JOHN T. BAKER MIDDLE SCHOOL
25400 Oak Drive, Damascus, Maryland 20872 301-253-7010
Montgomery County Public Schools
Office of the Principal
November 3, 2014
The purpose of this letter is to provide you with information regarding an incident at Baker Middle School which has received some media coverage. The incident involved a temporary employee of a contractor who was doing work in the building and is accused of inappropriately touching one of our students.
When this incident occurred last month, we immediately contacted the student’s parents and the Montgomery County Police Department, which conducted an investigation and made an arrest. The investigation conducted by the police and MCPS Department of Safety and Security determined that this was an isolated incident at our school.
In consultation with the MCPS Office of School Support and Improvement, the Montgomery County Police Department, and MCPS Department of Safety and Security, a decision was made to not send a letter to the community about this incident when it occurred in order to protect the confidentiality and privacy of the minor-aged victim.. This incident did not involve an MCPS employee and nor did it involve any additional students. The MCPS written response to recent media inquiries and allegations is included on the back of this letter.
I acknowledge that the safety and security of all students and staff is my responsibility, and I am committed to acting swiftly to resolve all future incidences and to communicate in a timely manner with the Baker community.
If you have further questions, please contact me or any member of the administrative team at Baker Middle School. We would be pleased to answer your questions and discuss this issue with you at a parent coffee to be held on Wednesday, November 5, 7:00-7:30 a.m., in the Baker MS Media Center. Thank you for your continued support of our efforts to maintain a safe and secure learning environment for our children.
Louise Worthington, Ed.D.
“Maryland law requires that any person who enters into a contract with a county Board of Education or a nonpublic school “may not knowingly employ an individual to work at a school” if the individual is a registered sex offender. An employer who violates this requirement is guilty of a misdemeanor and if convicted may be subject to up to five years imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine.
Each contractor is required to screen its workforce to ensure that a registered sex offender does not perform work at a county public school and also to ensure that a subcontractor and independent contractor conducts screening of their personnel who may work at a school. The term “workforce” is intended to refer to all of the contractor’s direct employees and subcontractors and/or independent contractors it used to perform the work. Violation of this provision may cause Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to take action against the contractor up to and including termination of the contract. MCPS communicates these requirements to all contractors and potential contractors.
The individual in the John T. Baker Middle School incident was hired by Netcom, Inc. through a temporary agency. Netcom, Inc.’s policy is that it completes criminal background checks on all of its potential employees before being hired. The individual in question is not listed on the Maryland Sex Offender Registry. The temporary agency provided Netcom, Inc. with documentation to show that a criminal background check had been completed and showed no prior criminal record. However, the Department of School Safety and Security reviewed the matter after the individual’s arrest and discovered that the temporary employee had a criminal record, and the background check that had been completed by the temporary agency was inaccurate. As the temporary agency provided the necessary documentation, Netcom, Inc. did not conduct a separate background check. In the future, Netcom, Inc. will provide criminal background checks on all employees, including those hired through employment agencies