ROCKVILLE, Md. — On Monday Montgomery County Schools shared more about the plan for safety in their schools. Members of the police and sheriff's department along with school leaders were in attendance.
Building strong relationships that span beyond school grounds is the focus of Montgomery County Public Schools. School and district leaders got clarity on the updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
“A big part of what we clarified in the MOU was, what incidents should be handled by the school and which should then be handled by the police department and acknowledging that there are some grey areas,” said MCPS Superintendent, Dr. Monifa McKnight.
Chief Marcus Jones from Montgomery County Police explained relationships between officers, students and staff are paramount.
“If we know that there are threats out in the community, we need to share that with MCPS. If MCPS, if the school administrator has heard from parents or students, that there's a fear from their perspective that needs to be addressed, then we can help to alleviate those fears by having a higher visibility,” Jones said.
Adding that at times they can have more than one officer on campus. Jones said that possession of marijuana will no longer be a mandatory arrest with this new MOU, but drugs will not be tolerated at schools.
“Dr. McKnight and I agreed that we that the school system will handle this as a disciplinary process, not as a criminal process. Now, if there is someone who is selling illegal drugs in our schools such as fentanyl, or other dangerous types of drugs, that may lead to a felony arrest,” Jones explained.
Unfortunately, guns crept into Montgomery County Schools last year and school shootings around the country have been on the rise. Board of Education President, Brenda Wolff said they understand some of the fears and concerns students and parents alike may have.
“The Community Engagement Officer is building relationships in the building. And it's those relationships that are going to alleviate some of that anxiety,” Wolff said.