ROCKVILLE, Md. - Montgomery County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Jack Smith is finally speaking out after two Rockville High School students were arrested for the rape of their female classmate at Rockville High School.
Police have charged 17-year-old Jose Montano and 18-year-old Henry Sanchez with first-degree rape and first-degree sexual offenses. According to court documents, they are accused of raping the 14-year-old victim in a bathroom at the school.
But after a three-hour wait Monday night, FOX 5 was finally able to speak with the superintendent as he left his office.
"I put out a letter last night," said Smith. "It's a terrible situation. It's a horrible situation. We looked at all the information from Thursday and we handed it over to the police immediately. At this point, it is their investigation."
FOX 5's Marina Marraco asked Smith why a 17-year-old and 18-year-old were enrolled as freshmen at the high school.
"We have a lot of 18-year-olds in our schools," he said. "Our student was actually in a METS [Multidisciplinary Educational Training and Support] Program for English learners and that is a program we have across the system, and so, it is not a matter of what grade they were in, but the student was in a program for English learners."
Both of the suspects came to the United States several months ago and U.S. Immigrations and Customs has lodged an immigration detainer on Sanchez. However, Dr. Smith said the school system "don't have any information typically about students at all and their immigration status."
Smith said he cannot discuss any of the facts in the case due to the ongoing police investigation.
"The police and the courts will sort all of that out," said the superintendent. "As I said in my letter last night, information will continue to come out in the coming weeks, so it is important for people, as horrible as this situation is, not to jump to conclusions or say things that they might eventually have to rethink or take back."
We asked Smith if parents can be assured students at Rockville High School are safe.
"We will do everything in our power to keep all students safe every day," he said. "I have five children and four grandchildren. I understand."
Smith continued to call the situation "horrible" and said, "My thoughts and prayers are with the girl and her family and we are offering all the support we can as they go through this situation."
There will be a scheduled 7 p.m. PTA meeting at Rockville High School on Tuesday. Dr. Smith said he did not know if he will attend the meeting.