Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Police Blotter: Boy Allegedly Had Knife at Robert Frost Middle School;

Theft at Richard Montgomery
Two girls, ages 16 and 17, allegedly committed a theft a Richard Montgomery High School on Feb. 14.
Knife at Robert Frost Middle School

A 14-year-old boy allegedly had a knife at Robert Frost Middle School at 9201 Scott Drive on Feb. 26. Rockville police submitted a request to Montgomery County police that he be charged with possession of a dangerous weapon on school proper

Police Blotter: Boy Allegedly Had Knife at Robert Frost Middle School; Man Exposed Himself in Rockville: Crimes reported to Montgomery County and Rockville police from Feb. 14-27

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

In MCPS Sexual Predators have Worked in 20 High Schools, 29 Middle Schools and 34 Elementary Schools

MCPS Middle and High Schools (highlighted)
 where sexual predators have worked in recent years. 
If your local school has a red dot next to it on the list below, then there has been a sexual predator that has been arrested, convicted or removed from working at the school.

Yesterday, Superintendent Jack R. Smith decided to focus on Cloverly Elementary School, but the reality is that sexual predators have been found to have worked at 83 Montgomery County Public Schools in recent years.

Known sexual predators have worked at 20 out of 25 high schools, 29 out of 40 middle schools and 34 out of 133 elementary schools.

Sexual predators in Montgomery County Public Schools is a system wide problem that has never been addressed by our elected Board of Education.  The Board of Education's failure to address this problem and put in place policies and procedures to keep children safe goes way beyond Cloverly Elementary School and extends to all parts of Montgomery County.

Once again we remind all parents that Urgent Changes Needed regarding MCPS and Child Abuse (read the recommendations at this link).

Walt Whitman High School Best Buddies 2017-2018: Spread the Word to End the Word

Monday, March 19, 2018

ABC7: “I think symbolically it’s important for me to go there after what happened.”

Howard County Public Schools Only Found Out About Arrest of Substitute on Saturday. Sub was still Working for HCPSS During Investigation.

Dear Community,

I want to follow up on the message I sent to you Saturday night and provide some additional information about our efforts since then.

As soon as I learned of the arrest of Steven Katz, I took immediate steps to notify the community and begin the communication process through our principals. My letter was followed by a message from school administrators to their communities. These messages provided information on the dates we know that this individual served as a substitute in those schools. We also provided resources to assist parents with talking to their children about this very difficult topic. Additionally, every school also has student services staff that any student or family can access for support.

I appreciate the supportive response by the Howard County community since Saturday and I am encouraged by your collaboration to keep our children safe. Staff have already begun to review the process for evaluating substitutes and putting in place a system to more periodically conduct background checks.

Since I reached out on Saturday, we have gathered a bit more information. 

The most important information that I can share is that if you suspect that your child may have had an inappropriate encounter with this individual - or any individual - please contact Howard County Police Department Detectives at 410-313-2630 or the Department of Social Services at 410-872-4203. This communication is critical. 

My office and our school leaders have been asked why this individual was able to work as a substitute teacher during the time he was being investigated by the Montgomery County Police Department. Unfortunately, news of the arrest came as a surprise to us as we were not aware that this individual was suspected of these charges until Saturday, March 17. This put us in a position of responding to a situation without having many details. Over the next several days, we will be working with our law enforcement counterparts as well as neighboring school systems to ensure that we implement stronger communication protocols when sharing information related to the safety and security of our children.

We know that this individual has been a substitute teacher in Howard County for the past six years. The vendor that we use to track and fulfill substitute teaching positions allows us to easily access the past two years of jobs he had accepted. In those two years, this individual had been a substitute teacher at 43 HCPSS schools. We are currently working with the vendor to access additional schools in which he may have worked prior to two years ago. The list of schools is included at the end of this letter. To this point, we are not aware of any formal complaint lodged against this individual that would have permitted the system and police to conduct a child abuse investigation.

We are all here to keep our children safe and provide any additional supports that they require.

Michael J. Martirano
Interim Superintendent

Steven Katz has been a substitute teacher in the following schools during the past two years:

Atholton Elementary School
Bollman Bridge Elementary School
Bryant Woods Elementary School
Bushy Park Elementary School
Clarksville Elementary School
Cradlerock Elementary School
Dayton Oaks Elementary School
Ducketts Lane Elementary School
Fulton Elementary School
Gorman Crossing Elementary School
Guilford Elementary School
Hammond Elementary School
Ilchester Elementary School
Lisbon Elementary School
Longfellow Elementary School
Manor Woods Elementary School
Pointers Run Elementary School
Rockburn Elementary School
Running Brook Elementary School
Stevens Forest Elementary School
Swansfield Elementary School
Triadelphia Elementary School
Veterans Elementary School
Waverly Elementary School
West Friendship Elementary School
Worthington Elementary School

