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Office of the Superintendent of Schools

MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS


Rockville, Maryland
J une 11, 2013
CONFIDENTIAL
MEMORANDUM
To: Members of the Board of Education
Cl-i<u_~~
J oshua P. Starr, Superintendent of Stfufo't~" From:
Subject: Process to Monitor Allegations of Inappropriate Behavior
The purpose of this memorandum is to inform you that the Office of Human Resources and
Development (OHRD) has developed a plan to improve the process for tracking and managing
information regarding allegations ofinappropriate interactionsbetweenMontgomery CountyPublic
Schools (MCPS) employees andstudents. Thisprocessimprovement istheresultof studyingseveral
cases allegingtheoccurrence of inappropriatebehavior. Thereviewhighlightedtheneedtomaintain
information about both formal and informal reporting of inappropriate behavior, regardless as to
whether thereports were or werenot substantiated.
The new process has been developed to track suspected child abuse, other interactions of a
questionable nature concerning employees and students, and to identify repeated concerns. The
process for reporting suspected child abuse andneglect remains in accordance with the law. In
addition, aformhas beendeveloped that will needtobecompleted byaprincipal or supervisor once
he/she is made aware of an allegation. The information will besubmitted to OHRD andwil1be
recorded in a confidential database that will be monitored with alerts in place when another
occurrence of similar behavior is reported. Theinformation will be kept in aconfidential filein
OHRD and will be reviewed regularly only by the associate superintendent, the director of the
Performance Evaluation andCompliance Unit, andtheinvestigation specialist inOHRD. OHRD
staff has met withrepresentatives fromthethreeemployee associations to reviewthenewprocess
and discuss any concerns.
Principals and supervisors will receive training on this new reporting protocol. If you have
questions, please contact Mr. Larry A. Bowers, chief operating officer, at 301-279-3626 or
Mrs. CaroleC. Goodman, associate superintendent, Officeof Human Resources andDevelopment,
at 301-279-3270.
J PS:slw
Copy to:
Mr. Bowers
Dr. Schiavino-Narvaez
Dr. Statham
Mrs. Goodman
Mrs. Cuttitta
Mr. Prouty
Dr. Mugge
This e-mail message has been approved for distribution by Mr. Larry A. Bowers, chief operating
officer. No hard copy will be distributed.
ACTION REQUESTED
Office of theChief Operating Officer
MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Rockville, Maryland
August 28, 2013
MEMORANDUM
To: Principals andDirectors (}
LarryA. Bowers,Chief OperatingOfficeJ vt.>
ACTION-Process for Monitoring Suspicious andInappropriate Interactions
bet:weenStaff and Students
From:
Subject:
The purpose of this memorandum is to advise you that the Office of Human Resources and
Development (OHRD) has developed a process to improve the tracking of allegations of
suspicious or inappropriate interactions between Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)
employees andstudents.
This process was developed as the result of studying several cases in which inappropriate
interactions by anemployee occurred over anextended time and in different work locations or at
thesame location but with changes in administrative teams. The review highlighted theneed to
maintain information centrally from both formal and informal reporting of such behavior
whether the reports were or were not substantiated and to assist in establishing patterns of
inappropriate behavior to beaddressed by OHRD.
There areno changes to the mandated reporting procedure in cases of suspected abuse, neglect,
and mental injury. The procedures for addressing those issues are outlined in the MCPS
Regulation J HC-RA, Child Abuse and Neglect, which is available online at-
http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd. orgldepartments/policylpdf/jhcra.pdf
Some inappropriate behaviors, such as social contact with students that are not related to the
employee's job functions, may merit further investigation by either staff at the work location or
by OHRD. Other events might occur that might seemsuspicious, but which require no further
action other than reminding the employee of the proper procedures or practices. The process is
outlined inthe attached document, Process for Addressing a Report of Inappropriate Interaction
with a Student (Attachments A). The form, Report of Suspicious/Inappropriate Interaction with
a Student, is designed to document these types of events (Attachment B). OHRD will maintain a
PrincipalsandDirectors 2 August 28, 2013
confidential database to identify any employee who has multiple incidents that are of a
suspicious or inappropriate nature.
