Friday, August 30, 2019

In @mcps "Let's Play Ball!" is Let's Play with Urethane! #artificialturf #plastic #urethane

BCC High School artificial grass field installation.

Information sheet for Turf PU 1K

Parents Face a Growing Barrage of Fees as Students Head Back to School

The cost of a free public education is on the rise, as a growing number of districts across the U.S. are charging students for registration, textbooks, the use of libraries and more.

Some students in the Benton-Carroll-Salem Local School District in Ohio this school year pay a $10 student-activity fee, $34 for chemicals and supplies for chemistry and $3 for an alert system with mass calling capabilities. Anatomy and physiology students pay $35 to help cover the cost of cat cadavers and other course materials. High-school students this...

High school football concussion risk greater for young athletes and on turf

BOSTON — Concussion risk in high school football is greater for younger players and on practices on [Artificial] turf-based surfaces, according to a study presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Annual Meeting.
The epidemiological study examined high school football concussion data in male players aged 14 to 18 years at 1,999 U.S. high schools. Scott Burkhart, PsyD, and colleagues collected data between 2012 to 2017 using the Rank One Health Injury Surveillance Database, a software used for mandatory and voluntary student-athlete injury documentation.
“While concussion prevention efforts like education and safe tackling appear to be working in high school football, it may be advantageous to provide more sports medicine coverage at more vulnerable time points like freshman and JV football,” Burkhart told Orthopedics Today. “Further, data supports reducing practice exposures on turf-based surfaces may lead to lower concussion incidence.”
The study included nearly one million male athletes who played football. Researchers recorded a total of 14,103 concussions in this group, accounting for 6% of all injuries in high school sports and making this the largest epidemiological high school football concussion study to date.
Rates of injury decreased from 2012 to 2016 in both practices and games. Burkhart noted injury proportion ratios decreased by year from 2012 to 2016 with an increase in 2017. He added that more concussions occurred in games (51.8%) than during practices (48.2%).
“No matter how we looked at this – whether it was injury proportion rates, overall incidence rates or risk ratios – you can see significant difference from games to practices,” he said at a presentation at the ASSOM meeting.
Turf outweighed all other mechanisms of injury, including helmet-to-helmet and grass. Almost 90% of all injuries occurred on turf-based surfaces, according to Burkhart...

Thursday, August 29, 2019

BCC High School Plastic Grass Stadium Cost Overrun of $295,000 in Capital Budget Funds. Bad News for Other Capital Budget Needs.

BCC High School plastic field installation.
To: Members of the Board of Education 
From: Jack R. Smith, Superintendent of Schools 

While the building addition at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School was completed and opened in September 2018, the site work aspects of the project are continuing. This site work includes the installation of an artificial turf stadium field. This summer, the progress of the site work was paused when a concealed, preexisting stormwater management condition was discovered in the area of installation of the new stadium field.

This condition presented an unanticipated obstacle to be addressed. Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) staff worked with the project contractor and officials with the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services to design an acceptable resolution that would allow the project to move forward. At this juncture, work is proceeding on the designated approach for this project. There is not an anticipated impact to the opening of school, but minor work may continue into the school year. The unanticipated additional requirements for the site work have increased the cost of the project and will require an additional $295,000 to complete.

Due to favorable bid experience, this amount of funding is available as unexpended funds in the addition project for North Bethesda Middle School. I recommend that the Board request a transfer of $295,000 from the North Bethesda Middle School Addition project to the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Addition project in the Fiscal Year 2020 Capital Budget. This will allow MCPS to address the needed site work at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School through a budget-neutral approach.$file/FY2020%20Cap%20Bdgt%20Amend%20FY2019-2024%20CIP%20Trans%20Funds%20190829.pdf

Montgomery County Office of Management and Budget Finds Error in Amount of Money MCPS has Paid to BusPatrol Company

Note:  Calculations regarding the amount of money paid to BusPatrol America and Force Multiplier Solutions are important because the contract allegedly requires the Board of Education to pay $18 million to the companies before any proceeds will be kept by MCPS.  The public has never seen the contract.  

