DERWOOD, Md. - More than ten months after a shooting at a Montgomery County high school that injured a 15-year-old boy, the victim's mother said Wednesday no one from the school district has ever contacted her.
Karen Thomas spoke at a community meeting at Magruder High School, directly addressing top school officials.
Thomas said no one reached out to see how her son, DeAndre, was doing or about his return to school. She also said no one from Montgomery County Public Schools gave her any heads up about Wednesday’s meeting about the shooting.
School leaders apologized to Thomas with a deputy superintendent saying the district missed an opportunity to reach out to her.
It wasn’t the only apology at the two-hour-long meeting for a few dozen parents at the school and others listening in on Zoom.
At the start of the meeting, Deputy Superintendent Patrick Murphy apologized to parents for the delay in scheduling the forum, as well as for communication during and after the January shooting and issues with the student reunification process.
A concern parents share is that some students were kept locked down in classrooms, unable to use the restroom, hours after the shooter was apprehended and as school and county leaders gathered elsewhere for a press conference.
School leaders admitted some parts of the lockdown were "textbook," but other aspects were not.
They said there was a missed opportunity to step down from a lockdown sooner. They also said some students were able to leave their classrooms early on in the lockdown which was against protocol.
School officials also acknowledged the first email that went out to parents that said there was no threat to staff or students was inaccurate.
The school district said it plans to add additional information to the three-page after-action report that came out in June, which some parents criticized for not establishing a clear timeline or acknowledging mistakes.
"It took until tonight, ten months later, for them to actually publicly acknowledge there were some breaches in the protocols," said Cynthia Simonson, a parent who attended the meeting. "And those were important things for teachers system-wide to recognize that this could happen to any classroom."
Simonson said it was important for the community to get all the facts, so healing could continue.
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Kim Glassman, another parent at the meeting, said she hopes conversations about how the shooting was handled continue. She said she was saddened by the school district’s lack of communication with the victim’s mother.
"It was really tragic. I wish I could say that I was surprised," Glassman said. "I’m incredibly grateful she came and spoke this evening. She mentioned her son is brave, but she’s also brave for coming and speaking."
FOX 5 reached out to MCPS to ask if the mother’s statements were accurate and, if so, why the district did not reach out to her.
MCPS spokesperson Chris Cram provided a response, but not an answer writing: "MCPS remains committed to supporting the Magruder community following the tragic events that occurred on Jan. 21. This community meeting represents months of additional listening sessions with staff and families affected by this incident. We heard from families that they wanted clarity on the sequence of events that transpired that day, and to openly engage in dialogue on how we move forward. We share the same goals in learning from this tragic experience, and continuing to prioritize safety and wellness within our schools."
Montgomery County’s fire chief, sheriff, and several police officials also attended and spoke at the meeting.
According to court records, Thomas filed a lawsuit against Montgomery County Public Schools earlier this month citing negligence.