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School Safety Subcabinet

Meeting Minutes

April 15, 2019

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

100 Community Place, Crownsville, MD 21032


Dr. Karen B. Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools and Subcabinet Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:08 AM, provided opening comments and noted that a quorum was present.

The following Subcabinet members were in attendance:

  • Ms. Carol Beatty, Secretary, Maryland Department of Disabilities
  • Mr. William Fields, Assistant Attorney General – Attorney General Designee
  • Mr. Robert Gorrell, Executive Director, Interagency Committee on School Construction
  • Mr. Robert Neall, Secretary, Maryland Department of Health
  • Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent, Maryland State Police

The following Maryland Center for School Safety (MCSS) members were at the meeting table:

  • Ms. Kate Hession, Executive Director, MCSS
  • Mr. Joseph Pignataro, Deputy Director, MCSS
  • Ms. Dawn O’Croinin, Assistant Attorney General, MCSS

Other meeting attendees in the room:

Representatives of State agencies, the Governor’s Office and additional staff from MCSS were in attendance.

No one within the Subcabinet had any additions to the agenda.

Approval of Prior Meeting Minutes

Ms. Hession had one correction that had already been identified. She explained the minutes did not reference Secretary Beatty as “Secretary” but as Ms. Beatty which apologies were extended and corrections were made.

A motion was made by Mr. Gorrell and the motion was seconded by Secretary Beatty to approve the meeting minutes from the March 25, 2019 meeting. The minutes were unanimously approved.

Maryland Center for School Safety Updates 

Ms. Hession introduced Mr. Jeyan Jebaraj as the Center’s new data analyst. Ms. Hession thanked the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Human Resources department for their support in recruiting and hiring process for the Center staff.

Mr. Jebaraj introduced himself and informed the board of his extensive data and geographic information systems (GIS) background. Mr. Jebaraj has been in the industry for 15 years starting in private industry and joined the State of Maryland five years ago. Mr. Jebaraj explained he was with the Department of Information Technology (DoIt) contracted to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) the past year.

Dr. Salmon welcomed Mr. Jebaraj and explained that his expertise will be of good use to MCSS, MSDE, and the State.

Ms. Hession updated the Subcabinet on the School Resource Officer (SRO) and School Security Employee trainings. Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that the trainings began on April 1st for both the 40-hour course and 16-hour comparative compliance course. There were 28 participants for the full course and six participants in the comparative compliance course. Both courses received excellent reviews from the participants. The Center brought in subject matter experts to brief on certain parts of the SRO training.

Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that during the training, MCSS was updating the training materials on the “fly” based on feedback during the class. The Center was able to use that class as the Center’s second “set of eyes.” MCSS will be finalizing the lesson plans for use with the upcoming trainings.

Dr. Salmon asked if there were about a thousand more students to train.

Ms. Hession replied yes, there are close to a thousand to be trained by September 1st and the next pre-deployment is scheduled for the first week in May.

Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that this is a train-the-trainer model. She went on to explain that a good portion of the 28 students in that class will be able to teach other law enforcement officers, so they will be part of the Center’s training group going forward.

Dr. Salmon asked Ms. Hession if she could provide the dates of the upcoming SRO trainings so that “if anyone on the Subcabinet had a chance, they could stop in and see some of the training, and what it is all about.”

Ms. Hession replied yes, MCSS is finalizing the locations and delivery dates for the remaining trainings and jurisdictions. The Center will provide a training plan to the Subcabinet once that is finalized.

Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that she has requested that Mr. Pignataro and the regional staff develop a training plan that includes the SRO training and those trainings recommended by the Subcabinet in the annual report such as: stop-the-bleed, automatic defibrillator, CPR, and Youth Mental Health First Aid. The Center is coordinating with the State Department of Education and Project Aware to have Center staff participate in the Youth Mental Health First Aid train-the-trainer course.

Ms. Hession asked Mr. Pignataro if he had any additional information to provide the Subcabinet.

Mr. Pignataro stated that he had looked into the different stop-the-bleed kits as the Subcabinet requested in last month’s Subcabinet meeting. He found that there were many different kits available for purchase but not all of them have everything needed by each local school system. He stated that some have to be paired together. He stated that he believed that was the reason why jurisdictions were opting to purchase the pre-made kits. He also stated that he believed that was the reason why the Subcabinet was seeing the various dollar amounts on the grants discussed in last week’s meeting from the various vendors based on their procurement rules.