If MCPS doesn't keep accurate records as to how much they are paying BusPatrol America and Force Multiplier, they could end up overpaying for the lease (or is it a purchase?) of the 14 cameras being installed on every MCPS bus. 

August 29, 2019 MEMORANDUM To: Members of the Board of Education From: Jack R. Smith, Superintendent of Schools Subject: Technical Amendment to Fiscal Year 2019 Second Supplemental Appropriation for School Bus Safety Camera Program

During Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, two supplemental appropriations were adopted by the Board of Education and requested of County Council by MCPS to increase the authorization to receive and expend funds for the School Bus Safety Camera Program. MCPS requested $5,600,000 February 12, 2019 (Resolution No. 68-19), and $3,500,000 June 24, 2019 (Resolution No. 396-19), with the latter currently under review by Montgomery County Council. The combined total of the two supplemental appropriations increased the total authorized budget from $2,000,000 to $11,100,000. However, according to staff in the Montgomery County Office of Management and Budget, MCPS has transferred a total of $11,330,827 for Bus Patrol America payments in FY 2019, resulting in a budget deficit of $230,827. It has been determined that an additional $230,827 is needed as a technical amendment to the second supplemental appropriation of $3,500,000 requested June 24, 2019, in order to balance the total amount spent and received in the School Bus Safety Camera Program.$file/Tech%20Amend%20FY2019%20Supp%20Approp%20Sch%20Bus%20Safety%20Camera%20Prog.pdf

Hogan Warns Against Extra Spending for Kirwan Reforms

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) issued dire warnings Saturday about the prohibitive cost of proposed education reform in Maryland, vowing to oppose any measures that would result in higher taxes or budget deficits.
Speaking at the close of the Maryland Association of Counties summer conference in Ocean City, where how to pay for the recommendations of the so-called Kirwan Commission to boost public education has been a hot topic, Hogan faulted the legislature for advancing “well-meaning but half-baked, fiscally irresponsible” proposals that could bankrupt the state.
Hogan said fully funding the costs of the Kirwan blueprint, estimated at about $4 billion – half of which would be borne by the counties, half from the state – would require a 39% increase in the personal income tax, an 89% hike in the sales tax, and a 535% boost in property taxes. The plan would create an $18 billion state deficit, he said, and “a bruising” $6,200 tax hike for the average Maryland family over the next five years.
“Not a single one of these things is ever going to happen while I’m governor of the state of Maryland,” Hogan asserted, pointing to $32 billion in investments in K-12 education during his 4 ½-year tenure.
State Sen. James C. Rosapepe (D-Prince George’s) – one of just half a dozen state lawmakers to attend Hogan’s speech – characterized the governor’s pronouncements about drastic tax increases as “political talking points.”
“His position on education funding has been fairly consistent, that he will fund whatever we appropriate, but he’s not going to take any leadership on it,” Rosapepe said. “That’s not news.”
Montgomery County Executive Marc B. Elrich (D), who presides over the county with the largest student population in the state, said Hogan’s remarks were “not surprising.”
“He doesn’t say anything about whether or not Kirwan is needed – nothing about the substance of the proposal, other than we don’t have the money,” Elrich said. “It’s a nihilistic approach to government: I don’t have the money, therefore the problem doesn’t exist. It’s frustrating.”
But Harford County Executive Barry Glassman (R) – the current MACo president – said Hogan’s warnings gibed with the sober fiscal realities many county and state officials had been discussing at the conference this week. Glassman suggested Kirwan’s recommendations – and their associated costs – may need to be phased in over a longer period than the decade Democratic legislative leaders envision.
“It’s well meaning,” he said of the Kirwan plan. “But the fiscal ramifications may be beyond the realm of what’s realistic.”..

Community meeting about the impact MSI Soccer #JuliusWest #artificialTurf will have on neighboring @Rockville411 communities. Wednesday Sept 18 at 6:30 pm at Julius West MS, 651 Great Falls Road, #Rockville.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Daily Record: Commentary: Making sports and recreation accessibl...

The Daily Record: Commentary: Making sports and recreation accessibl...: Gary Norman A law school professor once counseled me to work the body as much as the mind (a concept from antiquity). While the legal fi...

