Friday, March 31, 2017

Protesters gather at first MoCo BOE meeting since Rockville HS rape reported

Protesters gathered yesterday outside the first Montgomery County Board of Education meeting since the alleged gang rape of a 14-year-old girl at Rockville High School on March 16. Angered to find that such an important incident was nowhere to be found on the meeting agenda, protesters and political candidates called for the immediate resignation of Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith. 

VIDEO: Rally highlights

"Our schools are overcrowded, undisciplined, low-achieving havens for violent street gangs," said Tom Ferleman, a candidate for the Montgomery County Council's District 2 seat. "The entire nation now knows us for the alleged rape of a child." Ferleman was one of those asking for Smith to resign.
Superintendent Jack Smith confers
with Board of Education member
Patricia O'Neill moments before
last  night's meeting began

After rally organizers held a press conference outside the Carver Educational Services Center in Rockville, several participants went inside to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting. Edward Amatetti, a teacher and also a candidate for Montgomery County Council District 2, said the gang rape was "not an isolated [incident]." He referred to the recently-revealed assault on a 17-year-old female student, which was covered up by Rockville HS school administrators and not reported initially to police nine days prior to the gang rape incident. The victim and her stepfather were given a "weeklong runaround" by the school and police, Amatetti charged.

Amatetti said a Latino immigrant father told him that he pulled his daughter out of Rockville H.S. after observing suspicious activities by students there. "He knew what he was seeing, even if school leaders didn't," Amatetti said, an allusion to the principal's recent denial of gang activity at the school. He recalled another Rockville H.S. parent telling him that his son was warned by a teacher to "keep his mouth shut in class," because members of the MS-13 gang were in that class. That teacher said he also was afraid of MS-13 himself.

The Board has been "too silent" on the gang rape incident, Amatetti said. He singled out Smith, telling him "your responses have been inadequate."

Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Dick Jurgena pressed the Board as to "why illegal alien men, who come from a completely-different culture and have no apparent educational training, are mixed with students as young as 13 or 14 years of age. How these two young men came to be enrolled in the county school system, and in the freshman class, raises many questions."

After their critics spoke, some on the Board were less than contrite. Patricia O'Neill, who is about to celebrate her 20th year on the Board, said the alleged gang rape was "shocking to all of us," and "horrifying. But I do not have facts," she hedged. Then, like several other county officials over the last two weeks, her voice suggested the public criticism of Smith and the BOE was a bigger issue than the rape itself. Raising her voice, O'Neill complained she has "truly been troubled by the harassing, threatening emails and phone calls," apparently oblivious to the fact that that very focus on politics, instead of the crime itself, has been driving many of those communications.

While O'Neill hasn't been heard raising her voice against violence against 14 and 17-year-old girls in school, she said that while watching a Fox News segment on the rape, "by the time the show was over, I was shouting at the T.V. Fake news has triggered this avalanche of vitriol."

It was also intriguing that Board member Jill Ortman-Fause said the emails and phone calls had "raised the level of anxiety in our schools," as opposed to the threat of rape or violence being the source of anxiety. "A lot of them are threats, and have to be reported to the police," she said, before taking time to congratulate staff. Board member Rebecca Smondrowski chose to reprise Councilmember Roger Berliner's infamously tone-deaf assessment of the gang rape: "Bad things happen." Oops.

Board President Michael Durso appeared to endorse the vitriolic remarks of a speaker during the public comment period who lashed out at those criticizing the school system, accusing them of being racists and using the rape incident and immigration status of the suspects for political gain. Neither the speaker nor Durso appeared to realize that MCPS and the Montgomery County Council have already politicized immigration, including many public statements, issuing resolutions and hiring an expensive immigration attorney with no clear Montgomery County-oriented purpose. No other jurisdiction in the area retains a specialized expensive immigration lawyer other than Montgomery County.

Perhaps in response to criticism over leaving the rape case off the agenda, Smith outlined the general security topics he and the system will review in the coming weeks:

  • How to utilize existing security personnel
  • How to allocate security resources
  • Review all facilities, and look at "places in schools where we could do changes in facilities"
  • Increase the number of entry checkpoints
  • Review how existing security cameras are used and monitored
  • Get student input
  • Add a curriculum "component" on "harassment, inappropriate sexual advances, and assault"
"I cannot express to our community how serious we are about this," Smith assured. But, examining this list, it sounds like a checklist one would already have gone over every six months or so in the post-Columbine/9/11 era. Is this really the first time this basic sort of list is being considered in such a large school system? That's cause for real concern by itself.

