as officers investigated the validity of the report. Officers were able to identify the student and the student’s location. That student was taken into custody during the investigation. Brass knuckles, a knife, and marijuana were located on the student in question, but no firearm was recovered.  The student was charged by MCPD with possession of those items. 

During a search of the school, officers also located a BB gun, however they are not able to identify who the BB gun belongs to. 

The lockdown was lifted at 2:22 p.m. and Montgomery County Police remained on campus throughout the dismissal process, releasing students in groups.

Any school disciplinary action will be handled by Montgomery County Public Schools.”


Per MCPD: Rockville City and Montgomery County Police responded to Richard Montgomery High School on Friday, January 13, 2023, for the report of a gun on the school’s grounds. At approximately 10 a.m., two students from an area Montgomery County school entered Richard Montgomery High School (RMHS) without authorization and allegedly assaulted an RMHS student inside of the school.

The students left RMHS and reportedly returned to the campus, which is located at 250 Richard Montgomery Drive, at approximately 12:30 p.m., but did not enter the school. During this second incident, an RMHS student reported what they thought might have been a gun on one of the students outside of the school and reported it to school security. That information was shared with the RMHS principal, the police were called, and the school was placed on lockdown. The students outside of the school ran away.

Police can not confirm that a gun was seen on the high school campus. Responding officers secured the school and RMHS transitioned to a shelter in place. Officers remained on school grounds throughout the day and dismissal. No weapon was located on school property and Rockville City Police are investigating the assault on the RMHS student.


Montgomery County Public Schools sent the following community message on Monday, January 2:
“Dear MCPS Community,
I hope you and your families are enjoying this warm, sunny New Year, and that you’ve had a chance to relax and reflect throughout the winter break.  My personal resolution for 2023 is to continually recommit to the importance of the work we do together in service to our students and ultimately for the future of our community.

In a message sent before winter break, we asked that you remain vigilant and aware of the potential impact of the respiratory diseases (Influenza, RSV and COVID-19) circulating in our community. These illnesses may pose a combined challenge to our local healthcare system across our region following the holiday season. We need everyone’s help to reduce the impact on school operations in these first few weeks following winter break. Remember, protective measures still apply – keeping up with vaccinations, practicing healthy habits to prevent the spread of illness, and staying home if you are sick.

While we are excited to be back in school and for learning to continue on Tuesday, Jan. 3, we can only do this if we take care of ourselves and each other.

As noted in a message from our Chief Operating Officer, the impact of staff call-outs due to illness may affect bus routes or may mean we have substitute teachers in some classrooms. We will continue to provide updates and communicate regarding any changes; when we do we will provide that information as necessary via ConnectED, on social media, and on the MCPS homepage. Also, the Bus Dashboard is updated every morning and throughout the day with any delays or cancellations.

Now, as we look ahead, let’s continue as we started our school year, namely, “All Together Now.” We will meet our challenges and grow as a community through a deep sense of collaboration and togetherness. I know you share this same commitment.

All year long, I have experienced optimism, resilience, and perseverance in all my school visits. Staff and students yearn for a return to normal, and we are well on our way to that. There is renewed excitement and I am so pleased to see this happen.

To each and every one of you in Montgomery County, I wish you all my very best wishes for the new year and the remainder of the school year.

In partnership,

Dr. Monifa B. McKnight
Superintendent of Schools”


According to the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, the defendant in the January 2022 shooting at Magruder High School was sentenced today in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County.  The judge sentenced Steven Alston Jr. to 40 years in prison suspend all but 18 years and 5 years probation upon release. While incarcerated, he will be admitted into the Patuxent Youthful Offender Program. 

Alston pleaded guilty last month to the charge of Attempted First Degree Murder for the shooting of a fellow student at Magruder High School.  Alston was 17 years old on Friday, January 21, 2022, when he shot the 15-year-old victim inside of the school restroom using a privately manufactured firearm, or ghost gun.  He was charged as an adult.

“I want to express gratitude for the collaboration between Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery County Police and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office immediately following the shooting and for their actions in resolving the situation that day without any further violence. I thank Assistant State’s Attorneys Carlotta Woodward and Donna Fenton for their extraordinary work in the prosecution of this case,” said State’s Attorney John McCarthy back on November 7.


Montgomery County Public Schools sent out the following community message on Thursday, December 8:
“Get information about Flu/RSV guidance, how to watch the upcoming operating budget presentation live, new Board of Education leadership and more.

1. Board Approves School Year Calendar that Allows for More Professional Days and Fewer Disruptions
The Board of Education approved the 2023-2024 school year calendar at its Dec. 6 business meeting. The new calendar offers an increased focus on professional development for teachers, while aiming to limit instructional disruptions.


