This article was updated at 10 a.m. Jan. 21 to provide more detail from police, including that a gun was present; and provide more background on recent incidents at county schools.
A student was arrested with brass knuckles and a knife Friday at Albert Einstein High School amid a lockdown prompted by reports of a student with a gun, according to Montgomery County police. A BB gun was recovered at the Kensington school but could not be linked to any particular person, police said.
Montgomery County Public Schools officials also reported that an email to inform parents was misdirected, and parents were not told of the situation until after the lockdown had been lifted.
The school was placed on lockdown around 1:54 p.m. Friday, as police investigated the validity of the report of a weapon, police stated. Officers identified the student and their location. The student was found with brass knuckles, a knife and marijuana, and was charged with possession of all three.
The lockdown was lifted around 2:22 p.m.
Officers searching the school found the BB gun but could not determine who it belonged to, police said.
Officers remained on the scene throughout the student dismissal process, according to MCPD’s Director of Public Information Shiera Goff.
According to a parent, Betsy Mendelson, students sat in buses in the parking lot until 2:30 p.m. as they were slowly dismissed by armed officers in groups, class by class. According to Mendelson, buses left the school around 3:45 p.m.
According to Christopher Cram, MCPS’s director of communications, an email informing parents of the incident was mistakenly sent to school staff, which led to parents not receiving reports of the lockdown and dismissal process until 2:55 p.m., a half-hour after the lockdown had been lifted.
The lockdown comes a week after Richard Montgomery High School was placed on lockdown after a student reported seeing an individual with what appeared to be a handgun on school property, officials stated.
Earlier this month, police retrieved a pellet gun from Gaithersburg Middle School.
In September, parents complained about MCPS’ communication related to a lockdown at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School prompted by what turned out to be the false report of a gun.
Steven Alston Jr., formerly a student at Derwood’s Col. Zadok Magruder High School, was sentenced in December to 18 years in prison for attempted first-degree murder in a shooting in January 2022 in the school bathroom.
The charges arose from an incident where Alston, then 17, shot 15-year-old DeAndre Thomas with a ghost gun, leaving the victim with life-threatening injuries and rocking the Magruder community. Alston pleaded guilty to the charges in October.
The shooting triggered ongoing community conversations about the role of police officers in schools and the need for more student mental health services, better emergency communication systems and increased school transparency and date-sharing.