Bonnie Branch Middle School
Dunloggin Middle School
Ellicott Mills Middle School
Folly Quarter Middle School
Harpers Choice Middle School
Lime Kiln Middle School
Mayfield Woods Middle School
Mount View Middle School
Murray Hill Middle School
Oakland Mills Middle School
Patapsco Middle School
Wilde Lake Middle School

Atholton High School
Glenelg High School
Hammond High School
Howard High School
Reservoir High School

WBAL: 3 Children report touching by MCPS Substitute Teacher

A substitute teacher has been charged with sexual abuse of a minor and fourth-degree sexual offense in Montgomery County.
Now, school officials are concerned he may have been involved in inappropriate behavior with children in other school districts where he worked.
...A court charging document indicates the 11-year-old boy claims Katz touched his shoulder and then moved his hand down to the child's buttocks. According to the court record, Katz denied, then confessed, admitting to investigators he apologized to the victim for touching him on his buttocks and that it was an "accident."
"He did touch the back of the female student, and advised that he apologized to her," charging documents stated. "Katz also stated he touched the waist of another student in the class and apologized to that student as well."
"We're asking all of our parents to have conversations with our young people, if they've had any interaction with this individual, to bring that forward immediately," said Dr. Michael Martirano, Howard County Schools interim superintendent...

ABC7: Superintendent Dr. Smith says he will visit staff at Cloverly ES tomorrow


Replying to @ABC7Annalysa @MCPS
@A_mac_25   is this a typo?  Smith is going to visit staff tomorrow but parents have to wait til April for him to meet with you?

Most Dangerous Railroad Crossing in MD is in Montgomery County at Montrose Road - Randolph Road

Google Earth view of most dangerous RR crossing in MD

March 19, 2018:  PLEASE COME OUT TONIGHT !
Tonight is an opportunity to listen to and give candidates your opinion on many issues. We are hoping many of you come to Aspen Hill and offer your support for the Montrose Pkw East Project, this important project reduces traffic congestion on several east west roads, Randolph, by over 25% Twinbrook Pkw by approx. 32% this project also addresses the dangerous situation at the CSX railroad crossing. This crossing has been designated the most dangerous in the State. Please come and show your support for the Mid County area.

The Aspen Hill Civic Association and the Aspen Hill Friends of the Library will be hosting a candidate forum for the County Executive race in Montgomery County. This will be a great opportunity to hear from the candidates who hope to fill this important office, and perhaps even meet them and let them know what you think.

The forum will be held on Monday, March 19th at 7:30pm in the Community Room of the Aspen Hill Library (4407 Aspen Hill Road, Rockville, MD 20853). We hope you will be able to make it!

The Montrose Road - Randolph Road railroad crossing is used by pedestrians, students, motorcycles, cars, trucks, buses and emergency personnel.  It is ranked as the most dangerous railroad crossing in the entire state of Maryland.  Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Tom Hucker and Hans Riemer want to delay funding of the project that would create an overpass over this railroad.  Should County residents have a safe way to cross the railroad tracks or should they continue using the most dangerous railroad crossing in the State of Maryland?  

See the report below:

NBC4: Katz has taught at 15 of the county's schools since May 2017 @mcps

...Katz has taught at 15 of the county's schools since May 2017
Burtonsville Elementary School
Olney Elementary School
Sherwood Elementary School
Cloverly Elementary School
Pyle Middle School
Kennedy High School
Burnt Mills Elementary School
Brooke Grove Elementary School
Seven Locks Elementary School
Sherwood High School
Wayside Elementary School
Paint Branch High School
Farquhar Middle School
Frost Middle School
Burning Tree Elementary School
In a letter sent to parents, Howard County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Michael Martirano said Katz was a substitute teacher in Howard County as well. Martirano said the news of Katz's arrest has sparked a change in how the school system will do background checks.
"These charges cause me great concern as I'm sure it does for each of you. We take safety of our students seriously and I am greatly chagrined that this individual was trusted to enter our classrooms and teach our children," Martirano said. "As with all HCPSS employees, he underwent a criminal background check, fingerprinting and a detailed reference check when he was hired by HCPSS. I have directed our staff to review the process for evaluating substitutes, and putting in place a system to more periodically conduct background checks."
Montgomery County police said any parents whose children may have had contact with Katz should talk to them and contact SVID detectives at 240-773-5400 if they believe their child was victimized.