2. Tune in to Superintendent’s Operating Budget Presentation Dec. 19
Superintendent Dr. Monifa B. McKnight will deliver a presentation on her Recommended Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2024 on Dec.19. Hear how the district plans to invest in students’ academic experience and look ahead to leadership’s priorities and goals for the next school year. Watch live via the MCPS Homepage or MCPS TV Channels (En Español Comcast 33, Verizon 35, RCN 88)

BOE leadership

3. MCPS Board of Education Welcomes New Members and Appoints New Leadership
Newly elected members Grace Rivera-Oven (District 1), Julie Yang (District 3) and re-elected members Brenda Wolff (District 5) and Karla Silvestre (At-Large) were ceremonially sworn inon Thursday, Dec. 1, at Carver Educational Services Center in Rockville. Ms. Silvestre (At-Large) and Shebra Evans (District 4) will now lead the Board as president and vice president, respectively.

4. Flu/RSV Guidance
MCPS continues to work with the local health department to closely monitor local disease trends and provide support to schools and worksites. COVID-19 and influenza rates have increased in our region. We continue to reinforce good infection control and health behaviors that help reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. Check out fact sheets from the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), and MDH’s resource pages for influenzaand Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

first ladies

5. GOOD NEWS: Students Spend Time with First Ladies Jill Biden and Brigitte Macron During France State Visit
More than 100 Silver Spring International Middle School students had the opportunity to participate in the state visit for French President Emmanuel Macron and First Lady Brigitte Macron. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden invited the students, who are a part of the French Immersion Program, to greet the first ladies, participate in a poetry reading, and engage with them over an interactive book device in the library at the Planet Word museum in Washington, D.C.


MCPD released the following community message on Friday, November 18:
“Dear MCPS Community,
Let me start by wishing all of you an enjoyable Thanksgiving! As we prepare to gather and celebrate the upcoming holidays, let’s think about how we can enjoy the time together, while keeping health in mind. Please review the holiday health reminders at the bottom of this message. The CDC also offers these holiday health strategies which include general wellness tips, and this guide to everyday actions to prevent the spread of flu-like illness, including flu and RSV.

I would also like to share these health news items before the break:

  1. MCPS continues to work with our local health department to closely monitor local disease trends and provide support to our schools and worksites.  COVID-19 rates have been stable over the past few weeks, while influenza has increased in our region, and absences due to fever and respiratory illness have increased.  We continue to reinforce good infection control and health behaviors that help reduce the spread of respiratory viruses.  With our public health partners, we provide resources and guidance to schools, keeping in mind our goal to support safe and uninterrupted learning.
  2. COVID-19 home test kits will be distributed to staff and students before November 23. Since holiday activities like travel and large social gatherings can increase the risk of exposure to COVID-19, we want to make sure everyone has access to home testing. If you receive an iHealth test kit, remember to look up the extended expiration date on this table. If you receive one of the new test kits from InteliSwab, you may want to view these video instructions. For family members, the county health department provides free test kits to Montgomery County residents.

    Testing is not mandatory for returning staff and students. We are depending on our staff and families to consider personal exposure risk, and test and report positive results using our online tool.  It may be difficult to tell if symptoms are from COVID-19 or another flu-like illness, and testing is an important way to identify individuals actively positive for COVID-19 who should follow CDC isolation guidelines to prevent further transmission.

The pandemic has shown us the importance of cherishing time together with friends and family, and our shared responsibility in health and safety.  Once again, I thank everyone for their commitment to the health of our school community, and for supporting each other with respect and kindness.

Patricia Kapunan, M.D., M.P.H.”
MCPS Medical Officer


”This weekend marks the end of Daylight Saving Time, which begins in March, and ends the first Sunday of November. This means clocks will roll back one hour at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 6. It can feel great to have an extra hour of sleep, when we “fall back” instead of “spring forward”.  However, most sleep experts are not fans of this change, as even small disruptions to routines can cause problems with sleep. It can take one to two weeks for the body to get used to a new routine, so give your body and mind time to gradually adjust.

Many of us are already working on sleep health and will need to anticipate this additional challenge. Work, school and lifestyle changes during the pandemic created challenges for regular health routines that continue to affect many people. For teens and parents of young children, unique factors influencing sleep and self care make it especially important to have healthy sleep habits.

What are Healthy Sleep Habits?
Sleep is not just about getting enough hours of rest, though this is still important. Here are some tips that will help make it easier to fall asleep, stay asleep and have good quality sleep.

  • Keep a regular schedule that does not vary much during the week and on weekends.
  • Create a bedtime routine that helps your body unwind and know it is time to prepare for sleep.
  • Avoid using electronics before bedtime, and for those of age, alcohol or caffeine later in the day. Stimulation from electronics or caffeine can disrupt sleep onset, and alcohol can cause problems later in the sleep cycle.
  • Follow a regular schedule for exercise and eat healthy meals to help with your sleep. Keep in mind that eating a heavy meal before bedtime can reduce sleep quality.
  • Light exposure plays a strong role in your body’s internal sleep cycle. Make sure the room lights are dimmed for sleep (or use a sleep mask), and enjoy some natural sunlight as soon as you wake up.