Mr. Pignataro stated the training plan drafts would be ready for review at the next meeting. He mentioned that he was meeting with training staff next week to look at different models as alternative ways to offer the training and how to set up those sessions. He will also be asking the different regions how they would like to have the training set up.

Dr. Salmon suggested that Mr. Pignataro look at the schools in the different jurisdictions to see if they would be willing to offer the use of space for training versus paying at other locations.

Ms. Hession replied that some of the schools had reached out offering usage of their locations.

Dr. Salmon replied that it would be to the schools benefit.

Dr. Salmon moved the meeting forward by asking her Special Projects Assistant Mr. Zachary Hands to discuss and review the legislative session.

Mr. Hands asked if everyone had received a copy of the legislative overview and stated the he and Ms. O’Croinin would go through the eight pieces of legislation. Seven bills passed that were related to school safety and one, the Safe Schools Act 2019, did not pass. Mr. Hands informed the group that Ms. O’Croinin would cover the Safe Schools Act 2019.

Ms. O’Croinin stated House Bill 420 was an alteration to the existing criminal statute covering threats of mass violence. The statutory change removed the requirement that five or more individuals had to feel threatened. The statute now makes it a crime simply to threaten to commit or threaten to cause to be committed a crime of violence that would place five or more people at substantial risk of death or serious risk of injury if carried out.

Ms. O’Croinin informed the Subcabinet that HB 420 was an emergency bill and awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Mr. Hands stated that House Bill 725: Student Discipline and Restorative Practices, which seeks to apply restorative practices and discipline models to Maryland schools. Mr. Hands stated that these could range from utilizing conflict resolution to restorative circles and conferences. County boards must adopt regulations to implement restorative practices as at least an aspect of student discipline and the State Board of Education shall supply technical assistance or training upon requests from county boards of education.

Mr. Hands further stated that MSDE must submit a report by October 1st, as an addendum to the student discipline data they already submit, regarding the use of these restorative practices and a review of current disciplinary practices and policies statewide.

Dr. Salmon stated that the State Board has a subcommittee that is currently looking at discipline practices. She stated that she believes it will be interesting to have all of this come together.

Ms. O’Croinin stated that House Bill 844: Reporting requirement of school psychology services within the local school systems. This bill requires local school systems to file a report with MSDE going over the number of school psychologists assigned in ratio to the number of students per school. The goal is to have a ratio of one school psychologist per 700 students and to help identify what funding may be needed in order to meet that goal. Ms. O’Croinin stated the bill is specifically looking at provision of services within the school system.

Mr. Hands stated that House Bill 1186: Fire Drill Requirements, State Fire Prevention Code, requires that every non-public school in the State conduct fire drills in accordance with the State fire prevention code. Mr. Hands stated this would mean five drills for those schools with automatic sprinkler systems and eight for those without sprinkler systems in their schools. The schools without sprinkler systems must maintain records and share them with the State Board of Education.

Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that MCSS has already received questions from the nonpublic and private schools about drills in general and what they are required to do.

Mr. Hands informed the Subcabinet that House Bill 1346: Student Peer Mediation Fund Establishment, establishes the student peer mediation fund and requires that the Governor appropriates $50,000 in the budget to provide grant assistance to the schools and community organizations in Baltimore City with the aim of reducing juvenile violence. The Governor’s Office of Crime, Control, and Prevention (GOCCP) will administer the fund.

Mr. Hands clarified to the Subcabinet that the bills are waiting for Governor Hogan’s signature.

Ms. O’Croinin informed the Subcabinet that Senate Bill 165/House Bill 148, the Safe Schools of Maryland Act of 2019 was heard in respective chambers without opposition. During the final week of the legislative session there was a last minute effort by several groups to amend the language. The bill passed on the Senate without amendments. There were amendments in the House, but it did not pass third reader until Sine Die, and there was insufficient time to have the bill cross back over to the Senate for a vote with amendments.

Ms. O’Croinin stated that overall, MCSS will continue to operate “business as usual” and the same methodology and legal analysis that has been applied to the information housed in the system will remain intact and the agency will try again next legislative session.

Mr. Hands stated that Senate Bill 0318: School Safety Subcabinet Advisory Board Membership adds a member to the Advisory Board from a non-public special education school.