Superintendent Jack R. Smith Phones Cloverly Parents, But Not Showing Up at School Yet

Breaking: ABC7 - Parents at Cloverly Elementary Protesting / Want to Meet with Superintendent / 3rd Arrest in 21 Months

2015: Rockville HS Student Exposed that Water from fountains had lead amounts that surpassed the EPA action level

H20 or H2No? Rusty, Discolored Water Has Concerning Lead Levels

Xavier Rivera
Hundreds of students drink from school water fountains, unaware of the quality of the water that they are putting into their bodies – not knowing whether or not they are consuming is rusty, lead-filled water.
Samples were collected from 24 RHS water fountains at 10:45 a.m. on Jan. 26. Seven of them had a visibly yellow tint to them with floating solids in the water and settled solids at the bottom of the sample container. Samples were sent to Sheppard T. Powell Associates, LLC labs.
Water from fountains next to rooms 1020, 1039, 1101, and 2065 had lead amounts that surpassed the EPA action level of 0.015 ppm.
According to the World Health Organization, lead can damage the nervous and reproductive systems and the kidneys, and is especially unsafe for young children and pregnant women.
Jim Roenick, a water treatment contractor and chemist for Georgetown University, helped process and interpret the samples. He explained that the yellow tint usually comes from suspended metals in the water (iron, copper and/or other metals). “Whether it’s a copper pipe or a steel pipe, it’s going to corrode. So now, when you turn the water fountain on, you get those products in the water,” Roenick said...

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Would Your High School Prefer Athletic Fields or Parking?

Perhaps if Wootton or Churchill had an extra athletic field, we might be having discussions like the one at Great Neck North - athletic field or parking lot?

Or - perhaps the Wootton Patriots we could take a lesson from the Patriots at Francis Lewis HS, my New York City school - no parking lot at all, for teachers and students. And public buses instead of those yellow buses - gotta love that NYC transit system.


ABC7: MCPS substitute teacher accused of molesting male student

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Police: Detectives Charge MCPS Substitute Teacher For Inappropriate Touching of Student

Detectives Charge Substitute Teacher For Inappropriate Touching of Student

Posted on 03/17/2018

Steven Katz
Detectives with the Special Victims Investigations Division (SVID) have charged Steven Katz, age 59, of the 6500 block of Quiet Hours in Columbia, with Sexual Abuse of a Minor and 4th Degree Sexual Offense.  The charges involve the inappropriate touching of an elementary school student by Katz in his role as a substitute teacher.
Preliminary investigation has revealed that sometime after school on March 8, a Clovery Elementary School student told his parent that his substitute teacher, identified as Katz, had touched him in a way that made him feel uncomfortable at school that day.  The parent notified Cloverly Elementary School administrators who then notified police.
During the investigation, detectives interviewed the student and also interviewed Katz.  During the interview with Katz, he made admissions relating to inappropriately touching the student.
A warrant was issued for Katz’ arrest.  Katz turned himself in to investigators this evening and he was transported to the Central Processing Unit.  Bond information is not available at this time.
Detectives are requesting that parents of juveniles who may have had contact with Steven Katz to talk to their children about any interaction with Katz and contact SVID detectives at 240-773-5400 if they believe their child was victimized.

ABC7: With the arrest of sub teacher Steven Katz, this marks 3 sex crime arrests at @MCPS Cloverly ES in past years. John Vigna & Sean Kelley too. @NathanABC7

ABC7: JUST IN: MCPS substitute teacher arrested for molesting male student at Cloverly Elementary School in Colesville, Md., police say. @ABC7Kevin

Two Bills HB 1767 and SB 1188 are in the Maryland Assembly that will allow cell towers in our neighborhoods/schools and remove pubic notice and public process.

Sign the Petition: Stop Cell Towers in Maryland Neighborhoods!

Two Bills HB 1767 and SB 1188 are in the Maryland Assembly that will allow cell towers in our neighborhoods/schools and remove pubic notice and public process.

The Maryland Municipal League representing 157 municipal governments in the State of Maryland is opposed to these Bills. The Montgomery County Civic Federation is opposed to these bills.

Sign the petition.

Friday, March 16, 2018

WTOP: Elevated lead levels found in water at 12 of 21 Montgomery Co. schools tested so far

WASHINGTON — More than half the Montgomery County schools tested so far have shown elevated levels of lead in their drinking water.
The district has released results from the first batch of tests of the 205 schools in the county, and so far 12 of the first 21 schools tested have been shown to have lead levels higher than the 20 parts per billion mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Eight of the 12 offending schools are elementary schools: Gaithersburg, New Hampshire Estates, Pine Crest, Rock View, Rolling Terrace, Strathmore, Summit Hall and Viers Mill. Other schools found to have high lead levels so far are Eastern Parkland and Sligo middle schools, and Northwood High School...
...Neighboring school districts have more stringent standards. Prince George’s County set its lead standard at 10 parts per billion; in D.C. schools the standard is 5 parts per billion...

