A months-long investigation conducted by the Montgomery County Office of the Inspector General has revealed that Joel Beidleman, a principal at Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, engaged in sexual misconduct and bullying, while also violating sexual harassment policies. The investigation was launched after numerous teachers accused Beidleman of sexual harassment earlier this year. The probe concluded that Beidleman made repeated comments about the appearance of female subordinates, directed offensive comments and jokes of a sexual nature at subordinates, bullied subordinates, and had a sexual relationship with a subordinate over whom he had supervisory responsibility.
The investigation also found that staff members were afraid to disagree with Beidleman, felt worried about their job security, and experienced intimidation and disrespect due to the principal’s behavior. Superintendent Monifa B. McKnight has received the investigation’s findings and will take appropriate action in response to the case. Beidleman has been placed on extended leave following allegations of sexual assault.
This investigation is one of two being conducted into Montgomery County Public Schools, with the other examining the district’s process for responding to allegations of misconduct by school employees. Last month, a civil discrimination lawsuit was filed against Montgomery County’s Board of Education and Beidleman, and additional lawsuits may follow.
In a statement, Superintendent McKnight acknowledged the troubling aspects revealed by the investigation and expressed the Board of Education’s commitment to using the findings as a catalyst for systemic reform and enhanced accountability. The Board aims to implement policies and systems that foster a culture of respect, ensuring that employees feel safe and confident in reporting complaints or concerns. The Inspector General’s work and her team were appreciated by the Board for their efforts.