At the August 15, 2013, Superintendent's Administrative and Supervisory meeting,
Dr. J oshua P. Starr outlined his expectations that all staff members areto report any suspicious
staff-to-student interactions immediately to their principal or supervisor. A video of Dr. Starr's
comments isavailable onYouTube to use asaresource inaddressing this topic with your staff at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YmHJyOE.fbQ&feature=youtu.be. Talking points on the
process for monitoring interactions between staff and students are attached for you to use to
informstaff to increase their level of vigilance regarding suspicious or inappropriate behavior
towards students (Attachment C). Also, theprocedures for conducting investigations of staff are
attached (Attachment D). Additional information will be shared at the Central Services Meeting
withPrincipals on October 25, 2013. Arrangements will be made to share this information with
nonschool-based supervisors.
It is critical that you follow procedures outlined in this memorandum and the attachments and
that your staff is aware that they must report any concerns they have about inappropriate
behavior to you or another administrator in your building. You also must be aware of previously
documentedconcerns about inappropriate behavior by staff inyour building.
If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Robert B. Grundy, director, Performance
EvaluationandCompliance Unit, OHRD, at 301-279-3361.
LAB:cdd
Attachments
Copyto:
ExecutiveStaff
Mrs. Cuttitta
Dr. Mugge
Mr. Prouty
Process for Addressing
A Report of Suspicious/Inappropriate
Interaction with a Student
Principal/supervisor observes or receives
information of suspkious/inappropriate
interaction by an employee with astudent
from a student, parent, staff member, or
other member of the community
Is Child Abuse Suspected? --

NO
Child abuse is NOT
suspected
YES
Child abuse is
suspected
Contact Child
Protective
Services at
240-777-3596
1
Complete Form: Report of
Suspicious/Inappropriate
Interaction with a Student
Contact the
appropriate
associate
superintendent
of school
support and
Contact the
director of
Performance
Evaluation and
Compliance Unit
;mpco~e~
Signthe form and
send to the Office of
I .,1Human Resources and
Development (OHRD),
Performance Evaluation
and Compliance
Complete MCPSForm 335-44: Report of
Suspected Child Abuse, Neglect, and
Mental Injury. Fileform as required and
send a copy to OHRD.
OHRDenters information
andscansform into
restricted databasefor
monitoring
Attachment A
Attachment B
Report of Suspicious/Inappropriate Interaction with a Student
PerformanceEvaluationandComplianceUnit, Officeof HumanResourcesand Development
QMONTCO.'rim
MONTGOMERYCOUNTYPUBLICSCHOOLS
COUNT't ruau<
SCHOOIS /'"\
Rockville,Maryland20850
~-
CONFIDENTIAL
Thisformis usedto document a principal/supervisor's concernsof an employee's interactions with a student that are, or
appearto be, inappropriate or suspicious in nature. If child abuseis suspected, Child Protective,Services;the associate
superintendentof school support and improvement; andthe director of performance evaluation andcompliancemust be
notified, andMCPSForm335-44: Report of SuspectedChildAbuse, Neglect, and Mental Injury completed. If childabuseis
not suspected,this Report of Suspicious/InappropriateInteraction with a Student form is to be usedto document concerns
such as physical contact of a questionable nature (sitting on lap, back rub, etc.), social communication unrelated to
classroomactivity (texting, personal phone calls, etc.), excessivetime with astudent out of the class,or beingalone with
the student under suspicious circumstances (room locked and/or dark, in personal vehicle without parent's permission,
etc.). Information contained in this report is confidential and is kept in a restricted database in the Office of Human
ResourcesandDevelopment.
Nameof employeeof concern:
EmployeeIDnumber: Work Location:
Dateof reportedincident: Reportedby:
Contactinformation for reporter:
Descriptionof incident of concern:
Actiontakenbyprincipal/supervisor:
Theemployeemustbeinformed of the concernandof expectationsinthe future. Howwasthis done?
