‘Why is nothing being done?’: Concerns grow about drug use, fighting in Montgomery Co. school bathrooms

For many students in Montgomery County public schools, the bathrooms remain a no-go zone due to drug use and fighting.

That’s according to testimony at the most recent Board of Education meeting on April 11.

During the public comment segment of the meeting, David Gebler, an English teacher at Kennedy High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, told board members that often, “the halls reek of marijuana.”

“Usually, drug use occurs in our bathrooms,” Gebler said. “But vaping directly in the hall is becoming popular.”

“Last school year, we had vape detection sensors active in our bathrooms to detect drug use. They were removed over the summer without the knowledge of our new and incoming administration,” Gebler told the board, adding that there are also reports of unknown persons entering school grounds to engage in drug trade.

Gebler insisted that the issues he mentioned were not unique to Kennedy High School.

Montgomery County student member of the board Sami Saeed appeared clearly frustrated as he told the members of the board he knew exactly what students are saying.

“The fights are getting out of hand, the bathrooms are not being monitored,” Saeed said.

Saeed, who authored a resolution on school safety and security that was approved by the board in November, said he just recently asked students to give him feedback on school safety.

“The number one thing they said was literally ‘why is nothing being done?’ That’s what they told me,” Saeed explained to the board.

Acting chief safety officer Adaeze Ezeofor-Andrews told Saeed that she “wholeheartedly” agreed that the school system needs to move faster on updating security improvements, but that it would require collaboration.

“We have our work cut out for us,” Ezeofor-Andrews said. “Our shop can’t do it alone.”

In an April 2 letter to the MCPS community, interim superintendent Monique Felder said that adding security cameras, weapons and vape detectors are under consideration “for the future.” She added that there is continuous monitoring of school grounds, and urged parents with concerns to contact their principals.

“These things should have been addressed six months ago, while we’re saying it’s going to be next year,” Saeed said.

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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.

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