Md. principal apologizes for setting up ‘smash space’ for teachers

WASHINGTON — A principal and her elementary school are under investigation after Montgomery County schools confirm she set up a “smash space” designed for teachers to relieve stress by using baseball bats on a broken rocking chair.

In a letter to parents, Kensington Parkwood Elementary School Principal Barbara Leiss apologized for setting up the space on school grounds. Leiss’ letter indicates the space was set up on March 8.

“I got the idea after reading some business articles that discussed companies providing items to be smashed as a way to reduce stress. This was a lapse in judgment,” Leiss wrote.

The “smash space” was set up on Kensington Parkwood Elementary’s loading dock, according to a letter to parents from its principal. (Courtesy MCPS)

The space, which was apparently on the school’s loading dock, is no longer there, Montgomery County schools spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala said.

“MCPS does not condone this behavior by our staff.  It is counter to our mission and our values. We take this matter very seriously and continue to investigate this incident,” wrote Sarah Sirgo, the director of school support and improvement who oversees the school.

“MCPS has a long-standing commitment to providing its employees with wellness support to help staff manage stress,” Sirgo said in the statement.

Ojiala would not comment on whether Leiss or any other employees have been disciplined, citing the investigation.

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