School Notes: Scenes from Around Montgomery County on National Walkout Day

School Notes: Scenes from Around Montgomery County on National Walkout Day

Plus: Durso approves of Leggett's budget plan; Germantown school employee wins labor union award

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A student walkout at Thomas W. Pyle Middle School on Wednesday

Courtesy photo

Montgomery County students captured national attention on Wednesday.

The hundreds of students who made their way to Washington, D.C., to demonstrate on the one-month anniversary of the Parkland, Florida, shooting were aired on national news networks and covered by print and online media outlets.

But back in Montgomery County, many other students were making statements in other ways.

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) administrators had discouraged students from leaving campus because of safety concerns. Still, MCPS expressed support for students who wanted to express their views on school violence, gun control and other issues, and many principals offered the young people a way to do so without walking off school property.

At Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, scores of students gathered outside the building to remember the 17 victims of the Florida shooting, according to a tweet by Assistant Principal Rainer Kulenkampff. Some of the high schoolers wore orange, the color of the gun violence prevention movement, and released orange balloons into the sky.

Students at Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville carried signs onto the football field, Principal Myriam Yarbrough said. The scoreboard displayed the number 17 and the word, “Enough.”

Younger students also joined in. At Argyle Middle School in Silver Spring, students marched and carried signs around a field. Westland Middle School students also held a 17-minute walkout, according to a tweet by Principal Alison Serino. Cabin John Middle School also posted on social media about how Potomac students were observing the national walkout day.

“Proud of our Cabin John students remembering the lives lost to gun violence in schools with speeches, poetry, and a moment of silence while reading the names of gun victims,” the tweet read.

School board president, superintendent praise Leggett’s budget plan

County Executive Ike Leggett’s operating budget proposal has gotten a warm reception from the school system.

The spending plan introduced Thursday would fully fund the school system’s proposed $2.59 billion operating budget. 

“Each dollar of our proposed $2.59 billion budget is critical to ensuring that all students have the opportunities and resources needed to meet their full potential,” school board President Michael Durso and Superintendent Jack Smith said in a joint statement. “We urge the County Council to support the county executive’s recommendation and provide the funding we need to ensure that we serve students well and improve the educational outcomes for all MCPS students.”

Hallie Wells building manager honored for dedicated service

Stephen Ricketts, building service manager at Hallie Wells Middle School in Germantown, has been named supporting services employee of the year by a Montgomery County labor union.

Ricketts, a 36-year employee of MCPS, will be honored at the Champions for Children celebration on April 18 at BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, according to a school system blog post.

“Honestly, I believe Mr. Ricketts is, hands down, the best employee in all of MCPS,” Hallie Wells Principal Barbara Woodward wrote in her letter nominating Ricketts for the SEIU Local 500 recognition.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at

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