Montgomery County executive blasts school board after principal promoted amid harassment allegations

A Montgomery County executive is blasting the county school board for not answering questions about a school principal who was promoted despite years of sexual harassment allegations. 

Joel Beidleman was the principal at an MCPS Middle School but was promoted to high school principal in June. That promotion happened despite multiple accusations he’d sexually harassed and bullied, teachers, parents and students. 

County Executive Marc Elrich didn’t hold back Thursday as he questioned the board. He described their actions as "highly irresponsible, not appropriate and a risk to school security." 

"I just think it’s troubling, and it’s become troubling to everybody else and I, frankly, don’t think these questions are too hard to answer. Nobody’s asking anybody an opinion on if somebody’s guilty," Elrich said. 

He’s not the only one feeling frustrated. Parents tell FOX 5 that two months into this scandal, they still can’t get direct answers to their questions. 

"There’s no reason not to answer the questions," mom Dawn Iannaco-Hahn said. "By answering the questions then we’d have the answers we’d need that we're looking for so we’d lay off them a little bit. But right now? Nobody has an answer, so nobody’s going to lay off of them."

Both Elrich and parents today told FOX 5, that it is "troubling" MCPS won’t answer questions from the public or the press.

MCPS shared a four-page summary on social media from a law firm hired by the board found "significant and troubling failures" in Beidleman’s promotion.

But at Thursday’s hearing, no board member commented on the probe, while Superintendent Monifa McKnight instead read a proclamation of the board's efforts to combat discrimination of people with disabilities.

"MCPS is committed to promoting a positive caring and supportive district and school climate that promotes the benefits of that includes a diverse workforce that includes individuals with disabilities," McKnight said. 

Montgomery County’s inspector general has two probes underway into MCPS’ actions and while MCPS officials might not be answering questions from the public or the press, they likely won’t be able to avoid questions next week when the county council’s education committee holds hearings looking into the scandal.