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School Safety Subcabinet

Meeting Minutes

Monday, September 16, 2019

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Governor’s Reception Room, State House, Annapolis


The meeting of the Subcabinet of MCSS (Maryland Center for School Safety) was held on September 16th in the Governor’s Reception Room at the State House in Annapolis located at 100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401. Dr. Karen B. Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools and Subcabinet Chair called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m. and noted that a quorum was present.

The following Subcabinet members were in attendance:

  • Ms. Carol A. Beatty, Secretary, Maryland Department of Disabilities
  • Mr. Robert Gorrell, Executive Director, Interagency Commission on School Construction
  • Mr. Robert Neall, Secretary, Maryland Department of Health
  • Col. William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of State Police

The following MCSS staff were in attendance:

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

Representatives of State agencies, the Governor’s Office, and additional staff from the Maryland Center for School Safety were in attendance.

Dr. Salmon asked the Subcabinet if there were any additions to the Agenda. There were none.

Dr. Salmon asked for a motion to approve the minutes from the August 19, 2019 meeting. Mr. Gorrell made a motion to approve the minutes, which was seconded by Col. Pallozzi. The motion was unanimously approve. (In Favor: 5; Opposed: 0; Abstained: 0)

MCSS Updates

Tip Line

Ms. Hession provided an overview of the Maryland tip line since the beginning of the 2019/2020 school year stating that there had been 25 (twenty-five) tips between the period of August 1st and September 6th and that the Center was seeing a similar pattern of general school complaints. Ms. Hession went on to explain that the leading intake method was through global web browser on mobile devices, followed by the smartphone app, phone calls into the tip line, and then PC web browsers. Additionally, Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that MCSS had begun to track tips that come directly to the Center vs. those entered through the tip line.

ACTION: None. For information and discussion only.

School Bus Safety

Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that the Center (in partnership with Howard County public schools and Maryland State Police) had developed a bus safety public service announcement (PSA) that aired the first week of school. The video was played for the Subcabinet. Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that the video would be playing at MVA locations in Maryland with closed captions throughout the school year, bus safety week, and following thanksgiving and other extended school breaks. Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that the video had been provided to all of the local school systems for their use noting that MCSS also offered our staff time to add any local school system specific message before or after the video.

In response to Mr. Gorrell’s question regarding timing and source, Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that the video will run in morning news spots on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the first week of school and during bus safety week on WBAL. It was noted that the Center was in conversations with other media outlets to get the PSA out.

ACTION: None. For information and discussion only.

Bowie State University

Ms. Hession stated that the memorandum of understanding (MOU) was complete with Bowie State and that a copy had been submitted with the letter request in the Joint Chairmen’s Report (JCR).

Next, Mr. Pignataro informed the Subcabinet that all of the furniture had been delivered to Bowie, except for one piece which he hoped to have in place next week and that there would be three full time staff members at the Bowie location: Dino Pigantaro, Ron Pierce, and Tarik Harris.

ACTION: None. For information and discussion only.

Safe To Learn Act 2018 Updates

SRO Training

Ms. Hession began by stating that fourteen training sessions had been held over the summer, which consisted of 2 pre-deployment sessions and 34 individual 40-hour training sessions over 9 weeks. Hession continued to state that 485 SROs (School Resource Officers) had been certified and 441 School Security Employees (SSEs) with some completions still being counted. Hession went onto to state that the Center is working on future trainings throughout the year.

Dr. Salmon stated that she had provided an update on the SRO trainings and the idea of having school administrators trained as well and the consensus among the local Superintendents was that they should be trained but that it should be a condensed training (maybe 3 days or less) combined SROs and Administrators or something after the SRO training for those administrators who have not received any training. Ms. Hession stated that SRO Supervisor and Administrator (condensed) training was in development.

ACTION: None. For information and discussion only.

Local School System Mandated Deliverables

Mr. Pignataro provided an update on the mandated deliverables stating that the Adequate Coverage Reports had been submitted by almost all of entities, with just a few remaining that required some clarification. Mr. Pignataro went onto state that all of the Safety Evaluation summaries were in and that Ronald Peirce had created a summary he would be presenting later in the meeting. Additionally, Mr. Pignataro stated that the Center had confirmed local adoption of Behavioral Threat Assessment Team Policies; however, there were still several pending vote approval by the local school board.

Mr. Pignataro informed the Subcabinet that the SRO assignment reports were still being submitted to the Center and that this was mainly due to SROs being moved around due to retirement.

Mr. Pignataro also reported that the Center was confirming local school system website’s included information on the SRO program within their school system.

In response to Dr. Salmon’s question confirming that the Center was on time for all of the mandated deliverables, Ms. Hession stated that there were some slight delays but everything was in the works and that the Center would have the finalized SRO/Adequate coverage report completed by the October 1 deadline.

ACTION: None. For information and discussion only.

