The Montgomery County School Board voted Tuesday to start a third-party review of the events surrounding the deaths of two Blacksburg High School students in November.
“At a special meeting on Jan. 30, 2024, the Montgomery County School Board voted to initiate a third-party review of circumstances related to the off-campus deaths of two Blacksburg High School students on Nov. 7, 2023,” reads a statement released by Montgomery County Public Schools. “Our goals are to work expeditiously in support of this review and to take responsible and appropriate actions based on any recommendations returned.”
“The School Board intends for this review to aid in better understanding of the factual circumstances of the matter and to assess the school division’s legal and regulatory obligations in matters such as these,” the statement continues. “The School Board will not comment further until the review has been completed.”
The school board vote follows the presentation of a petition to the board initiated by community members asking for the independent review.
Dr. Wendy Eckenrod started a petition, established on www.nextdoor.com, calling for an independent investigation into how Montgomery County Public Schools’ employees responded to domestic violence issues that had been occurring between the two students and had been reported prior to the murder-suicide. The bodies of the two students were discovered Nov. 7, 2023, a teacher workday for Montgomery County Public Schools, in a Blacksburg parking garage.
Eckenrod is a professional counselor and Radford University professor, working in the School of Teaching Education and Leadership and is the parent of a Blacksburg High School student.