Monday morning, Montgomery County Public Schools sent a notice throughout the entire MCPS community in regards to an incident last week. Police confirmed a student showed a gun during an online learning session.
MCPS briefed the community of the steps they will be taking to ensure security and continuity learning, as school districts across the United States face issues on learning platforms, such as Zoom.
In New York City, Fox News reported that teachers had been informed not to use Zoom.
The FBI has also issued warnings against “Zoombombs,” where people have been hacking online learning sessions operating on Zoom during the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The FBI also says they have been receiving numerous reports of online meetings being disrupted by people sharing pornographic, hate images, and threatening messages.
“I am deeply disappointed by this behavior,” wrote Albert Einstein High School’s Principal Dr. Christine Handy, in an email to the Kensington, Md. high school community about the firearm incident. The principal says the student showed the gun on Friday, April 3. Montgomery County Police investigated.
MCPS Spokesperson Gboyinde Onijala stated the school system is not going to tolerate anything online they wouldn’t allow in the classroom.
“For any student of ours who thinks, ‘Oh because it’s online learning, there aren’t disciplinary actions they can take,’ and they actually have that wrong. And as we spelled out very clearly to our message to the community this morning,” said Onijala.
With efforts to maintain student online safety, MCPS states students cannot be anonymous when using Zoom. They must have an MCPS e-mail to connect. Zoom is also tracking online activity.
MCPS says students misbehaving could face suspension, expulsion, and criminal prosecution.
This is week two of online learning for the state’s largest and most diverse school system. Onijala says school leaders are celebrating the over 120,000 students who were able to connect for the first time last week.
MCPS is still asking parents and students to be patient.