Parents say MCPS ignored complaints about principal for years

Calls for accountability are intensifying among some Montgomery County teachers and parents who say they’ve complained for years about a principal’s harassment and bullying, but nothing was done. 

Jenni Coopersmith wants to know what took so long? 

She is a former Montgomery County Public Schools para-educator and parent who told FOX 5 she complained to school officials years ago that she and her daughter were harassed. That was back in 2016, and now six years later, that same principal faces 18 allegations of sexual harassment and bullying.

Dr. Joel Beidleman, the former Farquhar Middle School principal faces harassment accusations by several teachers, students and parents. 


MCPS launches investigation after principal accused of sexual harassment

A high school principal has been accused of sexual harassment by dozens of teachers in an article featured in The Washington Post Friday.

Coopersmith – who quit working for MCPS because of her grievances - says she reported Beidleman’s behavior but nothing was done. Now, she says MCPS' pledge to "actively listen" to the community –  sounds like empty promises, after years of inaction.

"They’ve got canned responses, they always have actually very canned responses," Coopersmith said. "They will never admit that they did anything wrong, so we really need some representation that will go in deep and hold everyone accountable!"

Beidleman was promoted to principal of Paint Branch High School in June before he was placed on leave. The school board’s hiring of a Baltimore law firm to investigate how it handled the complaints is not sitting well with many MCPS parents like Jennifer Gross. 

She told FOX 5, MCPS should not have a say in who runs their investigation.

"The state should absolutely step in. 100% the state should step in," she said. "This is the fox guarding the hen house, and they absolutely should not be able to investigate themselves and that’s what this is."

FOX 5 contacted both the Maryland Inspector General of Education, and the state’s attorney’s office in Montgomery County to see if they’re investigating. The inspector general acknowledged our message but did not respond. The states attorney office said they do not comment on the "existence or nonexistence of an ongoing investigation."