Substitute teacher Jose Pineda, age 50, inappropriately touched a student at Roberto W. Clemente Middle School on September 30. Pineda was arrested on October 14 and charged with sex abuse of a minor. Parents were notified by the school via a letter sent home on November 7.
In a press release, MCPS stated that Pineda has worked at 20 Montgomery County schools since the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. Parents whose children attend these schools are now asked to report any information about inappropriate conduct to the police and school administration as soon as possible. Over the past two days, Ridgeview Middle School and Gaithersburg Elementary School students have indicated they had inappropriate interactions with Pineda. The parents of these students have been consulted and the police are investigating these allegations. Pineda had worked at Ridgeview Middle School for 29 days and Gaithersburg Elementary School for three days since the beginning of last school year.
“We are continuing investigation into the work history of Jose Pineda,” said Gboyinde Onijala from the MCPS Public Information Office.
Clemente Middle School student Melody Zhang voiced her surprise about the incident. “I heard about similar incidents at John T. Baker Middle School and Seneca Valley High School, [but] this incident did make me feel more unsafe in this school.”
Another Clemente student who wished to remain anonymous expressed that “it was actually quite scary to be going to school in a place where these kinds of things were happening.”
Administrators at Clemente declined multiple requests for comment.
Substitute teacher John Epps Jr., age 44, was also arrested for inappropriately grabbing a student at John T. Baker Middle School on October 6. Parents were not notified until a month following the incident.
Many parents have complained about the schools’ long delays over informing parents. Montgomery County Public Schools will hold a meeting this week with school principals to cover communication protocols involving sexual assault and other such incidents.
Article by the MoCo Student MCPS News Staff
Image by courtesy of MCPS Moment