Montgomery Co. School Board votes for third-party investigation after apparent student murder-suicide

MONTGOMERY CO., Va. – The Montgomery County School Board has voted for a third-party review after two students died in an apparent murder-suicide.

As we previously reported, two high school students were found dead in a parking garage on Nov. 7, 2023.

10 News later spoke with the parents of one of the victims, who said their daughter, Serenity Hawley was shot in the chest by her ex-boyfriend, Croney Monk before he killed himself.

A petition began to circulate on social media, quickly gaining signatures. It requested an independent investigation into Montgomery County Public Schools.

[RELATED: Parents concerned after two Blacksburg High School administrators placed on leave]

In the weeks following the petition, two Blacksburg High School administrators were placed on leave, as we reported.

The board met on Tuesday night (Jan. 30) for a closed session as parents and students who were begging for answers gathered outside.

“I hope the school board takes this seriously the way we are. Who our principal is really affects our education. Also that we’re not looking for a scapegoat in all of this. We’re looking for a solution,” BHS senior Ele Norton said.

Superintendent Bernard Bragen Jr. said he supports students speaking up.

“I applaud the students that demonstrate their First Amendment right to protest peacefully. I want them to know that when I spoke with them, their message was heard and really appreciate that.”

Students who were demanding transparency Tuesday evening said they just wanted to feel safe.

“It’s important when we’re going into a building every day, we want to feel safe. We want to feel respected. We want to feel like we are aware of what’s going on at a larger level because it does effect our everyday life,” student Ella Prevette said.

Later Tuesday night, the Montgomery Co. School Board released a statement on the situation. They voted for a third-party review of the circumstances related to the incident.

“Our goals are to work expeditiously in support of this review and to take responsible and appropriate actions based on any recommendations returned,” the statement read, in part.

As for the parents, students and the New River Valley community pushing for answers – they’ll have to wait until the investigation is complete.

Read the full statement from the MCPS School Board below.

About the Authors

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.

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