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Updates on Substitute Teacher Steven Katz

March 19th, 2018

Message sent to the HCPSS community on April 18, 2018:

New information is now available regarding a former HCPSS substitute teacher, Mr. Steven Katz. As was previously communicated, following the March 16 arrest of Mr. Katz by Montgomery County Police on charges of child sexual abuse, HCPSS determined that this individual had worked as a substitute at a number of Howard County schools during 2016-2018. A list of those schools was provided at that time.

After further investigation, it has been determined that Mr. Katz worked during the 2012-2015 school years at a number of additional Howard County schools, which are listed below. The principals of these schools have been notified and each will reach out directly to their school community. Because many students who may have come into contact with Mr. Katz during those years have by now moved on to middle or high school, the other schools in the feeder pattern have been notified as well.

The safety and well-being of our children is the highest priority of our school system and entire community. Communication is critical, and parents are urged to talk with their children about any contact they may have had with Mr. Katz. These resources may be helpful in approaching this difficult topic. Montgomery County Police request that parents who suspect that their child was victimized by this individual to contact detectives at 240-773-5400. Parents or guardians who believe that their child may have had an inappropriate contact with any individual at any time are asked to contact Howard County Police Department Detectives at 410-313-2630 or the Department of Social Services at 410-872-4203.

As always, school administrators and student services staff are prepared and available to support any child or staff member in need. Parents and guardians with concerns are encouraged to contact the principal or community superintendent at any time.

Steven Katz has been a substitute teacher in the following schools during the years noted in parenthesis:

  • Atholton Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Bellows Spring Elementary School (2012-15)
  • Bollman Bridge Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Bryant Woods Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Bushy Park Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Centennial Lane Elementary School (2012-15)
  • Clarksville Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Clemens Crossing Elementary School (2012-15)
  • Cradlerock Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Dayton Oaks Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Deep Run Elementary School (2012-15)
  • Ducketts Lane Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Elkridge Elementary School (2012-15)
  • Forest Ridge Elementary School (2012-15)
  • Fulton Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Gorman Crossing Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Guilford Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Hammond Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Hollified Station Elementary School (2012-15)
  • Ilchester Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Jeffers Hill Elementary School (2012-15)
  • Laurel Woods Elementary School (2012-15)
  • Lisbon Elementary School (2016-18)
  • Longfellow Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Manor Woods Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Northfield Elementary School (2012-15)
  • Phelps Luck Elementary School (2012-15)
  • Pointers Run Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Rockburn Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Running Brook Elementary School (2012-18)
  • St. John’s Lane Elementary School (2012-15)
  • Stevens Forest Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Swansfield Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Talbott Springs Elementary School (2012-15)
  • Thunder Hill Elementary School (2012-15)
  • Triadelphia Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Veterans Elementary School (2012-15)
  • Waterloo Elementary School (2012-15)
  • Waverly Elementary School (2012-18)
  • West Friendship Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Worthington Elementary School (2012-18)
  • Bonnie Branch Middle School (2012-18)
  • Dunloggin Middle School (2016-18)
  • Elkridge Landing Middle School (2012-15)
  • Ellicott Mills Middle School (2016-18)
  • Folly Quarter Middle School (2012-18)
  • Hammond Middle School (2012-15)
  • Harpers Choice Middle School (2012-18)
  • Lake Elkhorn Middle School (2012-15)
  • Lime Kiln Middle School (2016-18)
  • Mayfield Woods Middle School (2016-18)
  • Mount View Middle School (2016-18)
  • Murray Hill Middle School (2012-18)
  • Oakland Mills Middle School (2012-18)
  • Patapsco Middle School (2012-18)
  • Patuxent Valley Middle School (2012-15)
  • Wilde Lake Middle School (2012-16)
  • Atholton High School (2012-18)
  • Centenniel High School (2012-15)
  • Glenelg High School (2016-18)
  • Hammond High School (2012-18)
  • Howard High School (2012-18)
  • Long Reach High School (2012-15)
  • Marriotts Ridge High School (2012-15)
  • Mt. Hebron Ridge High School (2012-15)
  • Oakland Mills High School (2012-15)
  • Reservoir High School (2012-18)
  • River Hill High School (2012-15)
  • Wilde Lake High School (2012-15)
  • Homewood (2012-15)

Message sent to the HCPSS community on March 19, 2018:

Dear Community,

I want to follow up on the message I sent to you Saturday night and provide some additional information about our efforts since then.