Ms. O’Croinin stated that there was a brief update on the Kirwan Bill: The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. Ms. O’Croinin provided the Subcabinet with a chart that shows the distinction between how wraparound services are defined in the Blueprint vs. how they are defined in the Safe to Learn Act 2018. Ms. O’Croinin further stated that there was a central theme throughout. Providing various services within the local school systems and community which includes a substantial amount of mental health services and early intervention services.

Ms. O’Croinin stated that trauma informed interventions was the number one thing that people wanted to make sure was part of the SRO training curriculum, based off the surveys conducted, and the Maryland Model SRO training does include a lesson on this topic. Ms. O’Croinin stated that a lot of the items are just building on things that were already done and that the Center will work in collaboration with MSDE and all of the school systems as everyone works to further implement this Bill. Ms. O’Croinin further noted that the programing requirements for the teacher preparation piece of the Kirwan Bill included a lot of cultural sensitivity and diversity awareness, which is a language similar to what was used in the Safe to Learn Act with respect to the training of SROs and school security employees.

Dr. Salmon opened the floor for questions to Ms. O’Croinin and Mr. Hands regarding the legislation.

Secretary Neall asked if the additional language to the Safe Schools Act 2019 was the way MCSS wanted and if there were any items missing that MCSS may have forgotten to include that should be included for next session.

Ms. O’Croinin stated that there were some questions around reporting requirements that were broken out about race and gender and essentially there was a lot of misconceptions of what data is actually included in the tip line and it was this misconception which created the problem. Ms. O’Croinin stated that there’s no requirement when a tip comes in to collect certain demographic data because the tip takers are collecting only what is needed in order to resolve the tip. It seemed as though the advocates that were pushing for these changes believed that information was collected that isn’t. She further explained that there was a misconception that data related to school discipline was housed in the tip line. Ms. O’Croinin explained that disciplinary data is available via the local school systems and that MSDE has ample annual reports on that subject which are required by law.

Ms. O’Croinin further stated that she believed that had the Bill had gone through it would have passed. However, the Bill simply ran out of time and that knowing that there is interest in reporting, that is something that the Subcabinet can choose to have as a section of its annual report. Ms. O’Croinin further stated that the report should be broken based on those items of interest and include that moving forward.

Secretary Neal stated that in planning for next year, that the Bill should be postured to where everyone thinks it is in the best shape and “shop it around a bit” to ensure there are no “knee-jerk” reactions to what they think the language means.

Ms. O’Croinin stated that given that the Bill launched in October and the advocacy groups did not have any communications regarding concerns with the Agency, to do that at the 11th hour there was not time for that type of meaningful discussion or explanation and that is something that could be done in the “off season” so there’s better understanding over all of what in fact is included and how the life cycle of a tip works.

Secretary Neal stated that the Center should review the Bill and see if there was anything that we could live without and continue forward without this Bill.

Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that the tip line was not going away and that nothing would change in regards to reporting and that we would try to have the Bill passed again next year.

Dr. Salmon stated that the idea behind the Bill was to solidify the tip line into an organization/program so that it was not threatened by funding and all of that other stuff.

Ms. O’Croinin stated that the Bill would have provided a very clear exclusion of the data for public dissemination, which doesn’t mean that aggregate data related to different things couldn’t be provided, of course it can, but the hope was to protect and shield data because it is an anonymous tip line, you’re trying to encourage people to use it, it is sensitive information at times and it was in the spirit to keep with the Safe to Learn Act that there be anonymous reporting mechanisms that’s also a part of the state’s model behavioral threat assessment policy that there is an anonymous mechanism for reporting items of concern. So we’re left with the Public Information Act’s other provisions, which in order to shield the data have to get kind of piecemeal/ cobbled together in order to do that, but it is in fact possible.

Dr. Salmon opened the floor for additional questions regarding any of the legislative news.

Mr. Gorrell stated that it seemed the biggest challenge is keeping the data safe, how to put the data in and figuring a place to keep the data without this law. Is that correct?

Ms. O’Croinin stated that this was not an issue.

Ms. Hession stated that the next Advisory Board meeting is in a few weeks and that they’re going to talk about grants and she would like the Subcabinet to make a decision about the grants that are going to be offered.

Ms. Hession stated that there had been three funding sources this year: $10.6 MM for the Safe Schools fund, $2M in Hate Crime grants and the $10M for support in funding for SROs and adequate coverage. Ms. Hession further stated that the SRO funding can be applied for by local school systems (LSS) or local law enforcement.