MCPS Safety Message

mcps logo

Ensuring Student Safety - A Message from MCPS Chief Safety Officer Edward A. Clarke

safety video

Table of Contents

As a new school year nears, it is important that we revisit the important topic of safety. Our core purpose as a school system is to prepare all students to thrive in their futures, and we know this cannot be achieved if students don’t feel safe and welcome in our schools.
For this reason, MCPS is committed to providing a safe and supportive learning environment for students and staff. We do this through a comprehensive, coordinated and strategic approach to systemwide safety and security. Our work is built on the foundation of state and local laws and Montgomery County Board of Education policies, and informed by the voices of students, staff, parents and community members.
Use the table of contents or scroll down to see some of the ways MCPS is working to ensure student safety every day.

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Building Safety

  • Updated school emergency plans at every school (Learn more)
  • On-site emergency teams at each school to assist in a school emergency.
  • A partnership with the Montgomery County Police Department, fire and rescue services, and other county agencies to support schools during emergencies (Read the MOU)
  • School safety evaluations conducted at all schools and educational sites
  • Mandatory safety drills for fire and weather emergencies
  • Enhanced preparations training for active assailant emergencies (Learn more)
  • A school resource officer in every high school (Read more)
  • Hundreds of dedicated MCPS security staff who support elementary, middle and high schools across the county
  • Controlled access systems and entryways at schools
  • Expansion of security vestibules at schools
  • A visitor management system at schools that screens all visitors though state and national sex offender databases
  • A comprehensive report on school safety and security (Read the 2018 report and action plan)
  • Security cameras in all high and middle schools, with cameras being added to elementary schools
  • Mandatory training for school resource officers and security staff
  • A focus and vigilance from all staff members on building security
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After-school Supervision

high school boy after school
  • Enhanced supervision plans required for each sport and after-school activity
  • An external review of after-school supervision safety to be released in September 2019, in coordination with the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office

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Student Health and Wellness

well being
  • Be Well 365 comprehensive social-emotional skills building in all schools (Learn more)
  • Resources on the dangers of vaping (Link)
  • School-based wellness centers
  •  School Community Health Nurses or School Health Room Technicians in every school (Learn more)
  • Suicide prevention training for students at all middle and high schools
  • Access to anonymous tip line to report concerns regarding mental health crises, bullying, threats of violence and more (Learn more)
  • BTheOne mental health campaign in partnership with Montgomery County, Every Mind and Family Services, Inc. (Learn about the campaign)
  • Staff training on behavioral threat assessment
  • A comprehensive health curriculum for students at all levels
  • Mental health resources and crisis supports for students (Learn more
  • Mandatory training for all staff on suicide prevention and intervention
  • A streamlined reporting process for suicide risk reporting (Read more)
  • Linkages to Learning initiative (Read more)
  • Recovery Academic Program for students emerging from addiction (Learn more)
  • Resources for Montgomery County Substance Abuse Assessment and Treatment (See the resources)
  • Restorative justice programs for students (Learn more)
  • Mandatory cultural proficiency training for educators
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elementary school students getting on bus

Bus Safety

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Safety Legislation, Policies, Regulations and Guidelines

  • Passage of the Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018 (Read the Act)  
  • Adoption of Board of Education Policy COA: Student Well-being and School Safety (Learn More)
  • Development of Regulation COA-RA, which outlines protocols for Behavioral Threat Assessment  (Read the Regulation
  • Implementation of Policy ACA: Nondiscrimination, Equity, and Cultural Proficiency(Read the policy)
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pedestrian safety video

Pedestrian Safety

  • Pedestrian safety resources (Learn more)
  • Pedestrian Safety Public Service Announcement – “Getting to School is Not a Race” (Watch)
  • Partnership with Montgomery County Government to promote pedestrian and bike safety (Watch the video)
  • Pedestrian safety lessons embedded in the health curriculum
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Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect

student at desk
  • Multi-point background checks for all employees, contractors and certain volunteers (Learn more)
  • Mandatory training for employees, contractors and volunteers in preventing, recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect (Take the training)
  • Age- and developmentally appropriate personal body safety lessons for all students (See the lessons)
  • Streamlined reporting process for incidents of abuse (Review our MCPS policy and reports on child abuse)
  • A code of conduct for all employees (Read more)
  • Creation of the Child Abuse and Neglect Stakeholder Continuous Improvement Team (Read more)
  • Online Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (See form)
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Bullying and Harassment Prevention