The pattern in the county has been just that - addressing basic, fundamental problems only after a catastrophic failure. This is how the County Council has operated for years. 911 system fails? Now we'll take a look at the backup systems. Flower Branch Apartments explode? Now we'll step up code inspections of apartment buildings. Did they just put county residents' email addresses online for hackers to steal from the Open Data website? Now Hans Riemer will draft a provision that should have been in his original legislation to protect residents.

It's time for new leadership, who can take a back-to-basics approach to the issues and services government should be focused on, instead of styrofoam, vending machines and teenage tanning beds.


Anonymous said...

Many of these people are despicable. But School Super is a piece of crap and has to go. Friggin Liberal politicians and officials. Screw em!

Anonymous said...

Super Smith and Rockville High principal must go.

Anonymous said...

Several months later and you still refuse to acknowledge that the 911 outage happened when Verizon was repairing and upgrading the backup system. That's not the same as "not having backup systems" or "not looking at the backup systems".

Anonymous said...

So who was the jackass in the cowboy hat?

Anonymous said...

Why does everyone in these photos look like they've skipped a step in evolution? A bunch of Neanderthal-looking MFers, no wonder they don't get consent...

Anonymous said...

Failed snow cleanup law, failed open data initiative, failed school super/lack of safety in schools, failed 911 system.

Common theme among all of these: Putting Montgomery County residents at risk.

Hell of a re-election resume.

Anonymous said...

Common theme among all of these: Dyer's Friday morning Gish Gallop.

Woodmont said...

6:53 AM = Argle Bargle

Anonymous said...

Isn't that the same Asian-American rent-a-mob that you've featured in two previous protests?

Riff Rafferty said...

Robert Dyer only cares about stories where he can criticize the County! Hey Robert, if you hate it so much here, just leave!

Riff Rafferty said...

Also these morons are smiling and posing for photos, that seems odd for a protest like this..

Anonymous said...

7:00 AM MoCo is great, but could be greater.
If you love a city, you want to improve it.
I doubt Dyer hates Bethesda considering he is covering it 24/7.

Anonymous said...

Dyer and BFF Ficker about to get their guns and round up the 'legals themselves. Make Trump proud boys!

Riff Rafferty said...

Dyer clearly gets off anytime he can find a reason to criticize anything in the County. I think he's just bitter as the voters rejected his ideas twice.

Anonymous said...

7:09 AM Journalists job is to scrutinize government and be skeptical of them.
That's exactly what Dyer is doing.

Anonymous said...


Hahaha. You must be new here. Dyer hasn't said a positive word about this county in years. Instead we get rants and diatribes about conspiracy theories about the communist council's secret plots, how the county economy is tanking (despite a ton of evidence to the contrary), how he has the most popular "news website" in the DC Area according to "analytics", and how terrorists marched against great leader Donald Trump.

I think the majority of county residents would welcome "keep them honest" journalism, but 99% of what Dyer blogs are extreme exaggerations/misrepresentations or flat-out lies (or "alternative facts", as Dyer's kind likes to say).

He especially has some personal grudge against council member Riemer (supposedly because he was humiliatingly trounced in an election), who admittedly is kind of sketchy, but Dyer is so extremely biased and hateful that he would accuse Riemer (if he hasn't already) of being a thief if he picked up a penny off the sidewalk, or a child-molester if he hugged a kid.

Bottom line: Dyer has 0 credibility.

Of course all the delusional nonsense is interspersed with genuine happenings around Bethesda, which is why people keep coming back. If not, this blog would be abandoned in an instant.

Anonymous said...

6:45 AM If you put the illegal weed down, maybe you could think coherent thoughts. Until then STAY IN YOUR LANE, the far right.

Robert Dyer said...

7:24: If I have zero credibility, why does Hans Riemer's ex-chief of staff share my exact opinion about the county's moribund private sector economy?

Why does Ike Leggett share my exact concern that we are becoming a bedroom community?

Why has the Council shifted from its transit-only solution for the Legion bridge to Express Lanes?

We're supposed to believe Hans Riemer's dry cleaning pickup guy anonymously hiding behind a keyboard over these very public endorsements of positions I've held for years, and others are slowly inching around to admitting are correct?

Anonymous said...

I don't care abot the immigration issue. It's mostly a federal issue and MCPS needs to comply. I don't fault them for that.

What I do fault MCPS and Smith for is not responding to the _security_ aspects of this in a timely manner. Why did they wait until now -- 2 weeks after the incident -- to announce a review of security at MCPS schools? What were they waiting for the last 2 weeks?

Why did it take Smith almost a week to address Rockville HS parents on the issue, and why did he run out of the meeting while parents still had questions to ask.


Dyer, keep track of who is on the school board and post it clearly when it's election time. I want to vote all of them out.

I guess school board doesn't have term limits if O'Neill has been there 20 years. Can we term-limit them also somehow?