(Checkall that apply)
--
Conference
--
Memorandumfor the record __ Verbal/written warning
Principal/Supervisor'sName (PRINT) Signature Date
ForOHRDUse:WasChildProtectiveServicescontacted?
-
Yes
-
No
WasMCPSForm335-44completed?_ Yes
-
No
-
Enteredinto database
-
Scannedto file
Attachment C
Talking Points on the Process for Monitoring Suspicious and Inappropriate
Interactions between Staff and Students
The Office of Human Resources and Development (OHRD) in consultation with the
Department of Association Relations, the Montgomery County Association for
Administrators and Principals, the Montgomery County Education Association, and the
Service Employees International Union Local 500, has developed a process for
documenting concerns about suspicious/inappropriate interactions between employees
andstudents that do or donot riseto thelevel of necessitating areport to Child Protective
Services (CPS) or requesting aninvestigation.
Student safety is always the number one priority for every Montgomery County Public
Schools (MCPS) employee.
Because of the mobility of staff within MCPS, aperpetrator could engage in a series of
incidents that may not look right or sound right, and each event may be treated as an
initial incident.
It was determined that a process was needed to catalogue any suspicious/inappropriate
actions between staff and students to determine if a pattern exists, and if necessary take
further action.
We need to be vigilant that "if you see something, say something," when it comes to
incidents involving staff andstudents that just may not seemright.
Often times, staff may be reluctant to report suspicious activity because of the concern
about casting a colleague in an unfavorable light; however, not reporting can place a
student indanger. Our first andforemost responsibility is toour students.
Principals and supervisors will be responsible for addressing all reported incidents. In
many incidents, this will consist of asimple reminder of proper practices. If theincident
is more serious, principals and supervisors will utilize existing protocols for addressing
suspected child abuseor employee misconduct.
The employee must be informed of the concern and of expectations to guide future
interactions with students.
Records of all reported suspicious/inappropriate interactions will be maintained in a
restricted database in OHRD to monitor any repetition of suspicious/inappropriate
interactions which may merit further investigation.
Remember-if you seesomething, say something.
Attachment D
INVESTIGATIONS OF STAFF
WHENARE INVESTIGATIONS NECESSARY
Investigations are necessary when inappropriate, unprofessional, or criminal behavior is observed or
alleged. Thepurpose of the investigation is to determinewho is responsible for the behavior, what the
behavior consistedof, andwhat stepsanddisciplinary action, if necessary, needto betaken asafollow-up
totheinvestigation.
Anonymous notification of the behavior stated above is not discounted. For the employee's benefit,
he/sheisto bemadeawareof anonymous allegations andgiven theopportunity to address what has been
stated.
OFFlCES/PERSONNEL RESPONSIBLE FOR CONDUCTING J NVESTIGATIONS
>- Principals/Supervisors or Designees
~ Officeof theChief Technology Officer; Officeof SharedAccountability
>::- Officeof Special EducationandStudent Services
> Officeof School Support and Improvement
- Officeof HumanResources andDevelopment
~ Other MCPSOffices as appropriate
>- Department of HealthandHumanServices/Child WelfareServices and/or Family Crimes
Division/Montgomery County Department of Police
DETERMJ NATION OF TNVESTIGATINGOFFICE
lncidents or allegations of incidents that necessitate consideration of an investigation are to bereported
immediately to the appropriate community superintendent. Additional reports to the Office of the Chief
Technology Officer, the Department of Student Services, the Office of Human Resources and
Development, or other MCPS offices may berecommended by thecommunity superintendent or required
byprocedure. Theassociatesuperintendent fromtheOfficeof School Support andImprovement, often in
consultationwithother offices, will determineif theinvestigation isto beconducted at theschool level or
inconjunctionwithanother office.