Local School System Safety Evaluation Summary

Mr. Pierce began presenting on the school safety evaluation summaries stating that the local school systems had to conduct safety assessments, by June 15th, relating to physical security as well as items related to the school’s safety and that he had been working with the school systems and Ron Brown of MSDE to obtain and summarize the information.

Mr. Pierce informed the Subcabinet that all of the evaluations had been turned in and walked the Subcabinet through the summary document provided. The Executive summary outlined the mandate. Mr. Pierce went on to state that the Center provided a template summary report and school systems used an existing safety evaluation tool recommended by the Center or developed their own tool.

In response to Mr. Gorrell’s question about determining what was most important to the schools and updating our tools accordingly, Mr. Pierce stated that certain tools emphasized some things more than others and that some used vendors to complete the evaluation which seemed consistent across the board.

Ms. Hession in response to Mr. Gorrell’s question stated that the long-term goal is to develop a tool that can be used consistently across the state that would be used for reporting but that will take time.

Mr. Pierce went on to state that he found that physical concerns were the most important area of concern followed by safety concerns (e.g., planning for after school events) and then training for staff on procedures.

Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that Mr. Pierce will be working with Mr. Brown, at MSDE, to update the Emergency Preparedness Guidelines based the information provided in the safety evaluations.

In response to Mr. Gorrell’s questions around the summary information provided. Mr. Pierce agreed to provide numbers with percentages and any estimated dollar amounts identified associated with them.

Dr. Salmon requested that the information be cross reference with the IAC to address the methodology used when dealing with privacy vs. school safety.

Ms. Hession, in response to Dr. Salmon’s request, stated that Mr. Pierce had compiled a report addressing the physical side of things and has shared that report with the IAC.

Dr. Salmon thanks Mr. Pierce for the summary report.

ACTION: None. For information and discussion only.

School Safety Grants

Ms. Hession reminded the Subcabinet that the Center had four grants this year and that the first two had closed. The School Traffic Safety Enforcement Grant and that the Hate Bias Crimes Grant. Applications for both grants were being reviewed. The Hate Bias Crimes Grant had 34 applications, totaling $2.871MM, to be reviewed this week.

Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that the Safe Schools Fund Grant and the SRO Adequate Coverage grant would both close on September 20th. Ms. Hession provided the Subcabinet an emailed request form a county that wanted to use a portion of their Safe Schools Fund Grant to supplement their SRO Adequate Coverage Grant. The request was provided to the Subcabinet to review and discuss before they would be submitting their application. Ms. Hession pointed out that this request was supported, in the email, by both the local school system and local law enforcement but required a decision from the Subcabinet.

Dr. Salmon opened the floor to discussion of the matter.

After further discussion, the consensus was that the county could move forward with applying for the grant and that the Subcabinet would ask that they include a long-term sustainability plan with their application.

ACTION: the Subcabinet will accept, for review, the grant application to supplement its SRO Adequate Coverage grant with some funds from their Safe Schools Fund Grant

Grant Applications: Safe School Fund Grant

  • Caroline County – Phase 1
    Request for $21,393.75 (partial allocation) for the development and implementation of Social Sentinel social media monitoring program.
    ACTION: Request of additional information on the software and feedback from the other county using it and their experiences before making a final decision.
  • Charles County
    Request for $336,121 (total allocation) for the following: Expansion of the Tri-County Youth Mental Health Services to High Schools; Student Identification Card Program; Broadening Delivery of Restorative Practices and Implicit Bias Training; Broadening Delivery of Mental Health First Aid; Installation of Bus Cameras; School Safety and Violence Prevention Outreach; SRO Supplemental/ Enhanced Training; Maintenance of Emergency Management and Notification Software; Employee Identification Badge Program; AT&T FirstNet (FN) Secure, Pre-emptive Cell/Data Service; Emergency Supplies; Lockbox for Responder Emergency Key Access; and Guest Speaker for School Administration Safety Symposium.
    ACTION: Upon motion by Secretary Beatty and seconded by Secretary Neall, the Subcabinet approved the grant request. (In Favor: 5; Opposed: 0; Abstained: 0)
  • Ivymount School
    Request for $5,000 (total allocation) for general school equipment and systems
    ACTION: Upon motion by Col. Pallozzi and seconded by Mr. Gorrell, the Subcabinet approved the grant request. (In Favor: 5; Opposed: 0; Abstained: 0)
  • Wicomico County
    Requests $266,268 (total allocation) for Campus Patrol Staff, Reflective Gear for Crossing Guards, and Radio Communications Equipment
    ACTION: Request of additional information, specifically a job description for the Campus Patrol Staff before making a final decision.

Col. Pallozzi informed the Subcabinet that he attended the Chief’s and Sheriff’s conference the week prior and that there was a lot of discussion in closed session around “Use of Force” and reporting of all incidents, not only negative ones and requested that Ms. Hession and the Center continue to work with the organization to define and standardize this.

With no further business before the Subcabinet a motion to adjourn the meeting was bought by Col. Pallozzi and seconded by Secretary Neall. The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 a.m.