October newsbriefs

Oct. 6, 2005, midnight | By Ravi Umarji | 15 years, 3 months ago

Two deaths occur at MCPS football games
Kanisha Neal, a Rockville freshman, was stabbed at a James H. Blake football game by a 15-year-old Sherwood student on Sept. 23. The incident was the second fatality in one week at an MCPS football game, according to "The Washington Post." Stephone Wiggins, a 23-year-old Germantown resident, died of injuries received on Sept. 16, when he was beaten with a baseball bat at a football game between Seneca Valley and Northwest. In response to the deaths, MCPS is considering adding more security guards and police officers to supervise football games.

Blake evacuated after bomb threat
James H. Blake was evacuated as the result of the second bomb threat in two weeks last Friday, according to Blake Security Assistant Arlene Seckel. Blake security took the most recent threat more seriously than they took the Sept. 23 threat because of the information the call contained, said Seckel. "It was more specific than, 'There's a bomb in the building,'" she said, but she did not know what made the second call unique.

After security ensured that the football stadium was safe, students were evacuated there by 10:30 a.m. and dismissed at 1 p.m. Blake's in-house police officer called a bomb squad, which determined that the building was clear. The school reopened at 3 p.m., and students were allowed to return to the building.

Graduation site changed
The graduation site for the class of 2006 has been changed from Jericho City of Praise, a 10,000-seat church, to the 4,500-seat Show Place Arena Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro. The move followed complaints filed in June by concerned parents with the advocacy group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

MCPS parents publicize opt-out form
In response to the publicity and popularity of anti-recruitment efforts, a group of Blair parents distributed opt-out forms that allow parents to prevent military recruiters from obtaining a student's contact information during Back to School Night on Sept. 8.

The booth was organized by Madeleine Fletcher, a parent and member of the Committee on Recruitment Issues at Blair. Fletcher informed parents about the form and its recent revisions. "A lot of parents are not aware of this opt-out form. Most parents I've talked to have no idea schools are required to give out [a student's] information," she said.

Vending profits drop
Blair could lose money on its current 10-year vending contract with Pepsi when the contract expires in 2007. The vending machines have lost one-third of their sales since the county mandated new nutrition policies last year. Since the policy was implemented, sales have decreased in all vending machines except for the milk and ice cream machines on Blair Boulevard.

Blair students attend anti-war protests
Blair's Students for Global Responsibility attended a series of protests organized by United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), Act Now to Stop War and End Racism and other groups against the war in Iraq the weekend of Sept. 23 in Washington, D.C. The events included a march and rally against the war in Iraq, a "Peace and Justice Festival," interfaith services, counter-recruitment training and lobbying.

The weekend also showcased a free anti-war concert, "Operation Ceasefire," which featured several musicians, including Joan Baez, LeTigre, Thievery Corporation and Ted Leo & the Pharmacists. Hundreds of thousands of protesters from around the country traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the demonstrations, according to UFPJ.

MCPS SAT scores remain the same
MCPS seniors scored an average of 1101 on the 2005 SAT, a decrease of one point from last year's score, the Office of the Superintendent said in a Sept. 1 report. Despite the slight decline, the score represents marked progress for county education, said Kate Harrison, assistant director of the MCPS Public Information Office. "Once again this year the average score was over 1100, which is really quite an accomplishment, especially since there's been such an increase in the number of people taking the test this year," she said.

County council passes defecation ban
The Montgomery County Council passed a bill banning public urination and defecation on Sept. 20. The measure was prompted by complaints from business owners and residents in Wheaton, Bethesda and Silver Spring who say that the urination devalues their property, according to an article in "The Gazette."

Violators will be charged with a misdemeanor and will face incarceration, a fine or both. The issue was first publicized when County Executive Doug Duncan cited urination and defecation as two elements contributing to Wheaton's unsafe image in a March study.

Newsbriefs compiled by Ravi Umarji with additional reporting by Olivia Buzek, Alexander Gold, Allie O'Hora, Christine Kim, Adam Yalowitz and Emma Zachurski.

Guidance Corner
Resource counselor Marcia Johnson reminds seniors that representatives of various colleges will visit the Career Center throughout October.

Important Dates:
•Oct. 8 — SAT I and II administered
•Oct. 10 — Open house for parents
•Oct. 12 — Late registration deadline for Nov. 5 SAT
•Oct. 13 — No school for students and teachers; Yom Kippur
•Oct. 21 — No school for students and teachers; MSTA Convention
•Oct. 29 — Homecoming game, 2 p.m.; Homecoming dance, 7:30 p.m.
•Oct. 31 — First marking period ends
•Nov. 1 — No school for students; report card preparation
•Nov. 5 — SAT I and II administered

Silver Quill, Blair's literary magazine, received the Gold Circle Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association last month. The magazine was judged on design, layout, content and art.
•The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced the names of 16,000 semifinalists of the 50th annual National Merit Scholarship Program last month. The following 40 Blair seniors qualified: Elizabeth Albert, Alexander Alm, Michael Arbit, Jacob Asbell, Rachel Bell, Jahnavi Bhaskar, Kiran Bhat, Lu Chen, Abhishek Dhar, Greg Donaldson, Katrina Emery, Eric Esch, Rose Feinberg, Daniel Gillen, Alexander Gold, Jordan Goldstein, Jeremy Goodman, Robert Hendryx, Gregory Howard, Ravi Joseph, Mitchell Katz, John Kim, Rachel Kirsch, Erik Li, Alice Li, Joseph Lorenz, Max Morawski, Sean O'Brien, Samir Paul, John Silberholz, Will Tao, Andreas Voellmer, Eddie Wang, David White, Avi Wolfman-Arent, Sarah Wolk, Nina Yang, Chelsea Zhang and Yuning Zhang.

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