Most incidents of unprofessional behavior such as inappropriate language, loss of temper,
insubordination, or touching (inanonsexual manner) of students arehandled attheschool/local level by a
school administrator/supervisor or designee. However, if the offense is not the first to becommitted by
the individual, and in accordance with the progressive discipline procedures, the above-stated offenses
may need to beinvestigated at another level. A request to have an office outside the school conduct an
investigationof acertificated employee issubmitted to the appropriatecommunity superintendent. If the
request isdetermined to beappropriate, thecommunity superintendent requests an investigation fromthe
associatesuperintendent, Officeof HumanResources andDevelopment. A request for an investigation of
a substitute teacher or a supporting services employee should be submitted, in writing, to the director,
PerformanceEvaluationandCompliance Unit, Officeof HumanResources andDevelopment
Tf allegations of test security violations are reported, principals should refer to the March 5, 2008,
memorandum, Protocol for the Review of Alleged Test Security Violations. Timely notification to the
AssociateSuperintendent of SharedAccountability andtheOfficeof School Support and Improvement is
critical. Identificationof theinvestigating party will bedependent uponthenatureof theviolation.
2
Principals need to be aware that allegations of child abuse, neglect, or mental/physical injury are
handled in a different manner than all other allegations. Once school staff is made aware of such an
allegation, questioning of the student should cease. The Department of Health and Human Services/Child
Welfare Services (240-777-4417) or the Family Crimes Division of the Montgomery County
Department of Police (240- 773-5400) must be contacted immediately. A written report also will be
required within 48 hours of notification. No further questioning by school system staff is to take place
until clearance is given by either the Child Welfare Services or the Family Crimes Division. An
ombudsperson is available at 240- 777-3596 to assist school personnel in clarifying concerns about
child maltreatment cases.
INVESTIGATIONS CONDUCTED BY A SCHOOL ADMfNISTRATOR/DESIGNEE
>- Notify the appropriate community superintendent of your need to conduct an investigation. A serious
incident report or a report "for the record" documenting the incident and follow-up action should be
prepared, as appropriate.
>:- Conduct all interviews with a second staff member present as a witness.
);- Ask detailed questions regarding exactly what happened.
Get a signed, written statement from the complainant. lfthe complainant is ayoung student (or unable to
write), astaff member may take thestatement, read it back to the complainant for approval, and havethem
sign and date the statement. The note taker also should sign and date the statement and include their
position title.
.>- Always contact parents when students are involved and need to be interviewed. It is advisable to even
contact the parents of students who have reached the age of majority. Parents often ask to attend the
interview. This is permissible.
>- Interview witnesses or others who may corroborate what the complainant has a.lleged. Ask for all
possible individuals who may have knowledge of the incident and will need to be interviewed.
Request a signed and dated written statement from the witness.
~ Inform the complainant and all witnesses named by the complainant that they are responsible for
maintaining confidentiality.
~ If sexual harassment is alleged, refer to the Board of Education Policy ACF, Sexual Harassment, and
MCPS Regulation ACF-RA,. Sexual Harassment. Make sure that the complainant and alleged
perpetrator are never required to meet together as part of the investigation. When interviewing the
complainant, ask how what was said or done made him/her feel. Ask the complainant what possible
relief he/she is expecting as a result of the investigation. Never make or indicate any promises about
what will happen.
The telephone number for the Employee Assistance Program should be made available to the
complainant and alleged perpetrator (240-314-1040).
School administrators must report suspected student to student sexual harassment and incidents of
sexual harassment involving parents or members of the community to the appropriate community
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3
superintendent in the Office of School Support and lmprovement. Staff to student or staff to staff
sexua! harassment incidents should be reported to the director, Performance Evaluation and
Compliance Unit, Office of Human Resources and Development. It also is recommended that
~~ministrators contact the director, Performance Evaluation and Compliance Unit, if conducting an
it-house investigation (301-279-3361).
);> I the allegations involve complaints of any type against another staff member, the complainant
s ould provide the name of the alleged perpetrator and names of possible witnesses. Interview the
~
1
~egedperp~t~at~r ~nd take a signed, written stat~ment. from this individu~I. Take stateme~ts .fromall
itnesses this individual asks you to contact. Notify them of your expectation for confidentiality.
