Dear MCPS High School Families,
We want to bring to your attention the concern we all share around the impact of guns on our communities, youth and schools and they present an increasing and significant danger nationwide. As a result, Montgomery County Public Schools in collaboration with Montgomery County State’s Attorney's Office and the Montgomery County Police Department are partnering to educate our high school students about how to keep schools and students safe. This important partnership importantly rests on awareness, knowledge, and education as key ingredients in doing so.
Here are the facts:
National data from the Gun Violence Archive reports that the number of teenagers killed or injured by guns has nearly doubled since 2014 and the number of teenagers involved in unintentional shootings has risen by 44 percent. There are alarming numbers in Montgomery County, too; 790 illegal guns have been seized this year as of Aug. 14, up nearly 75 percent since 2020, when there were 452 guns seized. In Maryland, it is illegal for anyone to possess a firearm until 21 years of age. In fact, anyone 16 or older found in possession of a gun will be charged as an adult.
What students will learn:
Through scheduled high school assemblies throughout the fall of 2022, students will be provided with information on the law and consequences if broken, strategies for youth to solve problems without weapons or violence, and the importance of vigilance and a “see something, say something” approach. The assemblies will also offer information on how to recognize signs that someone may choose violence to harm themselves or others, the anonymous Maryland Tip Line and the importance of a violence-free community.
What you need to know:
These assemblies will begin in the coming days and weeks. Schools will share specific information about when they are scheduled at your child’s high school. We appreciate your continued partnership with MCPS and as parents, guardians and caregivers, we ask that you echo these messages at home. Students must seek a trusted adult for support rather than choosing violence. Families can choose to opt-out their child from these lessons by simply contacting their school administrator.
As a reminder: there is a longstanding policy and discipline established concerning weapons brought to school. Essentially weapons of any kind may not be brought to any MCPS school. Any student found in possession of a gun or other weapon may also be subject to serious disciplinary actions in alignment with the MCPS Student Code of Conduct and potentially in violation of local, state and federal law.
We thank the State’s Attorney’s Office for its commitment and partnership; together, we can work for a safer, vibrant, thriving community.
Dr. Monifa B. McKnight
MCPS Superintendent of Schools
State’s Attorney, Montgomery County
Email us: ASKMCPS@mcpsmd.org