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School Safety Subcabinet

Meeting Minutes

February 25, 2019

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Governor's Reception Room, State House, Annapolis


Dr. Karen B. Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools and Subcabinet Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:03 AM, provided opening comments, and noted that a quorum was present.

The following Subcabinet members were in attendance:

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

The following Maryland Center for School Safety (MCSS) members were in attendance:

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

Other meeting attendees:

Representatives of State agencies, the Governor's Office, and additional staff from the Maryland Center for School Safety were in attendance. No one within the Subcabinet had any additions to the agenda.

Approval of Prior Meeting Minutes:

Mr. Fields requested that only Attorney General Brian Frosh should be marked down on the attendance list and that while other representatives from the Attorney General’s office were present at the meeting, only one person needs to be written down as a subcabinet representative. Mr. Fields also requested that “need help remembering this part” be stricken from the minutes.

A motion was made by Mr. Fields and the second motion was made by Secretary Neall to approve the meeting minutes from January 28, 2019 were approved by unanimous vote.

Maryland Center for School Safety Updates:

Ms. Hession reviewed the information graphic developed by MCSS which highlighted the Center’s accomplishments which were part of the annual report. She also noted that Christian Cymek is helping out for a few months during the legislative session.

Ms. Hession updated the group on the finance and grants position. A candidate has been selected and accepted the offer for the position. That person will start in the role on March 13, 2019.

Ms. Hession updated the Subcabinet on the other two positions open at the Center. One offer is waiting for the offer letter to get sent out to the selected candidate and the other position has a candidate selected and currently in negotiation.

Ms. Hession announced that all 2018 reporting mandates were completed on time.

Ms. Hession acknowledged the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) guests that were present at the meeting.

She also stated that the tip line launched on October 6, 2018 and has been doing incredibly well. She went on to explain a success story of a student who used the tip line who was concerned about a friend self-harming. The school was able to reach the student and check on them and the student’s parents to make sure everything was ok. Everything was ok.

Ms. Hession announced MCSS has been able to gather SRO coverage in each school system last year and this year each school system has identified their own mental health coordinator and safety coordinator.

Ms Hession updated the group on the grants administered by MCSS and the Subcabinet. She stated that after today’s meeting, there will only be four local school systems who have not yet applied for a safe schools fund grant. She advised that she expected those to be submitted by the February 28, 2019 deadline. The Center has also awarded one million dollars to 28 institutions from the Hate Crimes Grant Program.

Ms. Hession stated that the Center has held and assisted in many trainings and conferences in addition to holding the weekly call with all of Maryland’s Local School Systems.

Ms. Hession updated the group on the status of setting up a space for staff at Bowie University as per the mandate for MCSS to have a space at that institution. Ms. Hession explained that Bowie University staff is having some challenges on their end in finding a spot, but they are continuing to sort that out. Ms. Hession advised that there were administrative and leadership changes at Bowie University and that they were in a period of transition, but continuing to work with MCSS towards establishing offices there.

Dr. Salmon asked who will be based at that office.

Ms. Hession answered that it will be Mr. J. “Dino” Pignataro that will be based at Bowie in addition to the regional coordinators who will go there at least every other week. Three people will have permanent space there.

Ms. Hession reviewed the Safe Schools Maryland tip line data received from the January 28, 2019 subcabinet meeting until February 20, 2019. There were 42 new tips and most of those tips were in relation to drug related, planned school attack, general school complaints, bullying, harassment, cyberbullying, Two tips were identified as prank tips. Ms. Hession advised that prank tips are something that can be handled as a disciplinary matter by the school system.

Ms. Hession introduced two staff members from MEMA - Executive Director Mr. Russ Strickland and the Director of Consequence Management Ms. Marcia Deppen. Ms. Deppen oversees the Maryland Joint Operations Center (MJOC). That group is the group of trained individuals who handles the tips from the tip line. Dr. Salmon noted how willing MEMA was to be collaborative and step up without hesitation to work with MCSS on the tip line.

Ms. Hession updated the Subcabinet on the Center’s website. She noted Ms. Allen Lucht’s diligent work to get the website updated and functioning. Ms. Hession said that there still is a lot more to do, but that the staff list and contact information is updated. Ms. Hession said that she believes the website is working because people are starting to use the website now to reach out to the Center.

Dr. Salmon announced that there will be a budget hearing today that day and requested the infographic created for today’s Subcabinet be printed for the budget hearing.

Ms. Allen Lucht said she would complete the task.

Mr. Gorrell requested the website should also have the infographic used in some sort of way to represent the many accomplishments the Center completed in 2018.

Ms. Hession said that Ms. Allen Lucht is working on that already and hopes to have that up on the website soon.

Ms. Hession announced that the School Resource Officer training has been in progress for over a year and that the curriculum had been approved last July by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions (MPCTC) in advance of the September statutory deadline.

She stated that accomplishment was mostly due to the MCSS Regional Officer, Mr. Michael Rudinski. There are now 23 lesson plans and almost 100 training objectives - a very large lift for the Center. Mr. Rudinski provided a list of all of the contributors to the lesson plans and Ms. Hession will be creating a letter of thanks and recognition to all groups and organizations who helped the Center with this task.