Woodmont said...

#UnsignedDyer @ 6:54 - Before you idiotically parrot phrases that others use, it is a good idea to understand what they actually mean, so that you can use them in a context that is actually appropriate.

Argle Bargle said...

7:47AM You're inappropriate.

And it's not a reach to say folks like Reimer are not competent. He has a bad track record and it's just getting worse in his second term :(

Fairmont Plaza said...

"Dyer, keep track of who is on the school board and post it clearly when it's election time. I want to vote all of them out."

Laziest voter, ever.

Anonymous said...

So how many attended the rally? I saw no more than 10 in your photos and video.

Anonymous said...

8:06 AM = Argle Bargle

Anonymous said...

8:13 - Actually there were 20 protestors, and 8 counter-protestors (whom Dyer didn't even bother to mention.

Thank you, Bethesda's News Site of Record! :)

(They also have good pictures of Jackass-in-a-cowboy-hat.)

Anonymous said...

Dyer is doing good. He's trying to improve his community. Great goal!
I love his reporting.
The police blotter is great- much better than the Post's!

Anonymous said...


Han's Riemer's ex-chief of staff is Dyer's expert source on the "moribund economy"? Hahaha, this just keeps getting better and better.

Ike Leggett??? You might want to take a look at:

"Hans Riemer's dry cleaning pickup guy anonymously hiding behind a keyboard."

There you go again with your nutty conspiracy theories. It's really hillarious coming from a guy who is Robin Ficker's lackey. Now be a good boy and tell us how big, bad Mr. Riemer hurt you today.

Robert Dyer said...

8:49: That's just how bad it is for Riemer - his own ex-chief of staff agrees with Robert Dyer, not Hans Riemer, on the economy. Riemer is more of a danger to himself then to me, punk. Just look at his record.

8:43: Argle Bargle. Is that why they're still crawling around trying to find their heads on all the stories I've reported this week? #ArgleBargle

You still sound like Charlie Brown's teacher with these incessant Argle Bargle comments: WA WA WA WAWAWWA WA

Anonymous said...

I'd like Dyer to pick up my dry cleaning...I'll pay him $10 a run and maybe he can save up enough to move out of his mom's basement?

Riff Rafferty said...

I'd like to see where Wrol, Betsey, and Poppy sit on this matter of dry cleaning and Dyer's contempt for MoCo. I follow a good bit and value their posts.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that when Berliner opens his mouth on TV, MoCo Cable closed captioning sub titles just say "argle bargle"?

Barwood Sucks said...

9:06AM Your "Dyer lives in his parents basement" joke got old 5 years ago.
Get new material please! I know you can be witty.

Anonymous said...

Barwood Sucks, you live in dyer's mom's basement's sub-basement

Anonymous said...

"That's just how bad it is for Riemer - his own ex-chief of staff agrees with Robert Dyer, not Hans Riemer, on the economy."

Ever notice how Dyer can never, ever, back up his claims with direct quotes from those he claims to be quoting?

Barwood Sucks said...

9:21AM All of Dyer's readers live in his parent's basement? You sound crazier by the minute.

I'm just suggesting you evolve. Over 5 years, and you have the same couple of responses to every Dyer article. One is your joke about him living in his parent's basement.


Robert Dyer said...

9:29: I guess you missed that article where I DID quote Riemer's ex-chief-of-staff.

Anonymous said...

Dyer @ 11:46 - Why don't you just link to that article (it sounds like it is from several years ago) so your readers can judge for themselves?

Anonymous said...

MCPS needs an independent security audit.
We don't need to see MCPS flunkies auditing themselves and patting themselves on the back.
Only an independent audit will properly identify security deficiencies in our schools.

Uber Will Be Gone In 2018 said...

@ 9:28 said:

"Barwood Sucks, you live in Mom's basement's sub-basement."

Barwood Sucks @ 9:38 said:

"All of Dyer's readers live in his parent's [sic] basement?"

Barwood Sucks just tipped his hand, indicating that he is Dyer's only reader.

Robert Dyer said...

7:56: MCPS does need an independent audit, as we found with the devastating results of the state's audit, which were covered up by both MCPS and the local media. Fortunately, I reported in detail the audit results here on this website.

6:31: Here is the article with Riemer's ex-chief-of-staff agreeing with Robert Dyer:

Anonymous said...

Dyer deleted the comment that noted that there were no job losses from 2011 onward, since Hans Riemer has been in office.




Robert Dyer said...

2:58: You failed to notice that those years are INCLUDED in the post-2000 time period, in which we had a net LOSS of jobs, while the jurisdictions around us enjoyed an average of 9% job growth. You can't cherry pick your way out of moribundness. But you can pick up Hans Riemer's dry cleaning.