  • A streamlined process for reporting incidents of bullying (Bullying Reporting Form)
  • Training for all employees on preventing and reporting bullying, harassment and intimidation
  • Training for all student-athletes on identifying hazing and promoting a positive culture (Learn more)
  • Increased emphasis on sportsmanship expectations at all athletic events to encourage prevention and reporting of discriminatory behavior
  • Gang-awareness training for MCPS staff in collaboration with law enforcement partner agencies
  • Updated guidelines regarding student gender identity matters (Read more)
  • Counseling support for students
  • Guidelines for Respecting Religious Diversity (Read the guidelines)
  • Annual Choose Respect healthy teen dating conference (Learn more)
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boy at school playground

Environmental Safety

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Digital Safety

  • Guidelines on data privacy and security (Read more)
  • Lessons on digital citizenship and combating cyberbullying and harassment for students (Learn more)
  • Mandatory training for staff on safety and security in a digital age
  • Social media best practices for staff (Learn More)
  • Best practices for email and other digital communications for staff (Learn more)
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We look forward to a great and safe school year with you!
Edward A. Clarke
Chief Safety Officer

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Cost of MCPS School Boundary Analysis Capped at $475,000

A countywide review of school-attendance boundaries is expected to cost up to $475,000, according to school board documents.
On Thursday, the Montgomery County Board of Education is scheduled to award a contract for the review to New York-based WXY Architecture + urban design, with a cost “not to exceed” $475,000 for fiscal year 2020, a draft resolution says.
“This firm demonstrated a connection to the intent of the project scope; brings the potential for innovative approaches to this assessment and review; and had support from the community stakeholders engaged in our review process,” the document says.
The contract will be for one year with up to three one-year renewal options, according to school board documents.
School system officials said a copy of the firm’s proposal could not be released Tuesday because it could contain “proprietary information” that would need to be redacted before public review.

In January, the Board of Education passed a resolution to hire a consultant to evaluate school boundaries, which determine what area schools students will attend based on where they live. Elementary and middle schools “feed” high schools near them, creating school clusters...

Monday, August 26, 2019

$10 Per Email: State Upholds Baltimore County Public Schools’ Fee Request for Audit Emails

The state’s Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) Compliance Board upheld Baltimore County Public Schools’ request for fees on Monday, in which an attorney for the school board asked The Baltimore Post for $1,210.33 in exchange for 122 emails concerning a procurement audit completed earlier this spring.
At nearly $10 per email – to search for, review and redact each one – the compliance board ruled that the fees were reasonable, but said that they were subject to revision if the time to redact them resulted in less time than originally quoted.
“As for counsel’s estimated review time… we have no reason to believe it is inflated.  Of course, counsel should only charge for the actual amount of time he spends on review,” the report stated.
Government agencies are permitted to charge reasonable fees to search for, review, redact and print public information, which itself is free. But sometimes steep MPIA fees block the release of information, intended for the public.  The per-hour rate also depends on who is handling the request which is decided by an agency’s public information custodian. 
Following the results of a procurement audit of the school system in April, The Baltimore Post requested emails between members of the school board and audit firm, UHY Advisors.
After several long delays, in June, school board attorney, Andrew Nussbaum, at first requested The Baltimore Post pay $2,225 in order for him to review and redact “hundreds of emails.”
In response, The Baltimore Post filed for a review by the compliance board which reviews cases when more than $350 is requested for public documents.
What Nussbaum initially reported as being “hundreds of emails,” subsequently became “3,000 emails” and finally resulted in “122 emails,” after the law office modified its search criteria in response to The Baltimore Post’s complaint filed with the compliance board...

Friday, August 23, 2019

BCC High School Construction Update


Good evening,

As many of you drive along Sleaford Road, I know you are wondering when our field and track could be completed. Not unlike many construction projects, there have been delays.