How can I adjust my sleep schedule for the time change?

  • For younger children or people with established sleep routines, the time change may cause problems with waking up too early.
    • Before the time change, make a small shift to move dinner and bedtime later. If you or your child sleeps from 9 p.m.- 6 a.m., shift the schedule from 9:30 p.m. -6:30 a.m. for three days before the time change, then go back to 9 p.m.-6 a.m.
    • To shift a schedule after the time change, adjust to an earlier clock time starting Sunday night. Shift to 8:30 p.m.- 5:30 a.m. for three  days if starting after the time change, then shift back to 9 p.m. – 6 a.m.
  • For people who could already use more sleep, this weekend is a good opportunity to reset your internal clock.
    • Set your clock back one hour when you go to bed on Saturday, and keep to your normal wake up time on Sunday. Starting Sunday evening, remember to shift your bedtime up to an hour earlier. If bedtime was around 11:30 p.m., your body will expect to go to sleep around 10:30 p.m. after the time change.  This will be the hard part for busy people, but it takes advantage of your body’s established bedtime while allowing for a longer sleep period.

So, enjoy that additional hour this weekend and some fresh autumn air!  It will be darker and cooler earlier, so be mindful of evening travel and don’t forget your coat.

Patricia Kapunan, M.D., M.P.H.
MCPS Medical Officer

For  more information, check out these resources about Sleep Hygiene and other important Sleep Health Topics. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine offers specific resources about sleep and teenagers, including the #SleepRechargesYou campaign for teens, with educator resources.”


Per Montgomery County:
ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 2, 2022The Montgomery County Council will host a hybrid Youth Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. with Montgomery County School Board President Brenda Wolff and Student Member of the Board of Education Arvin Kim to learn more about the issues currently impacting young people across the County. Student are encouraged to come prepared with questions for Councilmembers. 

After two years of COVID-19 precautionary measures, I am very excited that this year we will finally be back to host an in-person Youth Town Hall, said Council President Gabe Albornoz. “Civic participation is so important, and it’s never too early to engage with elected representatives.This is a great opportunity for all students to participate and ask questions to their County Councilmembers, and it also helps us become more cognizant of the priorities of the residents that will shape, and be, the future of our County.” 

There will be a pizza reception at 6 p.m. in the Council Office Building cafeteria for students joining the town hall in person. Students may also participate in the Youth Town Hall via Zoom webinar. The event will be streamed live on the Council’s web page via YouTube (MoCoCouncilMD) and on Facebook Live (MontgomeryCountyMdCouncil) and can also be watched on County Cable Montgomery on channels 30 (Fios), 1056 (RCN) and 996 (Xfinity).

Montgomery County Public Schools students need to register to receive their student-service learning hours for advocacy. All students interested in participating can register here. 


Montgomery County Public Schools sent out the following community message on Friday, October 14:
“Dear MCPS Community,
This week, I had a chance to experience our “all together now” spirit on full display during National Walk and Bike to School Day. This occasion is a celebration of the hard work that we all do to create safe environments for students to get to school. Indeed, getting to school safely is the first step towards having a great day of learning.

Walk to School Day demonstrated another great example of the amazing experiences we can create when we come together to rally behind our schools, students and their safety. And I want to thank you for investing in our school community in so many different ways.

At Glen Haven Elementary School, for example, principal Tara Strain, physical education teacher Mary Jo Stolte and counselor Rebecca H. Willis led an effort to gather the community at a local park so that everyone could safely walk to school together, supported by our police partners who ensured the proper precautions were in place on the roads.

On the way to school, I assisted two kindergarten students in a scavenger hunt the school had set up for them to participate in along their walk. And upon arriving at the school, I enjoyed the harmony with which students sang Glen Haven’s school song–which, modeled after Katy Perry’s “Roar,” encourages students to “Soar.”

Then, at Wheaton Woods Elementary School, our county police, fire and rescue, transportation parent volunteers, and recreation partners greeted students with music and balloons. These partnerships are part of an effort fostered through the community schools program that Principal Nora (Liz) Collins embraces in ensuring all students have what they need to thrive.

While we can’t have music and dancing every day at school, these special occasions are a reminder of all that our staff and community does to make our students feel valued and included when they come to school. And it takes our entire community to come together on behalf of our students to help them feel this way.

Safety after school:

As we frequently share, safety extends across our elementary, middle and high schools. And it extends beyond the school day– it requires our entire community. Our high school communities have continued to prove that in how we are sustaining safety during our athletic contests.

As mentioned in yesterday’s community message, the MCPS Athletics Safety Plan will continue to drive program operations. Varsity football games will continue in Tier 1 at this time, while actions from Tier 2 may be implemented at individual games. The decision guidelines for each tier are outlined in the safety plan. For other sports, local schools may make appropriate accommodations to the default Tier 1 restrictions, such as modifying admission procedures.

Thank you for all you do to keep our staff and students safe.

In partnership,
Monifa B. McKnight
Superintendent of Schools


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