Montgomery County Public Schools

Sex Harassment, Misconduct on the Rise in Montgomery Co. Schools

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Sexual harassment and misconduct are on the rise in Montgomery County Public Schools -- both on and off campus.

In one instance, police were called to Wootton High School last month for reports of an attempted sex assault with a broomstick.

"We have always been concerned about sexual assaults as they occur in school," Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said.

After a steep drop in reported cases during virtual learning, if the number of cases continues at its current pace, it’s on track to be much higher than before the pandemic.

“We’re trying to be proactive,” McCarthy said. “This is about education; this is about prevention. We’re trying to prevent people from being victims."

The county planned a virtual seminar for almost 2,000 students Tuesday night as part of its Choose Respect program, teaching things like consent; bystander intervention; access to resources like STD testing, medical care and counseling; and how to support friends if they get assaulted.

"So many of these things happen in silence,” said Debbie Feinstein, chief of the Special Victims Division of the State’s Attorney’s Office. “It can be incredibly embarrassing, shameful, and the bottom line is it’s never the victim’s fault."

The county also holds a video contest every year for students to make public service announcements about things like victim blaming. 

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