Inspector General Report Confirms Beidleman Misconduct

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report Friday detailing the results of their investigation into the conduct of Dr. Joel Beidleman while he was an MCPS principal at Farquhar Middle School. The report concludes that Dr. Beidleman did engage in misconduct during his tenure at the school.

According to the report, the OIG confirmed allegations Beidleman repeatedly made inappropriate sexual references about female subordinates, engaged in bullying behavior, and had a sexual relationship with an employee whom he supervised.

The report cites behavior that created a tense atmosphere where disagreement with Beidleman left employees afraid to respond to his policies honestly, fear for their jobs and feel disrespected. This conduct was found to be in violation of the MCPS’ Employee Code of Conduct.

In the Memorandum of Investigation filed with the report, the OIG found a total of 23 complaints against Dr. Beidleman. Six were filed after a Washington Post article questioned the promotion of Beidleman to principal at Paint Branch High School given the 17 complaints sent to MCPS since 2018.

The scope of the OIG investigation included emailing all 83 Farquhar MS teachers and staff, forensic examination of Beidleman’s MCPS issued computers and contact with the Washington Post reporters. Thirty-one individuals were interviewed, 15 of whom claimed to be victims of sexual harassment.

Employees reported feeling “powerless” in the face of the sexual comments. One said she changed her routines to avoid his unwanted behavior. Thinking he preferred blondes, she dyed her hair brown and believes she subconsciously put on weight to discourage his attention.

Councilmember Will Jawando, chair of the Education Committee issued a statement regarding the current findings:

“Rebuilding trust and repairing the harm that teachers and students have experienced will take time. I am committed to ensuring MCPS implements new policies with fidelity and accountability along with better communication to the school community.”

MCP Superintendent Dr. Monica McKnight said in a statement Friday, “The investigative report abour Dr. Joel Beidleman released today by the Montgomery County Inspector General clearly and. professionally documents years of disturbing and egregious behavior. The report finds that this behavior indisputably violated both MCPS policies and the Employee Code of Conduct.”

The current OIG report is the first of two. The second will include a review of MCPS’ process for handling allegations of misconduct by school system employees. It remains a work in progress.

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