Arlington Not Planning to Join Class Action Lawsuit Against Synthetic Turf Installer

...The fields, which are under warranty until early 2019, will be replaced early so that all three Long Bridge Park fields will not be replaced simultaneously.
Fields come with an eight year warranty, and are generally replaced eight or nine years after installation, according to Lisa Grandle, Arlington County Parks & Recreation’s park development division chief.

The warranty for one of the Long Bridge Park’s synthetic turf fields covers defective material or installation workmanship problems, but doesn’t cover what Grandle called normal wear and tear or heavy usage...

Fired PGCPS guidance counselor believes he was made a scapegoat for grade-fixing scandal

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Lead concentrations exceeding state standards turned up in: Gaithersburg, Summit Hall, New Hampshire Estates and Pine Crest elementary schools and Eastern Middle School.

Drinking Water Tests Show Heightened Lead Levels at Schools in Silver Spring, Gaithersburg: MCPS is conducting a systemwide analysis of lead in water

Superintendent Jack R. Smith is "waiting" and "looking" instead of taking action to keep children safe in classrooms.

Formal Inquiry Into Md. Dept. of Ed. Decision Not to Use Teacher License Background Check System in 2015, 2016
...The agency confirmed it ran a reviewed and updated its files after restoring its conection with the NASDTEC system. It found one other teacher whose Maryland teaching license should have been revoked during the yearlong lapse. But the agency said the second teacher was not teaching in a Maryland school at the time.
In a hearing shortly after the I-Team report, the chair of the Montgomery County Council Education Committee asked Montgomery County Public Schools superintendent Jack Smith if the district was considering changing its background check system for teachers.
“We’re waiting to hear from the state of Maryland about what they’re doing,” Smith said. “We want to hear from them. Simultaneously, we are looking at what we can do around this.”...

Northwest Student Caught With Knife as Classmates Walkout to Protest School Violence

Less than an hour after almost 500 schoolmates walked out of class at Northwest High School to protest school violence on Wednesday; a student was caught threatening a fellow student with a knife during lunch.
   According to letters sent home by Northwest High School Principal Jimmy D’Andrea, about 500 of Northwest’s 2,300 students left class at 10:00 am to join high school students nationwide in protesting school violence. The protest lasted 17 minutes to honor the 17 students killed at Margery Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. one month ago.
   During the Northwest lunch period, which runs from 11:16 am to 11:51 am security officials confiscated a knife from an unidentified student who had displayed the knife to another student in a threatening way. “Based upon our investigation, it appears that there was an issue between the two students that had not been reported to the school,” said the letter sent home to parents...

Schools Could be Location for Cell Towers in Montgomery County under New Zoning Amendment

Don’t Let Antennas and Cell Poles Ruin Our Schools!
Fight to keep all residents, homes and neighborhoods protected.
Your participation was so important to our success in 2016, when we said NO to the County’s last Towers & Antennas Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA 16-05).
Unfortunately, the County has returned, this time with ZTA 18-02. And just like its predecessor, this ZTA was designed with and for the wireless industry, and not with or for residents).
We need your voice to be heard LOUD and CLEAR, if we are to beat back ZTA 18-02, a bill that threatens to erode protections for our safety, neighborhood aesthetics, and property values.
Please attend the Public Hearing on Tuesday night, March 20th.  Tell our Council Members that Montgomery County must put residents and our neighborhoods first.
We DO want a ZTA, but NOT this ZTA 18-02!
·         We want a ZTA that will not sacrifice our safety, neighborhood aesthetics, or property values;
·         We want a ZTA that will ensure transparency, proper notice of proposed facilities, and fair and proper consideration of our concerns in the application review process;
·         We want a ZTA that protects ALL residents, regardless of:
o   what part of the County they live in,
o   whether their utilities are above ground or underground, and
o   the type of dwelling they have;
Sure, a ZTA must accommodate the rights of the industry to provide wireless services.
But, we want a better ZTA; one that protects our rights, too – and requires wireless facilities to have the least possible adverse impacts on our neighborhoods! 
Please join your neighbors and friends at 7:30pm on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 to tell the County Council that you OPPOSE Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 18-02.
3rd Floor Hearing Room

Please let us know if you are attending. We need a head count. We really need folks to commit ahead of time. Please RSVP at to let us know you WILL be there.   
Free Parking is available after 6:00pm in the Council Office Building (COB) Garage.  Entrance is on E. Jefferson St. (Rt. 28) on the right just beforeintersection at Monroe Street.
This will likely be the ONLY public hearing on ZTA 18-02, so PLEASE attend!
Be sure to alert your friends and neighbors – and pass along this email.
More details can be found on the website.
Contact us with any questions at