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A Safety and Security Message

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The following message was emailed to MCPS staff and families on Wednesday, May 22. It is reprinted below in its entirety.

During the week of May 13, the Montgomery County Police Department responded to three disruptive threats at three schools, within a two-day period, and we experienced additional threats early this week. In each case, investigation by MCPD deemed the threats “not credible” and no hazardous devices or weapons were detected by police at any of the schools. 

As always, we thank our law enforcement partners and supporting public safety agencies for their swift work and expertise in assessing each incident and assisting MCPS with emergency response. 

MCPS takes all threats to schools seriously. In addition to coordinating efforts with MCPD, MCPS supported each school to ensure the safety of students and staff and the return to teaching and learning as quickly as possible. 

It is important to note that the response at each school is always based on a variety of factors, including the specificity of the threat, the situation at the school at the time of the threat, the best way to ensure student and staff safety at that time and, when appropriate, the ability to return to teaching and learning. 

In all cases, when a threat is received, schools immediately call 911 and concurrently call together the on-site emergency team. While the exact next steps are dependent upon the unique situation at hand, the protocols followed are:

  • Law enforcement and MCPS security begin to assess the credibility of the threat and the potential risks to students, staff, school buildings and the community.
  • The initial decision to shelter-in-place, lockdown or evacuateis made by the school principal or designated administrator, guided by the specifics of the threat, the situation at the school, and any conversation with law enforcement. 
  • If warranted, law enforcement conducts a thorough building assessment and performs other necessary steps.
  • Once law enforcement determines the school is safe, they provide clearance to the building and return control to MCPS.
  • Schools return to teaching and learning, dismissal, or execute a parent/child reunification plan.

For school safety reasons, families should not go to a school while the building and grounds are under active law enforcement control. When a school emergency prompts a shelter-in-place, lockdown or evacuation, MCPS will communicate with families, including updates at least every 20 minutes until the situation has been cleared. We again affirm our dedication to safe, welcoming learning environments for all students, and will continue to work with our school communities and MCPD to refine processes and procedures in response to emergencies.


Brian Hull, Chief Operating Officer
Montgomery County Public Schools