MCPS Superintendent Smith Urges Students to Stop Walkouts
After three days of MCPS high school students walking out of schools in protest of the presidential election results, including hundreds of Germantown area students from Northwest and Seneca Valley yesterday, last night MCPS Superintendent Dr. Jack Smith released a video message to students, which was to be played in all schools Thursday morning, Nov. 17.
In the message Smith said, “This week students across the county have availed themselves of their right to speak up and speak out about the values that are important to them, while MCPS supports everyone’s right to assemble and respectfully express themselves these demonstrations have unfortunately generated valid concerns regarding the security of our students outside of our schools. When students are threatened or injured as part of a protest, it raises serious questions that requires us to rethink the situation. Our goal is to keep our students safe under adult supervision and engage in the learning process.”
While there was no violence or trouble with yesterday’s protests in Germantown, in which hundreds of students from Seneca Valley and Northwest high schools remained peaceful and on the sidewalk while walking down Great Seneca Highway. In Rockville, Montgomery County Police confirmed that a 15-year-old boy was attacked by protesting students because he was a supporter of President-Elect Donald Trump. That boy was transported by MCFRS to a local hospital with cuts and bruises from the attack.
In his message to students, staff, and the community Smith asked students to remain in school. “I am asking and expecting all students to remain in school and participate in the daily educational program as intended. If students do not comply with these expectations, they may be subject to the regular disciplinary actions that align with whatever infraction is involved.”
Smith also addressed the recent rash of hate-based vandalism which has occurred at some MCPS schools. He reminded the community that MCPS will not tolerate hate-based speech or behaviors in our schools and encourages students and staff to report these incidents.
“Vandalism is illegal. This type of horrible vandalism is illegal,” said Smith. “It is a violation of MCPS policy and, most importantly, it is simply wrong. Our security team is working closely with the police department to investigate these actions. Any students found to have engaged in this behavior will be subject to a discipline in accordance with all MCPS policies.”
Top: A screen capture from Dr. Jack Smith's video message to the MCPS community asking students to stay in class.
Next: Students from Seneca Valley High School during Wednesday's walkout, marching down Great Seneca Highway. Photo by Germantown Pulse.