Damascus High School incident prompts MCPS to issue new guidelines for athletic supervision

A stock photo of a Montgomery County Public Schools bus. Dec. 23, 2015. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

An incident inside a locker room at Damascus High School last fall has led Montgomery County Public Schools to issue new guidelines and expectations for the supervision of student athletes before, during, and after athletic events.

The first four pages of the memo released yesterday lays out in explicit terms the expectations of coaches, students, parents and school administrators.

The document makes clear coaches are in charge of supervising athletes in locker rooms before a game or practice, and that locker rooms should be locked and off limits to students if a coach or, in the case where the coach is of the opposite gender of the student-athletes, another authority figure isn’t present.

The guidelines were first reported by Bethesda Magazine, which got a look at them on the same day The Washington Post described new details about the incident that took place last fall at Damascus High School.

The memo also makes clear that coaches or athletic directors must remain on campus until all team members have left school property, and that coaches must accompany their team back to school following an event elsewhere in the county.

Coaches are also required to show a PowerPoint presentation to athletes regarding “promoting a positive culture” that also touches on hazing and bullying.

The county is also requiring coaches to lay out in detail how they plan to supervise their athletes before, during and after practices and games. Whether it be on the field, in a locker room, or anywhere else on campus they might gather.

Backup plans also need to be spelled out ahead of time in case something comes up that prevents a coach from being in attendance. The documents must be signed by the coach, as well as the school’s principal and athletic director.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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