2021 | Schools

UPDATED: Whitman student in custody after police say he assaulted female student at Churchill High

Police say he brandished knife when parent and other students tried to intervene

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Winston Churchill High School in Potomac.

File photo

This story was updated at 5:15 p.m. on Oct. 13, 2021, to add information about the attack and correct where the student with the knife went to school.

A 17-year-old student at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda was taken into custody after Montgomery County police say he assaulted a female student at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac on Wednesday.

The Whitman student went to the bus loop at Churchill and assaulted a female Churchill student on Wednesday, Officer Carlos Cortes-Vazquez, a police spokesman, wrote in an email to Bethesda Beat. The female student sustained minor injuries.

When other students and a parent tried to intervene, the Whitman student threatened them and brandished a knife, Cortes-Vazquez wrote. The student then fled.

Officers figured out the Whitman student was and went to his home in Potomac, where they took him into custody, Cortes-Vazquez wrote.

Police initially said a student brought a knife to school at Churchill and that no one was injured.

In a letter to the school community, Churchill Principal John Taylor wrote that an “unknown assailant” went to the bus loop around 11:35 a.m. and assaulted a Churchill student. When a parent and another Churchill student intervened, the attacker fled, Taylor wrote.

Police later arrived and worked with school employees to secure the building, the letter stated.

“Thankfully, all of the Winston Churchill students are okay, and now home safe with their families. We entered into a Shelter-in-Place for the afternoon in order to notify staff and implement our emergency protocols to help secure the building,” Taylor wrote.

Taylor wrote that the school will be “implementing enhanced monitoring” in the evening during activities and during dismissal.

“This is an unfortunate incident and we will work to implement safety protocols in conjunction with Montgomery County Public Schools Office of Safety and Security in order to ensure the ongoing safety of our students and staff,” he wrote.

 Staff writer Caitlynn Peetz contributed to this story.

 Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com