‘Unacceptable’ behavior: Montgomery Co. HS students in Bethesda fight

The principals of two Montgomery County, Maryland, schools are speaking out after an altercation Friday between students at their schools.

Walter Johnson High School Principal Jennifer Baker and Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Principal Shelton Mooney penned a joint letter this week slamming the behavior following Friday’s playoff game.

According to the letter, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase students taunted Walter Johnson High School students and vandalized the bus taking them back to their school. After that, “there were reports of an altercation involving multiple students in downtown Bethesda,” the letter reads.

The principals wrote that administrators, security and police were on the scene, and the incident happened off-campus.

Montgomery County police are investigating.

“The alleged behaviors are alarming and unacceptable and not aligned with either school’s guidelines for responsible behavior,” the letter said. “Student safety is of paramount importance and we expect all students to represent the highest examples of proper behavior as representatives of our individual school communities. We can be athletic rivals safely and respectfully.”

The letter goes on to say that the administrations of both schools are trying to collaborate to “repair the harm done,” and asks parents to talk to their children.

Last month, Walter Johnson High School was vandalized with racist graffiti.

In a letter to the Walter Johnson High School community regarding that incident, Baker said that the vandalism at the Bethesda school included references to white supremacy and other hate speech and said that these symbols are “harmful and unsettling for many” in the community.

Racist graffiti, including the words “White Pride,” was found painted at five locations in Bethesda last month  and the local prosecutor said he intends to try the cases as hate crimes.

In a statement to WTOP, Montgomery County police said they were “investigating graffiti in five locations along Old Georgetown Road, to include Walter Johnson High School, Georgetown Square Shopping Center, two churches, and a museum.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: The story has been updated to correct that the altercations were between students, not football players. We apologize for the error.

WTOP’s Abigail Constantino and Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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