Should school resource officers return to curb violence in Montgomery Co. public schools?

Officials from the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD), the State’s Attorney Office, and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) conducted a joint news conference Monday to give an update on the Magruder High School shooting. 

Fox 5 asked Montgomery Co. Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight whether she believes school resource officers need to return to the building to protect students and staff.

"I don’t want to see any particular program come back that we learned doesn’t work and that’s what we learned from the SRO program. Yes, there were positives to that program, but there were also negatives to the program. So it comes down to what are we looking at and what kind of environment do we want to create in our schools?" said Dr. McKnight

Related: Magruder High School shooting suspect held without bond, judge rules

County Executive Marc Elrich agreed with her sentiments.

Fox 5’s Sierra Fox also asked Montgomery County Council President, Gabe Albornoz, the same question, and he believes there should be a conversation about whether school resource officers are needed.

MCPD Chief Marcus Jones also shared new details about the motive behind the shooting at Magruder High School. 

He says the suspect, Steven Alston Jr., and victim, who has not been identified, were in the bathroom to settle an ongoing argument before the 11th grader shot the 10th grader. 


The Chief revealed other students were inside and tweeting about the violence, but didn’t alert any teachers or administrators right away. He continued to say the ghost gun used was purchased by the 17-year-old shooter online. 

After the suspect used the weapon, the slide was discovered in the classroom and the gun magazine with ammunition was found in his sock. Chief Jones wants to make it clear the gun was not operational during the time the suspect was in the classroom. 

As far as school resource officers, the money has been reallocated to go towards mental health support. Fox 5’s Sierra Fox asked the council president about how it’s going and how many positions have been filled so far.

"I asked that same question over the weekend and will be getting a response soon in terms of where we are in hiring the 50 social workers in this upcoming school year," said Albornoz. "We’re also – I know – looking through the Department of Health and Human Resources at enhancing the support services for providing for our school health and wellness programs."

He mentioned it is not clear how the council would vote on the school resource officer matter if it were to be a topic of discussion again.

For now, police officers will be back at Montgomery County high schools next week while officials determine the best way to handle safety moving forward.