MCPS Superintendent Says Schools Are Not ‘Desensitized’ to Hate

Jack Smith, the superintendent for Montgomery County Public Schools, addressed the recent acts of hate that have occurred in the high schools.

Since December, there have been four known instances of hate at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, and Winston Churchill High School in Potomac.

Richard Montgomery’s principal confirmed that in January, the school was vandalized with a swastika graffitied on the side of a building; prior to this incident, in December, cups on an athletic fence that spelled out the word “seniors,” were rearranged to spell out the n-word.

Two acts of hate have occurred within a week of each other this month at Churchill. Early in February, swastikas were found drawn on desks; the following week, the principal confirmed that students were distributing “n-word passes” to one another.

At a press conference Tuesday, Smith didn’t mention these specific instances of racism and antisemitism, but he said that MCPS is “not desensitized” to acts of hate.

“When someone does something that’s inappropriate or unacceptable or terrible  […] we respond,” said Smith. “Sometimes there have to be serious consequences, sometimes law enforcement is involved, sometimes it is a teaching moment in the school. But whatever it is we always want to try to pull students back into the school.”

Smith said that it’s important for schools to not just address the instances of hate, but it’s equally important to “pull students back into the school.”

“We are a learning organization, and if we ever lose that, then we have lost our essential purpose,” said Smith.

The goal of the schools, according to Smith, is to help students and families learn why acts of hate shouldn’t be tolerated, and why “respect is critical.”

“No matter [students] age, their gender, their race, their culture, their background, [we want students to understand] that respect is fundamental to human relationships, and to the core of a functioning, good, positive community–respect is critical,” said Smith. “And the safety of every student is absolutely essential, and those two things have to work together.”

Related Posts:

Churchill Principal Reveals Incident Involving ‘N-Word Passes’

Swastikas Found Drawn on Churchill High Desks

Richard Montgomery High School Confirms Two Hate Crimes in One Month


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Deirdre Byrne

About Deirdre Byrne

Deirdre Byrne is a social media coordinator for Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at or on twitter at @DeirdreByrneMCM.


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