Montgomery Co. school issues statement after verbal altercation on outdoor track

The principal of Churchill High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, posted a note to the school community urging users of its outdoor facilities, including the track, to call police should they see “behaviors that should not be tolerated.”

Principal Brandice Heckert’s note comes days after an incident that was described by Adrien McDonald, the athletic director at the McLean School in Potomac, on his Facebook page.

McDonald said he was having a training session on the track with several students on Sunday morning, when he was approached by a man who told him to get out of the way and that McDonald was blocking the lane on the track.

McDonald said he was on the edge of the track, taking up a part of lane 8.

“I look at lanes 1 through 7 and see that as an adequate space to be in,” and said he pointed out to the unidentified man that the other lanes on the track were available.

McDonald said the man replied by asking, “What are you going to do the next time when I step on your head when I come around?”

McDonald said he continued to work out and that the man passed him a second time, backpedaling and making punching motions in the air.

“I was taking up maybe 2% of the track and he had the 98%, and that still wasn’t good enough,” McDonald said.

Two women in the bleachers called out to McDonald, asking him if he was OK. He told them he was fine, but he asked them, “if they could just record in case he came around and was acting belligerent.”

A woman did begin recording the interaction on her phone. In the video, the man and a woman can be seen and heard yelling that McDonald was taking up the lane. The man can be overheard saying, “This man’s standing in the track!”

The woman who recorded the incident can be overheard telling the couple, “You’re harassing this man,” meaning McDonald, who is standing off to the side.

The woman who recorded the interaction at one point tells the man to leave McDonald alone, to just, “Go away,” and the man appeared to become angrier.

He approached McDonald and said, “This is the United States of America; I’m not going nowhere! If I want to stay out here till 5 o’clock in the morning, I can, so don’t tell me to go anywhere!”

The couple eventually walked away with the unidentified man calling out, “Trump 2020! Donald Trump! We want Trump!”

McDonald said he told the students with him that the incident was a teachable moment.

“You all see how he was treating other people, let’s move forward together to make sure that we can always be kind,” McDonald said.

McDonald said he wanted to make clear that he has always felt welcome to use the Churchill High School facilities and that he doesn’t see the experience as a reflection on the school community.

“I couldn’t be any more pleased with the principal from Churchill and the preventive measures that she’s putting in place,” he said.

WTOP was unable to establish the identity of the man and woman on the track who approached McDonald.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2020 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up