As soon as I learned of the arrest of Steven Katz, I took immediate steps to notify the community and begin the communication process through our principals. My letter was followed by a message from school administrators to their communities. These messages provided information on the dates we know that this individual served as a substitute in those schools. We also provided resources to assist parents with talking to their children about this very difficult topic. Additionally, every school also has student services staff that any student or family can access for support.

I appreciate the supportive response by the Howard County community since Saturday and I am encouraged by your collaboration to keep our children safe. Staff have already begun to review the process for evaluating substitutes and putting in place a system to more periodically conduct background checks.

Since I reached out on Saturday, we have gathered a bit more information.

The most important information that I can share is that if you suspect that your child may have had an inappropriate encounter with this individual – or any individual – please contact Howard County Police Department Detectives at 410-313-2630 or the Department of Social Services at 410-872-4203. This communication is critical.

My office and our school leaders have been asked why this individual was able to work as a substitute teacher during the time he was being investigated by the Montgomery County Police Department. Unfortunately, news of the arrest came as a surprise to us as we were not aware that this individual was suspected of these charges until Saturday, March 17. This put us in a position of responding to a situation without having many details. Over the next several days, we will be working with our law enforcement counterparts as well as neighboring school systems to ensure that we implement stronger communication protocols when sharing information related to the safety and security of our children.

We know that this individual has been a substitute teacher in Howard County for the past six years. The vendor that we use to track and fulfill substitute teaching positions allows us to easily access the past two years of jobs he had accepted. In those two years, this individual had been a substitute teacher at 43 HCPSS schools. We are currently working with the vendor to access additional schools in which he may have worked prior to two years ago. The list of schools is included at the end of this letter. To this point, we are not aware of any formal complaint lodged against this individual that would have permitted the system and police to conduct a child abuse investigation.

We are all here to keep our children safe and provide any additional supports that they require.

Michael J. Martirano
Interim Superintendent

Initial message sent to the HCPSS community on March 17, 2018:

Dear Community,

Over the weekend we learned of the arrest of Steven Katz for an incident involving sexual abuse of a minor that occurred while he was working at a Montgomery County elementary school. This individual has also served as a substitute teacher in Howard County. We are reviewing Mr. Katz’s work history with HCPSS and will be cooperating with the Montgomery County Police Department in their investigation. Detectives have requested that parents whose children may have had contact with Katz talk with their children about their interactions. Any concerns should be shared immediately with the detectives at 240-773-5400.

These charges cause me great concern as I’m sure it does for each of you. We take safety of our students seriously and I am greatly chagrined that this individual was trusted to enter our classrooms and teach our children. As with all HCPSS employees, he underwent a criminal background check, fingerprinting and a detailed reference check when he was hired by HCPSS. I have directed our staff to review the process for evaluating substitutes, and putting in place a system to more periodically conduct background checks.

School administrators and staff, particularly at schools where this substitute teacher worked with children, are prepared to provide support for families as you process this news. I encourage you to contact your school’s principal directly with any questions or concerns. Principals at schools where he worked are proactively reaching out to their school communities and will ensure that the necessary supports are available Monday as students return to school.

As a parent and an educator, I find this news troubling, and violating. As you have these difficult conversations at home with your children, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child(ren)’s Principal, counselors, teachers or community superintendents if we can provide any support whatsoever.

Michael J. Martirano
Interim Superintendent