Starr Releases Statement on Outside Contractors at Schools

File Photo

File Photo

A large crowd of parents met with the administration of John T. Baker Middle School Tuesday night to find out why that school did not alert them for nearly a month about a contractor who allegedly inappropriately touched a student there. Earlier in the day, MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr released the following statement concerning outside contractors used by the school system:

Statement on Background Checks for Contractors Working in Schools
November 11, 2014

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Superintendent issued a statement during the Montgomery County Board of Education meeting on November 11, 2014. The superintendent made the statement following concerns about the presence of outside contractors in MCPS buildings while students are present. Those concerns arose after an incident at John T. Baker Middle School in which the employee of an outside contractor was accused of making inappropriate contact with a student. The incident was quickly investigated and the employee of the contractor was arrested.

 “Currently, contractors who hire employees and subcontractors that work in our buildings around our students are not required to conduct background checks.

 “The recent incident at John T. Baker Middle School involving the employee of a contractor has convinced me that we need to require background checks for all employees and others in our contractors’ workforce if they have unsupervised or uncontrolled access to MCPS facilities when children are present.

 “Currently, Section 11-772 of the Criminal Procedures Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland requires that contractors ensure that none of their employees or subcontractors are on the sex offenders’ registry.  I do not believe this is sufficient or goes far enough.  A background check should be completed to ensure that the employees of contractors meet the same standards required of school system employees. In the Baker incident, the contractor’s employee was not on the sex offenders’ registry and therefore met the current standard of state law. However, since he had been arrested, he might have been screened out.

 “As a result of the Baker incident, all contractors are being requested to provide a letter of assurance by November 21, 2014, that their workforce is in compliance with Section 11-772 of the Criminal Procedures Article.  They also are being reminded that it is their responsibility to provide updated information as their workforce changes. 

 “I also have asked staff to draft regulations that will require our contractors to do background checks and provide the results to MCPS requiring their workforce to meet the same standards that are required of our employees.

 “Finally, as a result of this incident we are reviewing our internal procedures to make sure any allegations like that involving Baker are appropriately reported, investigated and communicated with the school community.  In general, our schools do an excellent job when such issues arise so we will learn from this incident and work to improve.”


Second Student Allegedly Had Inappropriate Contact with Contractor at Baker


A second student in Damascus is alleging she had inappropriate contact with a contractor while at John T. Baker Middle School earlier this month. According to Montgomery County Public Schools Spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala, “A student from Damascus High School that was at Baker Middle School on or about the same day as the other incident has […]

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About 50 Parents Attend Meeting About Alleged Sexual Assault at Damascus School


About 50 parents attended an early morning meeting at John T. Baker Middle School after a student was allegedly sexually assaulted at the school by a contractor working there. Principal Louise Worthington held the meeting for parents who wanted more information about the incident, according to a letter recently sent home to parents. No additional details […]

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What Else Are They Hiding From Us?


Over the years as a child safety advocate I have worked very closely with the Montgomery County Public Schools in my cluster to make sure that when there is a serious incident at the school where one of my children attends that the information is shared proactively to allay panic in the community. I can […]

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About Susan Burkinshaw

Susan Burkinshaw is a 20+ year resident of Montgomery County. She is married and has three children, one in Montgomery County Public Schools, two in college. She has been a community advocate for over 10 years, primarily focusing on public safety, student health and safety, bullying prevention, teen drug and alcohol awareness, and best practices for prevention and intervention strategies, primarily in Montgomery County, Maryland and Montgomery County Public Schools. Susan was recognized by The White House as a Champion of Change for Parents on Education in April, 2012, and is a graduate of the Leadership Montgomery Class of 2012, and a former member of the Board of Directors of Montgomery County Council of PTAs. She is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School MBA program. Susan is also an advocate for the arts, serving as Treasurer of the Board of Trustees for BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown. Susan works full time as Controller for CPR MultiMedia Solutions, a live events production company headquartered in Gaithersburg. In April 2015, Susan was appointed by the County Executive to the Montgomery County Transit Taskforce.


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