Friday, November 7, 2014

Breaking News: Arrest of Clemente Middle School Substitute Teacher

Date: November 7, 2014 at 5:00:57 PM EST
Subject: Roberto Clemente Middle School Community letter

Good Evening Clemente Middle School Families,

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The purpose of this letter is to provide you with information regarding an incident at Roberto Clemente Middle School that occurred on
September 30, 2014. The incident involved Mr. Jose Pineda, a substitute teacher, who was accused of making inappropriate contact with one of our students. Through subsequent collaboration and communication with Montgomery County Department of Police, we have learned that the substitute teacher was arrested October 14, 2014 on charges related to this incident. I want to apologize for not sending a letter to the community earlier, but I want to assure you that Roberto Clemente Middle School took swift action in collaboration with the Montgomery County Police and the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Department of School Safety and Security to investigate the incident. As soon as the allegation was raised, the teacher was subsequently removed from the classroom and has not worked in any other MCPS school since.

At the time of the incident, in consultation with the police, security personnel, and the MCPS Office of School Support and Improvement, I made the decision to not send a letter to the community while the investigation was ongoing. As the principal, the safety and security of all students and staff is my responsibility and I am confident we acted swiftly to ensure this incident was investigated and our students supported. However, it also important that I communicate with you in a timely manner about such incidents. Once we were informed that an arrest had been made, I should have notified you and I apologize again for not sharing this information with you sooner.

If you have further questions, please contact me or any member of the administrative team at Roberto Clemente Middle School. We would be pleased to answer your questions and discuss this issue with you further. Thank you for your continued support of our efforts to maintain a safe and secure learning environment for our children.
Sincerely yours,
Khadija Barkley,


What the Clemente Middle School administration didn't relay in this evenings announcement, the charges as filed.

Charge No: 001Description:SEX ABUSE MINOR
Statute: CR.3.602.(b)(1)Description:SEX ABUSE MINOR
Amended Date: CJIS Code:1 0322MO/PLL:Probable Cause:X
Incident Date From: 09/30/2014 To: 10/01/2014 Victim Age:
Charge No: 002Description:SEX OFFENSE THIRD DEGREE
Statute: CR.3.307Description:SEX OFFENSE THIRD DEGREE
Amended Date: CJIS Code:3 3600MO/PLL:Probable Cause:X
Incident Date From: 09/30/2014 To: 10/01/2014 Victim Age:


  1. And to think Mrs. Barkley couldn't even deliver the message herself, which game out Friday evening (11/7) - she had an assistant administrator deliver the Connect Ed message. Funny thing is, just last week we got a long winded and detailed message about the bus evacuation drills taking the place the next couple days...seriously, do parents really need to be informed of the detailed logistics of how bus evacuation drills are going to proceed in a SPECIAL connect ed phone message and then followed up by an email but NOT that my daughter's classmate was allegedly groped by a TEACHER?

  2. Incident occurred on Sept 30th and did not care to inform the parents until yesterday? This is now the trend for MCPS system? Ridiculous. I would like to see the Incident Reporting policy of our school system. All around the MCPS this is a new trend, not to let the parents know of any such incidents. Recently the Damascus incident also was relayed late now RCMS. It appears that our school system act as private schools; who do not want to tardy their reputation. Unfortunate!

  3. This is all the result of a superintendent's regime shrouded in secrecy. This superintendent has hired incompetent leadership and proceeded to create an environment where nothing is transparent. From his sneaking off to NY to meet about the position there and denying it until he was exposed in the media to the BOE and his executive staff credit card scandals this man has brought nothing but shame and disgrace to MCPS.

    Since Starr has come to Montgomery County our school system has been mocked throughout the metro region and indeed around the state. Our superintendent is known for silly twitter attacks while Howard County schools continue to increase student achievement and are now the number one system in the state.