Mr. Rudinski announced last week that MCSS received the certification for the 40-hour course and also the 16-hour abbreviated course for those SROs who have completed the National Association of School Resource Officer’s (NASRO) training course within the past two years.

Ms. Hession reminded the group that the deadline for approval of the lesson plans was March 1, 2019, but the Center was able to beat the deadline. Mr. Rudinski and the other Regional Officers at the Center are now working with the local school systems to establish training dates and times. One thousand people will need to be trained prior to September 1, 2019. She announced that MCSS staff are being trained next week in a train-the-trainer course in order to teach the curriculum to School Resource Officers and school security employees.

Mr. Gorrell asked if he could step into parts of the training that are in relation to facilities.

Ms. Hession said that would be fine and that once training dates are set, the Center will send that information out to the Subcabinet.

Ms. O'Croinin provided an update on FERPA guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center. She stated that the Federal Commission on School Safety was developed after the shooting that happened in Parkland, Florida last year. The commission released its results in December 2018. One of the areas of recommendation was to modernize FERPA and issue guidance that would be instructive in today’s climate, specifically with respect to School Resource Officers and School Law Enforcement Units, and clarification on what constitutes a student education record.

The PTAC guidance document was twenty-six pages long. The guidance included the following highlights:Recommendations for local schools systems on how best to articulate to members of the public, parents, and students what a school official is or who constitutes as a school official.

Under FERPA an annual notice must be sent out to parents and students which defines who is a school official within the local school system. Included in that definition should be employees who work on school security issues so info can be shared. Contractors or non-full times employees may also be included within that definition.

  • SROs, school law enforcement, and school safety personnel - if they are sharing information that is protected or is personally identifiable information about a student, as a best practice, the guidance in the document suggests that the school district maintain a record of that so they know what is being shared, to whom, and for what purpose.
  • The document also discussed the participation of law enforcement in behavioral health assessment teams. The Safe to Learn Act 2018 mandates the participation of law enforcement on assessment teams in Maryland’s public schools.
  • The records maintained by law enforcement units within a school system are not “student education records” as defined by FERPA, and thus do not fall under FERPA’s restrictions. This allows law enforcement to share information based on their observations and their understanding without need to do an assessment or analysis under FERPA’s health and safety/emergency exception.
  • A school official’s access to student education records should be based on the concept of least access privileges - maintaining data security and compliance by only giving access to that which is necessary in order to perform the individual’s job function.
  • For teachers in the classroom, if they make an observation of a student they believe there may be something wrong or there may be a cause for concern, which is not a FERPA protected item. That is the person’s individual observation and not an education record. If they write their observation down and they submit it and it becomes part of the education record, then the analysis changes. Teachers are free to report behaviors of concern and should feel free to do so because it is in the best interest of public safety.

Secretary Neall asked how all this issued guidance was going to affect the teacher in the classroom.

Dr. Salmon answered that that would have to be something that will need to be discussed with superintendents and their local interpretation of this policy.

Ms. O'Croinin advised that each school system has their own legal representation who will take the document and make it easier for teachers to use and understand.

Dr. Salmon stated that she will be meeting with the superintendents on March 8, 2019 and will share the guidance document with them so they can begin the conversation.

Ms. Hession went over the Advisory Board work plan month by month. All Subcabinet members were happy with it. Ms. Hession mentioned that the work plan was a road map and things may change, but it was a foundation to keep things moving.

Dr. Salmon asked about the date for the School Safety Conference for 2019.

Mr. Pignataro advised that the conference dates would be available the following week from the vendor based on availability.

Mr. Pignataro went over the grant request for Baltimore City. He stated that Chief Hamm wants to send his staff to NASRO’s training, but would also like to receive additional training, particularly on behavioral health issues, for his officers.

Mr. Pignataro stated that he will be receiving a letter from Baltimore City stating that they understand these funds are one time funds for the contractual positions and they will not be renewable in the future.

Dr. Salmon stated that she and Mr. Gorrell will be meeting with the school superintendents and they will be going over grants to make sure that other schools who did not submit to the IAC funding know they do not have long to submit their applications. All the funding that is provided to schools needs to be applied for by all local school systems.

Mr. Gorrell called for a motion to approve Baltimore City’s application and Secretary Neall seconded the motion. The application was approved unanimously.

Mr. Pignataro went over the grant application for Calvert County. Their application focused on go-kits, behavioral threat assessment, stop the bleed training and equipment, camera monitors for advocate offices, and radio improvement.

Mr. Gorrell asked what the shelf life is on the supplies in a stop the bleed kit.

Mr. Pignataro stated tourniquets do not have have a shelf life, but the coagulation material has a five year shelf life.

Secretary Neall called for a motion to approve Calvert County’s application and Colonel Pallozzi seconded the motion. The application was approved unanimously.

Secretary Neall had a question after the application was approved in regards to sharing of training, practices, and even supplies.