Members of our athletics boosters joined me in a meeting with with the MCPS operations team yesterday to get some concrete answers about the delays we are experiencing. One major delay was due to a drainage system that had to be cut out and replaced before the work on the track and field could begin. A pole also had to be removed on the track to ensure the lanes can be regulation size.

The most recent estimate is that the field will be ready by by the first day of classes, Tuesday, September 3rd. The district has no plans to move or reschedule any of our home games.

The base paving on the track will begin tomorrow and the MCPS Division of Construction anticipates the rubberized surface going down September 9th. There is a 14-day period between the asphalt and rubber. The Division of Construction will coordinate with school activities.

The track will take time to cure prior to use, but we can still access the field during this cure time. The lines will be painted on after the curing period is complete and the Division of Construction will coordinate that work to avoid conflicts with practices and games.

We have all been anxiously anticipating these upgraded athletic facilities, and I am confident that they will soon be ready for our amazing students and community to enjoy! I am so appreciative of the wonderful partnership of this community...and the leaders of athletics boosters have been outstanding.

Please don't forget that this Sunday, August 25th, from 3 - 4:30, I'm holding a Meet-and-Greet. I invite all families to drop by, meet our administrative team and PTSA leaders, have some cookies and peruse the F-wing...we'll be back in school soon. I'll be so excited to see our students!


Donna Redmond Jones, Ph.D.


From farms to FARMS: How school lunches travel to trays

Home to the classic chicken patty sandwich and personal pizza, school cafeterias are integral in providing healthy and affordable food options to hundreds of thousands of students across Montgomery County every day. However, many students are still in the dark about where the food on their plates comes from and what initiatives MCPS has implemented to make school lunches more affordable.
Regarding the origin of school meals, there is no single or easy answer given the wide range of sources from which MCPS gets their food. However, a majority of raw ingredients, such as raw potatoes, and prepackaged foods, such as frozen onion rings, come from contracts signed between MCPS and an ingredient supplier. Usually in the late summer, MCPS sends out an invitation for bid which allows different ingredient suppliers to bid to become suppliers of a certain food item. In the process of awarding a contract, a variety of factors are considered, such as the offered price per unit and ability of product to meet nutritional standards set by Division of Food and Nutrition Services. The bid is eventually awarded to a contractor who then becomes the sole provider of that specific food product for one year.
The raw ingredients are shipped to the MCPS Central Production Facility in Gaithersburg. The facility is split into three sections: a pre-packaging area dedicated to packaging elementary school meals, a cook-chill area where sauces and soups are made and an ingredient control area where ingredients are combined together to create meals. The county also has its own central distribution system since MCPS is the only county in Maryland that has its own food production facility..

Baltimore Sun: Howard County superintendent proposes moving 7,300 students to address overcrowding, poverty inequities

In Howard County Superintendent Michael Martirano’s redistricting proposal released Thursday, he recommends moving more than 7,300 students to alleviate existing overcrowding, address inequities in the distribution of students affected by poverty and to establish a road map for students who will eventually attend the county’s 13th high school.

Full story at:

Thursday, August 22, 2019

ONLY ON 4: Remember Luis Cabrera, the former Walter Johnson HS student who made Snapchat threats of a mass shooting? He’s out on probation after 6 months in jail. But now he was just accused of allegedly harassing the people who reported him to police. Full story ahead on News4


Montgomery County Public Schools has hired powerhouse law firm WilmerHale to conduct an external review of Damascus High School, in the wake of last year’s sexual assault of junior varsity football players.
The contract says the review will cost $250,000 less a redacted discount.
The report was expected to be complete by June 30 but the deadline has been extended.
Four students were charged in the incident, in which their teammates were sexually assaulted with brooms. Although originally charged as adults, the cases of the four boys were moved to juvenile court.
According to the contract, the law firm will interview the athletic director, administrators and several coaches, as well as a sampling of students, alumni and parents...