    1. Not to say anything good about Starr, but this culture predates him, and will continue after he's gone.

    2. Because why? If the culture continues it is with Starr's permission. He's in charge now. This is his opportunity to make changes or agree with how things are being handled. He was already warned in 2012, by the State Board of Education. It's now his choice how to handle these cases. And, the Lawrence Joynes trials haven't even begun.

  4. Sounds like the inmates are in charge of the asylum. . .

  5. How long do we have to wait before we learn what other, if any, schools the alleged perpetrator worked at? Lemme guess: another month!


  7. I'm new to this commenting system, so please forgive any duplicate posts. Here is my response to Friday's notification. It was initially drafted exclusively for the Principal, but since I'm not expecting a response any time soon, and I share your frustrations, I'll post it as an open letter:

    Principal Barkley,

    I am writing because I have questions regarding the timing and manner of how the suspected abuse incident has been reported.

    1. I understand it was ultimately your decision to withhold information to parents. Was this decision based on a recommendation? If so, was it from the police or school system?

    2. What is the impetus for informing parents of the incident now, given that the arrest was made on October 14th? The timing of a 5pm message on a Friday, through a proxy, and weeks after the incident, does not inspire me to believe communication to parents is of primary concern.

    3. Are other incidents you would like to inform the parents of at this time? Prior to this notification, I was under the impression that communication between parents and Roberto Clemente staff was both timely and comprehensive. Given current developments, I may have to revisit that assumption.

    4. Your communication, delivered via Dr. Awkard, states that the students were supported. Can you please elaborate on how the students were supported? The effects of sexual abuse can manifest in different ways, and a cursory statement--accuracy notwithstanding--falls short of a thorough explanation of how students (children) were kept safe or otherwise rehabilitated.

    A few years ago, I tried to get my daughter transferred from Roberto Clemente Middle School. You took exception to my action, and asked me to your office to explain myself. One of my reasons for requesting the transfer was a report highlighting a higher prevalence of sexual assault at Roberto Clemente Middle School compared to other MCPS schools. In our face-to-face conversation, you suggested that other schools may have a similarly high rate of sexual assault, but that it might be underreported at those schools. Are we bearing witness to proper reporting now? if so, no apology is warranted. If not, I recommend a review and revision of the notification policy.

    I look forward to your response.

    The response was an out-of0office reply.

    1. Thank you for forwarding this to the Parents' Coalition.

      How do you feel about the Superintendent's plan to put more strangers on Clemente Middle School property?

  8. RCMS is completely in the wrong here. Why didn't they notify parents sooner? We need to talk to our children, and find out if this substitute teacher was a teacher for them, in any classes (which is long enough ago now, that they might not even remember!). Did this teacher have contact with them? This is unacceptable, and RCMS and MCPS needs to be held accountable for this lack of communication and care for our children and the community.

  9. This incident does not surprise me at all. I have had two students attended and promote out of Roberto Clemente MS over the last 6 years and I can tell you that this is a VERY common practice for the Administrative Team of Clemente. EVERY incident or concern I have ever had over the course of those years had to be escalated to MCPS Office for commom sense solutions and interventions. My last child there was involved in a very serious incident at RCMS reported to Dr. Awkard, in which the police were involved and a report was filed by me, not the school; which is not the appropriate protocol. I was not even informed of the incident until my child told me about it, despite the Admistration knowing about it. Ms. Barkley said months later she was never informed of the incident, which is ridiculous. And just like in this case, my child was sent back into a hostile classroom environment for further harassment - again, without my knowledge. The Administrative Team spent an extraordinary amount of time finger pointing and blame shifting. Calls to report the incident and incompetence to Dr. Starrs' office were never returned. The incident surely should have resulted in Dr. Awkard's role at RCMS being terminated for her gross mishandling of the incident and I was told that much by several other MCPS staffers but as you see, she's still there, making ConnectEd calls. I hate to think that teachers and school leaders don't care about the welfare and safety of children but it sure seems that at RCMS, that is not of paramount concern. I am so glad both of my children have moved on from this school. However, I remain vigilant in my awareness of the how MCPS operates and advocating for my kids, as the problems are prevalent and systemic.


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