Ms. Hession recommended to the Subcabinet that the Center allow the local law enforcement agencies to apply separately from LSS and that feedback from the schools systems is that applying for money for the local law enforcement and then just sending it over to them is cumbersome. LSS would prefer local law enforcement be able to apply for funds directly.

Ms. Hession stated that Advisory Board will speak to what the priorities are, allocation amounts and things like that. A recommendation was made to the Subcabinet that the $600K school transportation safety funds can also be applied for by local law enforcement.

Ms. Hession stated that one decision point would be how to handle the $600K school transportation safety funds (formerly with GOCCP). This grant was originally applied for by local and state law enforcement for school bus safety enforcement for both pedestrian and vehicular traffic. When the funds moved over to the Safe Schools Fund last year, LSS had to apply for these activities for law enforcement.

Ms. Hession recommended that the Center pull out these funds out again, since it is special funds vs. the general funds and create a fourth grant opportunity to allow state and local law enforcement to apply directly for these funds. This will be a discussion topic during the next Advisory Board meeting.

Dr. Salmon requested that Ms. Hession review the available funding sources again for FY20.

Ms. Hession confirmed that Dr. Salmon was referring to the four possible funds for FY20.

Ms. Hession stated that $10M was allocated for SROs and adequate coverage and would like to recommend local law enforcement be allowed to apply for this vs. the school systems; realizing that the Center will have to do checks and balances to ensure that they are not double applying and actually covering what they say there are, meaning that there will be some reporting requirements.

Ms. Hession stated that the Hate Crimes Fund was $2M and available for public, non-public and private schools and child care centers at risk for hate crimes. Ms. Hession further stated that this will also be a topic discussed with the Advisory Board. The final decision on all grants would be with the Subcabinet.

Ms. Hession stated that the last fund was the Safe Schools Fund. A $10M supplemental budget for FY20 added in early March and additional $600K that was from the transportation fund that was originally going to GOCCP and now comes to the Center.

Dr. Salmon asked to clarify that the change would be to pull the $600K out into its own separate grant and there would be $10M left in the Safe Schools Fund.

Ms. Hession stated that the $10M would stay with the Safe Schools Fund and we would pull out the $600K because it’s easy to split, local law enforcement is already familiar with how to apply for the funds and the Center would use some of what GOCCP had already put together in regards to the transportation fund.

Dr. Salmon called for a vote or consensus on the matter.

Ms. Hession stated that a consensus was fine because the final decision would be in May, so she would like to give the Advisory Board a recommendation or some guidance at the next meeting.

Mr. Fields asked for clarification on who would apply for the grant money, the schools and law enforcement or only law enforcement?

Ms. O’Croinin stated that historically, up until this year, it was applied for by local law enforcement but this year it was pulled together as one and it was not something the school systems were accustomed to applying for or managing the services provided. So to simplify it for both sides it would be easier if the local law enforcement could apply for the funds directly to do the work the school systems need them to do.

Mr. Filed stated that he believed that it should remain the same as it had been historically and confirmed there was no statutory restriction and that the Subcabinet was able to make this decision. 

Ms. O’Croinin confirmed that was the case.

Secretary Beatty stated that she thought that made sense and asked if that allocation would be the same as it was this year, where each school system got the same amount from the $10M and not every school asked for traffic safety.

Ms. Hession stated that some schools didn’t apply because they weren’t aware that the funds were available as part of the school safety grant.

Dr. Salmon stated that Secretary Beatty made a good point that there may need to be some sort of allocation, like before, so systems like Montgomery County didn’t get huge amounts and asked Col. Pallozzi if the Subcabinet needed to make a basic allocation so that one county does not get a large amount and other counties get none.

Col. Pallozzi stated that he was not sure how this had been done since it was with GOCCP.

Ms. Hession stated that the Center had information from GOCCP and how they were processing the grant and that the Center had a lot of data and when the Center presents it to the Advisory Board on their recommendations we’ll have them come up with their recommendations and local law enforcement is part of the Board.

Dr. Salmon stated that the information should be gathered and brought to the next Subcabinet meeting for additional consideration and the Subcabinet can sanction it at that time.

Secretary Neall stated that it use to be that for special enforcement things that the grants just applied for overtime for law enforcement people and it was easy to apply for and easy to track. The money went exactly where you wanted it to and questioned if that is still the methodology being used.