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

GAO: K-12 Education: Education Should Take Immediate Action to Address Inaccuracies in Federal Restraint and Seclusion Data

From Government Accounting Office:

As we reported in February 2019, the Department of Education’s (Education) data suggest that the restraint and seclusion of K-12 public school students is rare nationwide, though it disproportionately affects students with disabilities and boys in general.1 In broad terms, Education defines restraint as restricting a student’s ability to freely move his or her torso, arms, legs, or head, and defines seclusion as involuntarily confining a student alone in a room or area from which the student is physically prevented from leaving. Education’s 2012 resource document on the use of restraint and seclusion states that restraint or seclusion should never be used except when a child’s behavior poses imminent danger of serious physical harm to self or others...

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Mother alleges MCPS teacher denied teen’s request to get inhaler during asthma attack, seeks $20M+ in Damages

Attorneys are preparing for a November trial stemming from a lawsuit in which a Gaithersburg mother alleges teachers denied her daughter access to her inhaler during an asthma attack during gym class in 2015, leading to the teen’s death.
Georgia Grant-Walton’s lawsuit against Montgomery County Public Schools says her daughter, Taylor Walton, requested permission to leave gym class twice to get her inhaler from her locker because she was having trouble breathing, according to court documents. The teacher, Karen Philbin, allegedly denied Taylor’s request each time, court documents say.
After the second request, 14-year-old Taylor left the class at Gaithersburg High School without permission to get her inhaler. Shortly after, she was found lying unconscious on the floor outside the gym.
Gaithersburg High School’s staff administered CPR and first aid before calling an ambulance, according to court documents. Taylor was pronounced dead upon arrival at a hospital about 4 miles away.

Grant-Walton is seeking more than $20 million in damages from her daughter’s death, which occurred on Nov. 30, 2015...

“We never saw any money,” Eanes school district spokeswoman Claudia McWhorter said in an email. The district dropped the technology last year.

Red-light camera ban also stops bus-camera program in most areas

Texas banned red light cameras in June, joining at least seven states that have halted use of the traffic devices, which advocates say save lives but which ran into controversy over that claim and other problems.
The measure outlawing red-light cameras also ended the use of school bus cameras, which take pictures of motorists passing stopped school buses discharging students. Whether that was the legislature’s intent wasn’t clear; the author of the bill, state Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford), did not respond to requests for comment. 
As a result, at least a dozen Texas school districts that signed contracts with the now-defunct Dallas County Schools, the public agency that worked with a private company for years to outfit buses with the cameras, will never see a penny of revenue for the plan that they were told would add millions of dollars to their coffers...

Albornoz’s first piece of legislation on property disposition passes in county, providing more clarity

ROCKVILLE — On July 30, Montgomery County Councilmember Gabe Albornoz saw his first piece of legislation enacted by the full council.
Bill 13-19, or the County Property-Disposition-Reuse Analysis, is designed to change the procedures for disposal of county property. The new legislation requires the county executive to submit a reuse analysis to the council, which would include any proposals for the property from an outside agency...

Monday, August 19, 2019

Cases conclude, behind closed doors, for two teens charged in Damascus High School locker room attacks

Court cases concluded this week for two of the remaining four Maryland teenagers accused in a 2018 locker-room sexual assault involving a broom stick at Damascus High School, but the outcomes in juvenile court could not be learned immediately.
The teenagers, ages 15 and 16, appeared in Montgomery County Circuit Court on Wednesday and Thursday in Rockville, where Judge Mary Beth McCormick ordered the proceedings closed and directed participants, including attorneys for the victims and the victims’ families, not to discuss the outcomes.
Before closing the courtroom, McCormick ruled that protecting the interests of the victims and the suspects outweighed access. “I understand that people want to know what happens in this case,” she said Thursday, adding, “At the end of the day, my charge is to help the rehabilitation of these children.”
The Washington Post asked in writing before the hearings to stay during the proceedings.
A reporter for The Post also went to the courtroom at the start of each teen’s hearing, which opened with statements about how the teens had earlier pleaded in the case. Before the bulk of the hearings got underway — during which the specific plea deals and possible punishments were expected to be discussed — defense attorneys asked that the judge clear the courtroom of anyone not directly connected to the case.
McCormick agreed...