Dr. Salmon stated that as more grants come in requesting the same types of training and materials, it would be helpful to consider a bulk purchase of supplies for the future and to see if we can save money on behalf of the State of Maryland.

Mr. Pignataro went over the addendum from Harford County. They adjusted their funds to include training at the NASRO conference for their officers.

Colonel Pallozzi called for a motion to approve the addendum from Harford County and Mr. Fields seconded the motion. The application was approved unanimously.

Mr. Pignataro went over the grant application for Caroline County. It was a 2nd Addendum to include training for behavioral threat assessment teams the PrePare model, camera upgrades in schools, emergency radios, and administrator go-bags to view the school from outside the school network.

Mr. Fields asked the question in regard to the cost with radios.

Mr. Pignataro said that it was meant to go hand in hand with the county’s 911 center.

Mr. Gorrell asked about the laptop go-bag and how they connect to the network.

Dr. Salmon said Wi-Fi or some type of hotspot.

It was noted by Colonel Pallozzi that Caroline County’s allotment contained a typo of a little over $1,000.

Mr. Fields called for a motion to approve the addendum which included the allotment adjustment for Caroline County and Secretary Neall seconded the motion. The application was approved unanimously.

Mr. Pignataro went over the grant application for Kent County. The application came in three different parts; social emotional learning (SEL) and behavioral threat assessment, train the trainer, stipends to cover substitutes while staff are in training, bus drivers and summer staff training. Mr. Pignataro advised that Kent County also intends to train some staff as ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) instructors, who will return and be able to teach ALICE to other staff; 75 CPI books, and some travel.

Colonel Pallozzi wanted to know if Kent County currently owned its school buses.

Dr. Salmon said that Kent County had contracted out for services with Baltimore City, ran into some issues, and now maintains and manages its own bus drivers.

Secretary Neall called for a motion to approve Kent County’s application without the $850 dollars for indirect costs and Mr. Gorrell seconded the motion. The application was approved unanimously.

Mr. Pignataro went over the grant application for Wicomico County. That application included training, contracts for mental health support, auditing of alarm systems; transportation and bus safety, supplies & materials; and procurement of a special fireproof cabinet for maintaining behavioral threat assessment reports.

Dr. Salmon again cautioned that fees and expenditures must be for work done, or for training received, or equipment, but not for benefits.

Dr. Salmon stated that there was an item in the amount of $8500 for fixed costs for positions. That needs to come out and they need to remove that and find something else to spend that on.

Mr. Gorrell asked about the alarm monitoring systems and if it is an independent 3rd party making the audits.

Dr. Salmon read the application which stated the contract with alarm company to conduct internal safety audits of physical plants including schools and buildings. She stated that she believed that was a one-off expenditure.

Mr. Pignataro advised that he would double-check with Wicomico County.

Mr. Gorrell called for a motion to approve Wicomico County’s application without fixed costs for the contractual positions, conditioned upon receipt of a statement from the superintendent that these are one time contracts not to exceed this year. Mr. Fields seconded the motion. The application was approved unanimously.

Mr. Pignataro went over the grant application for Worcester County. It included school bus safety; hospital is providing stop the bleed training free of charge, but school system needs to purchase the kits; training from the “I love you guys” foundation. The application also included upgrades to communication systems; ID card access for HQ now to see if it works, and then expand to the schools themselves.

Secretary Neall noted the value of the hospital provided training to the school system.

Mr. Fields called for a motion to approve Worcester County’s application and Secretary Neall seconded the motion. The application was approved unanimously.

Dr. Salmon asked how many grants were yet to be submitted under the Safe Schools Fund grants program.

Ms. Hession stated that Cecil, Garrett, Queen Anne’s and Frederick counties had not applied yet, but that the Center is expecting them to come in this week. The Center has spoken to all of them and they will meet the deadline on February 28, 2019.

Secretary Neall asked if those missing grant applications can be approved at the next Subcabinet meeting, or if the Subcabinet had an alternative deadline they were required to meet.

Ms. Hession advised that all the mentioned counties who did not submit have been told that their applications will be reviewed at the March Subcabinet meeting and that the Subcabinet is not subject to another deadline.

Mr. Pignataro advised that funds encumbered by the C125 form, the NOGA system will be adjusted, and the funds are non-lapsing.

Dr. Salmon advised that the MCSS budget hearing in the House of Delegates was scheduled to take place in Room 120 at 3:00 PM. She invited any subcabinet members who were available to attend.

Dr. Salmon called upon her assistant, Mr. Zachary Hands, to provide a legislative update. Mr. Hands informed the group that there were nine school safety bills, mostly related to SROs. One bill, SB318, requests a non-public special education person be added to the membership of the Advisory Board to the Subcabinet.

Ms. Hession advised that MCSS supports the adding of the Advisory Board member, but is also asking for a representative from MEMA to be added.

Dr. Salmon asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Fields called for the motion and it was seconded by Colonel Pallozzi. The motion was approved unanimously.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:07 AM.