Ms. Hession confirmed that it would still be using that GOCCP methodology.

Col. Pallozzi stated that this had previously caused delays and confusion for the school systems this year because local law enforcement did not realize that the school systems were now getting those funds. Which meant another step for them having to go back to the school systems and stretched out the process.

Dr. Salmon stated that this will be better if the funds could be just for local law enforcement.

Ms. O'Croinin stated that the Center was receiving calls in November and December as to why these funds were no longer available to local law enforcement and what happened to those funds.

Dr. Salmon stated that the general consensus seems to be to allocate the $600K to just local law enforcement and have the Advisory Board bring back recommendations as to how this should be allocated.

Ms. Hession stated that the Center was launching a survey on its grant process and what worked his year and what didn’t. Ms. Hession also informed the board that the Center plans to provide grant workshops for local law enforcement, local school systems and the private community on how to apply for grants and the process as the Center does believe there was a bit of a break down this year.

Dr. Salmon stated that the Center was getting everyone onboard and it was a “huge lift” this year and it will be much smoother this year.

Dr. Salmon stated that the next order of business would be to schedule future meetings and preferences around location. Dr. Salmon further stated that the Subcabinet would start with where they would like to meet.

Ms. Hession stated that she liked the room they were currently in and would like to have it going forward if possible.

Mr. Fields and Secretary Neal stated that parking here was much easier to manage than Annapolis so they would prefer this location.

Col. Pallozzi stated parking in Annapolis is more valuable than gold during legislative session.

Dr. Salmon stated that the Subcabinet would prefer to be at the Crownsville location and should do everything possible to get the same third floor conference room for future meetings.

Secretary Neal stated that the Maryland Historical Trust uses that boardroom and he is on the trust and would work to see if the Subcabinet could get it going forward for their meetings.

Dr. Salmon stated that the Subcabinet had been attempting to meet the 3rd or 4th Monday of the month and questioned if that suited everyone.

The consensus was that the schedule worked for everyone.

Dr. Salmon state that the Subcabinet would try to stick to that schedule going forward.

Dr. Salmon stated that the Subcabinet would take the month of July off if that suited everyone instead of August with school starting back.

Dr. Salmon stated the meeting dates for the remainder of the year would be August 19, September 16, October 21 and November 18. There would be no meeting in December.

Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that everything would be to the Cabinet for their approval at the November meeting since the annual report is due in December.

Ms. O’Croinin stated that if an issue comes up between November 28th and the timing for filing the report, the Subcabinet can post a notice for an extra meeting and do it by conference call and circulate the number to any members of the public that want to participate.

Dr. Salmon stated that the Subcabinet should be done by then.

Mr. Hession confirmed the dates of the remaining Subcabinet meetings: May 20, June 24, no meeting in July, August 19, September 16, October 21, November 18 and no meeting in December.

Dr. Salmon asked if the Subcabinet wanted to move the meetings in May from Annapolis to the Crownsville location. She questioned if it was possible to move the next two meetings to Crownsville. Confirmation of the meeting locations, for the next two meetings, will go out once finalized.

Secretary Neall stated that May is rough on the Governor’s press reception room.

Dr. Salmon asked the MCSS staff to try to move the location of the Subcabinet meetings.

Dr. Salmon asked if there was any additional business to be discussed.

Mr. Fields reminded everyone that this will be the 20-year anniversary of Columbine.

Col. Pallozzi stated the Maryland Municipal League conference was June 23 - 26 and he’s required to be there for local law enforcement and a cabinet meeting roundtable.

Dr. Salmon stated that if Col Pallozzi and Secretary Neall could not be there for the June meeting it should be moved to Tuesday the 18th instead.

Dr. Salmon asked Ms. Hession and Mr. Pignataro if that date would work for the Center. Mr. Pignataro stated he could not do that date because he was presenting that week.

Ms. Hession stated that this date may be a problem for the Center as well and suggested that the Subcabinet forego the June meeting, cancelling June and July and returning to the regular schedule in August.

Dr. Salmon clarified that there would be no Subcabinet meetings in June, July or December and that the Subcabinet would meet May 20, August 19, September 16, October 21 and November 18.

Ms. Hession stated that the Center would do its best to move the May meeting to the Crownsville location.

Dr. Salmon asked if there was anything else to bring before the group.

Dr. Salmon asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Gorrell called for the motion and it was seconded by Secretary Neall.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:51 AM