Howard County school officials are reviewing safety procedures after police arrested a 17-year-old Wilde Lake High School student for allegedly raping a 14-year-old female student at an unoccupied classroom.
School officials said Tuesday that they are investigating why the room had been left unlocked.
DeShawn Rasheed Jones, of Columbia, will face second-degree rape charges in connection with the incident, police said. Jones will be charged and tried as an adult, police said.
Police said he approached the girl in the hallway on Monday and asked her to cut class with him. The girl told police that while walking through the halls, Jones pulled her into the empty classroom and blocked the door so she could not leave.
She said that Jones held her down and raped her while she told him to stop. She reported the incident to a parent, who called police.
Jones is currently being held on $500,000 bond, police said.
Schools spokeswoman Rebecca Amani-Dove said the school system has procedures to ensure that students are where they are supposed to be, which include keeping rooms locked when they are not in use. Keeping doors locked while not in use, she said, is common practice, though not mandated by policy.
"Our principals encourage their teachers to lock their doors when not in use, and while it's certainly a best practice, it's not mandatory," she said.
She said school personnel is investigating the incident.
According to a school system statement, the administration informed staff and parents Tuesday afternoon, and school counselors and a psychologist were made available to the victim and other students.
“We want to reassure the Wilde Lake High School community that the safety of our students is of the highest priority,” Wilde Lake High School Principal James LeMon said in a letter to parents.