In the first formal report released publicly since a student was critically injured in a shooting at Col. Zadok Magruder High School, district officials say additional training is needed for some employees and communication protocols should be reviewed.
Shortly before 1 p.m. Jan. 21, a 16-year-old boy was shot and seriously injured in a bathroom at the Derwood school. Prosecutors have said the suspect purchased and assembled a privately made firearm, or ghost gun, online, then brought the loaded gun to school knowing that there would be a confrontation.
The victim’s mother testified in court recently that the boy was on life support for three weeks following the shooting and was expected to have a 10th surgery soon.
In an “after action report,” required by state law, Montgomery County Public Schools officials met with leaders of the Maryland Center for School Safety to review the shooting. The full review meeting was held April 7, according to the report, released Monday night by MCPS.
The report summarizes the shooting and the response of the district and the county police department.
It provides six “incident observations and lessons learned,” including:
• MCPS, police and fire and rescue services should develop a training video for front office staff about emergency call processes and what information should be provided. (MCPS and police leaders have said the situation was “complicated” because the injured student did not initially cooperate with first responders, so they did not immediately know he had been shot.)
• A school nurse who provided first aid by using a “stop the bleed” kit contributed to “saving this student’s life.” Kits should be placed in all schools, and training should be provided to staff members, the report said.
• The community engagement officer assigned to the school cluster was the first to arrive at the scene, and got there in approximately seven minutes. He provided important information to police to explain the severity of the situation and expedite the response of backup.
• MCPS and other county agencies should hold a “joint incident command training session.”
• Communication during a prolonged lockdown, like the one at Magruder that lasted several hours, “will be evaluated” to “ensure what technologies are available for staff to receive critical information and updates using cell phone and computer technology.” Also, “options should be explored as to how students and staff can use the restrooms” during lockdowns. (Families raised concerns in the days following the shooting about MCPS’ communication with them while their children were in lockdown. They said the updates they received from MCPS were uninformative and contradictory at times. Some students told Bethesda Beat that they had to use bottles to go to the bathroom because they were not allowed to leave their classrooms.)
• MCPS and the police department should “review whether appropriate” law enforcement agencies have access to “school-issued key fobs” so officers “are able to gain rapid entry into MCPS schools.”
In a message to the community releasing the report, MCPS wrote: “Although each incident is unique and what has been learned following this event will improve readiness for the future, it remains true that the robust relationship between MCPS and all Montgomery police agencies is foundational to safety in our schools.”
The 17-year-old has been charged as an adult with attempted murder, assault and multiple weapons offenses. Police have identified the defendant; Bethesda Beat generally does not name juveniles who have been charged with crimes.
The alleged shooter was located and arrested in a classroom with other students around 3 p.m. that day, according to police.
Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org