BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — An elementary school principal in Montgomery County who set up a “smash space” designed to let teachers hack away at a chair with a baseball bat to relieve tension has resigned.

Kensington Parkwood Elementary School Principal Barbara Liess said in a letter sent home to parents last Wednesday that she regrets her decision. She says the space was set up March 8 and she got the idea from reading business articles about companies providing ways to reduce stress.

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Sarah Sirgo, a director of school support and improvement for the Montgomery County school district, told families the district doesn’t condone this sort of behavior and officials are committed to providing employees with wellness support.

This week, Liess sent this letter to parents:

Dear Staff and Families of Kensington Parkwood Elementary School:

I am honored to have been the principal of Kensington Parkwood Elementary for the past ten years. In that time I have worked with the most talented and dedicated staff to serve a truly wonderful community. We have all worked together to create a school for which we can be proud.

During the last ten years we have successfully grown and maintained our practices as an arts integration school; one of the many things that sets Kensington Parkwood apart from other schools. Together we have also created a welcoming and truly inclusive special education program and have embraced social emotional learning through our restorative circles and social skills lessons. In addition, we have nurtured the growth of future educators through our partnership with the University of Maryland. I will forever look back on the work we have done together with pride.

Recent events have been a distraction from the positive things we have been able to achieve. Therefore, in light of the care that I have for our staff, students, and community, I have decided to seek a new position in Montgomery County Public Schools. I will remain at Kensington Parkwood through June 30, 2017 in order to support a successful transition to the 2017-2018 school year.

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Dr. Sarah Sirgo, director, School Support and Improvement, will be in touch with you in the coming days regarding next steps in the principal selection process. I am confident that the candidates for this principalship will be able to build on the work we have achieved together.

The time I have spent at Kensington Parkwood Elementary School is among the most memorable of my professional career. I look forward to my next steps and thank you for all your support.


Ms. Barbara Liess


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