~ eviewall statements and check to make sure that written/typed statements-
are signed and dated,
assign atime frame (as specific as possible) to the incident(s),
indicate if areport of an incident is first hand or if it is hearsay,
are as precise as possible, and
identify all persons mentioned inthe statement.
) .> - 1}clarification is needed, return to any party who submitted astatement.
> J ake a decision regarding culpability, prepare a report, and determine the extent of disciplinary
ab ion if appropriate.
Disciplinary action avai Iable to aschool administrator consists of:
I an oral reprimand,
a written reprimand, or
1 removal from aspecific responsibility or privilege.
~ Written reprimands should be in letter form and should state-
j that the J etter is indeed a reprimand,
the allegations leading to the investigation,
1 the findings, and
that "any further instances of inappropriate behavior will require a recommendation for more
serious disciplinary action."
) > J mployees receiving reprimands should sign or initial acopy of the reprimand that will be placed in
tlfeir school or personnel file, as appropriate. The reprimand should be included in the data used to
cpnduct the individual's next performance evaluation. A sampleletter of reprimand is availablein
thesampleletters section.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR DURING AN "OUTSIDE"
INVESTIGA TlON
I
r 'Ilhe contacting of students' parents is handled by aschool administrator or designee.
I
>:> It is advisable that school administrators or their designee sit in as an observer on interviews of
students conducted by an outside investigator.
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4
> Initial (which may become final) statements are often taken under the direction of the school
administrator.
);:- lf suspected child abuse and neglect is reported-
an oral report needs to be made as "soon as is reasonably possible,"
a written report, MCPS Form 335-44: Report of Suspected Child Abuse and/or Child Neglect,
must be submitted within 48 hours by the person making the original oral report, and
a call to the Child Welfare Services ombudsperson should be made for questions/information
(240- 777-3596).
~ If the police request directory information, it should be provided.
~ Statements must be kept confidential. Police must subpoena any statements if they want them unless
it is determined that a person or persons is or will be in "immediate danger" if police are not given
information.
~ The investigation, the resolution, and any subsequent action must be kept confidential.
>- Disciplinary action by the superintendent of schools or designee may consist of-
awritten reprimand,
demotion,
suspension,
transfer,
coursework,
reassignment, or
termination.
PLACING AN EMPLOYEE ON LEAVE DURING AN INVESTIGATfON
The "responsible administrator," acting in accordance with MCPS Administrative Regulation GJ C-RA,
Suspension and Termination of Professional Personnel, can place a certificated employee (e.g. teacher,
counselor) on leave as an emergency measure. This leave cannot exceed one duty day. lf the certificated
employee is to be placed on additional leave, it is done under the authority of the superintendent of
schools. A request to place a supporting services employee on leave must be submitted, in writing, to the
associate superintendent, Office of Human Resources and Development.
During investigations, employees are most often placed on leave with salary. It is sometimes possible to
place an employee at another work location rather than resorting to paid leave. Certain charges prevent
the option of permitting the employee to continue to work with students or other employees during an
investigation.
While on administrative leave, the employee is not allowed to be on school grounds or attend events at
any MCPS location without the express permission of the superintendent of schools or his designee. The
duration of leave cannot be predicted. Some investigations involve taking statements from many
individuals. If police and/or Child Welfare Services are involved, clearance must be obtained prior to
MCPS initiating an investigation. Only the superintendent of schools or his designee can return an
individual to an assignment and prior to his signature, the case is reviewed and approved by the associate
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superintendent of the Office of Human Resources and Development, legal counsel for MCPS, the director
of association relations, and thedeputy superintendent of schools.
PERTlNENT POLICTESAND REGULA TTONS FOR REFERRAL
ACF
ACF-RA
COB-RA
GJ C-RA
GJ C-EA
Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment
Reporting a Serious School Incident
Suspension and Termination of Professional Personnel
Suspension or Dismissal of Teachers, Principals, andOther Professional Personnel (State
Law)
Discipline or Discharge of Supporting Services Employees
Student Rights and Responsibilities
GJ D-RB
J FA- RA
TBD
Director, Performance Evaluation and Compliance
Office of Human Resources and Development
301-279-3361
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