Every school in Howard County is on notice after one of the school system’s frequent substitute teachers is accused of touching a student inappropriately at a school in Montgomery County.
“This is not a circle the wagon mentality. We open this up and we want to let individuals know that we want to know. So right now, if there’s more information out there, please let us know,” Dr. Michael Martirano, the interim superintendent for Howard County Schools, said.
He says 59-year-old Steven Katz walked the halls of at least 43 schools in the district in last two years.
This weekend, Katz turned himself into Montgomery County Police after a case where an 11-year-old boy at Cloverly Elementary School claimed Katz touch him on March 8th.
Martirano says while the school system conducts background checks, they’re not perfect.
“We go through the background checks. Understand that those, of times, are static. When there are reports, those some times are reported to us, but it doesn’t catch everything,” he said.
In a statement to parents, Martirano says he’s considering changes to those checks. But the best way, he says, to catch any slips is an open line of communication with students and parents.
“We employ 12,000 full and part-time individuals who go through a series of background checks and screenings, but also understand that we cannot always control the behaviors of individuals,” he said.