The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

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Administration confiscates loaded handgun from RM student

A+loaded+gun+was+confiscated+from+a+student+at+Richard+Montgomery+High+School.
Mayah Nachman
A loaded gun was confiscated from a student at Richard Montgomery High School.

RM administration confiscated a loaded handgun from a student who attends the school on the morning of Nov. 17. This was done in collaboration with the Montgomery County Police Department and MCPS security. 

In an email sent to the school community and published by The Moco Show, Principal Alicia Deeny wrote, “The initial alert from MCPD raised a potential threat, prompting swift coordination between the Rockville City Police Department, school administration and security. Through effective communication, coordination and prompt action, we identified and apprehended the individual, safely recovered the weapon and minimised disruption to our school day.”

According to Assistant Principal Robin Wheeler, administration was in communication with MCPD, Rockville City Police and MCPS security personnel starting on Thursday night regarding a possible security issue that they might need to collaborate on in order to resolve. After receiving this information, Ms. Wheeler said they took the reports seriously and started working from that perspective as soon as the school day started. 

RM students have voiced concern about the entire incident. 

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“I feel really bothered, especially knowing that I was in class and there was a possibility of being put in such a terrifying situation. It’s just really jolting,” junior Christina Rossi said. 

Sophomore Clara Carpentier feels similarly. “I feel really anxious about the whole situation, especially since I didn’t know what was going on until later,” Carpentier said. 

A concern for RM students and their families is also the lack of lockdown or shelter-in-place procedures during the confiscation of the gun. 

“To my understanding, administration and the police decided it not only wasn’t necessary, but would get in the way of safety. I think if having a public announcement would have made things difficult, informing teachers privately to set up some form of shelter in place could have been beneficial,” junior Ginger Speer said. 

For many, the lack of communications between administrations and the RM community has caused students and their families to become frustrated.

“I want to know the mindset behind not putting us in a shelter in place or lockdown because it is unclear,” senior Lila Halper said. 

However, in Ms. Deeny’s email to the community, she mentions that this incident is still being investigated, limiting the amount of information the school is able to release at this time. 

“For this incident due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, I’m unable to share specific details at this time; should we learn more information important to share with our community, I will do so,” Ms. Deeny wrote. 

According to Ms. Wheeler, a school goes into lockdown only when there is an immediate threat inside the school and there is limited information regarding the situation. 

According to Ms. Wheeler, that was not the case in this incident, thus a lockdown was not necessary. 

“There was no direct threat made to the school and no direct threat made to a student. It was almost immediately handled,” Ms. Wheeler said. 

Principal Deeny also clarified this in an additional community email when she wrote, “Because this situation was quickly isolated, there was never a need for either of these to be put in place.”

RM students seem to generally feel safe at RM, although there are some concerns.

“I feel safe at RM but that’s been changing since my freshman year when there were multiple gun-related incidents,” Speer said.

RM has multiple measures in place in order to ensure school security. For example, everyone who enters the school building is required to show their ID or sign in at the main office. Additionally, security team members and administrators are consistently present in school hallways. 

When asked about whether there are any plans to increase school security as a result of the incident, Ms. Wheeler said, “No, because it wasn’t a school issue. We live in a very large community; not only is Rockville the center of Montgomery County but we are close to a number of other school communities. When things happen in the community sometimes we have to deal with them and address them, but in this [situation] there was no threat to RM.”

RM administration emphasizes the importance of reporting any possible safety issues to a staff member. 

 “All we can do is work as a community to keep our community safe…we need our students to work with us, we need our families to work with us. So see something, say something; tell an administrator [and] tell an adult,” Ms. Wheeler said. 

On Nov. 30 at 6:30, RM administration will host a safety and security meeting for students, staff and their families to attend. They are planning to have a panel consisting of RM administration, MCPS Central Office Leadership, RCPD, staff from the MCPS Department of Systemwide Safety and Emergency Management and City of Rockville Leadership to answer questions submitted before the meeting.

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About the Contributor
Mayah Nachman, News Editor
Mayah Nachman is excited to begin her senior year as a News Editor for The Tide. This is her fourth year writing for the paper, having previously contributed to the News and Features sections and working as an Assistant Editor for the Centerspread section. When she isn't at school, she enjoys baking, spending time with friends and family, and playing the guitar.