Parents call on Md. school officials to clear up discipline policies

WASHINGTON — Parents at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School took a vote to stand behind their principal and call for Montgomery County Public Schools to clear up its policies regarding principals disciplining students.

The vote took place in a meeting by the BCC PTSA, which the media were not allowed to attend. The meeting centered around interim superintendent Larry Bower’s reversal of BCC principal Donna Redmond Jones’ decision to bar six students from commencement ceremonies because they showed up to prom drunk.

The decision sparked controversy at the school with students, parents and staff falling on all sides of the decision.

“We want the Board of Education to clarify a policy by which a principal can enforce consequences for the use of illegal drugs and alcohol and school sponsored events,” said parent Jeanne Rossomme after the meeting.

The PTSA will now send a petition to Bowers and the Board of Education which questions his reversal, officially supports Jones, and calls for more uniform policies on what a principal can and can’t do, in their mission to prevent underage drinking and illegal drug use at school functions.

“Please clarify your policy and how it is implemented, in order to uphold the authority of Principals and ensure impartiality and consistency throughout all schools in the County,” the petition reads.

“We have to approach this issue as a united community,” said parent Matt Gandel.

With graduation season now over, any changes at a county or school level will only affect future graduates. Gandel said what happens here will impact more than just the BCC community.

“Every high school in the county faces similar challenges,” he said.

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