Yesterday's attack has "required us to rethink the situation" regarding student walkouts, MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith will tell students this morning in a video message. Smith will tell students who defy the order that they will face disciplinary action, a change from the "bring a note from Mommy" policy MCPS had just 24 hours ago. "I am asking and expecting all students to remain in school," Smith will say.
The Tuesday promise by the Montgomery County Council of "community safety" and "respect" for every resident of the jurisdiction apparently didn't apply to Donald Trump supporters. A 15-year-old Trump supporter was brutally beaten by as many as six students, eyewitnesses said, during an otherwise-peaceful protest by Richard Montgomery High School students yesterday in Rockville.
Wearing a Trump "Make America Great Again" cap, the boy was repeatedly punched, thrown to the ground, and then kicked multiple times by his attackers, according to WTOP, which quoted Rockville City Police Major Michael English as saying the students "jumped him and beat him up pretty bad." The student was transported by ambulance to a local hospital. Media accounts suggest he could have potentially-serious head injuries, describing him as "disoriented" and groggy following the beatdown.
According to the Rockville police, only one of the attackers has been identified, but is not in custody. They say the attack occurred in the 100 block of Maryland Avenue, the location of the County Council building where councilmembers declared peace and respect for all just 24 hours earlier. Police say the identified 17-year-old student will face second-degree assault charges.
To his credit, RM principal Damon Monteleone condemned the attack. Dan McHugh, VP of the Montgomery County Young Republicans, said he was "appalled" by the violence. "We condemn any act of violence, or hate crime of any kind, directed towards any candidate [an] individual supports," he said Tuesday.
|Councilmember Hans Riemer|
endorses student walkouts on
It's certainly a positive to have hundreds of students this engaged in the political arena - hopefully they'll register to vote, and governments will consider lowering the voting age to 16, as Takoma Park has. It's also ironic to have politicians who claim to be concerned about pedestrian safety egging kids on to walk into busy state highways during school hours.
County and MCPS officials could face legal consequences, should these students be injured during the hours we are paying exorbitant dollars to give them a free education. The parents of the beaten student certainly have grounds for a civil suit against MCPS in this case. Guess who would make the payouts in those lawsuits? You, the taxpayer.
It now appears Smith has come to the same realization.
Our other local officials seem to have missed yet another of the messages of the successful passage of term limits last week - residents are asking them to be the adults in the room on this, and so many other serious issues. Facing so many crises from our budget deficit to a failed transportation system to our moribund private sector economy, the last thing we need is Hans Riemer and George Leventhal trying to be the "cool dad."
Perhaps the most immoral crisis of all, is our worsening achievement gap at MCPS. One thing's for sure - that gap didn't get narrowed while students were walking around highways and malls this week.