HCPSS MPIA Request #2018-018

Requested Information
Records of the bias incidents within Howard County Public Schools committed against a person or property which is motivated by the offender’s bias or attitude toward an individual or group of persons based upon their race, color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or ethnicity/national origin, or because another is homeless.

We request data for the previous two school years including 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 that include the incident date, incident description (such as noose hung outside school), motivation for bias (such as racism), victim demographics (such as African American, female, elementary, Jr. High or High School), offender demographics, whether this was reported to the police (such as in the case of a hate crime), and any disposition of the incident within the school. If available, we would like to obtain the relevant incident reports with the names of the students redacted.
Response Notes

Per our email and phone conversations regarding this request to date, you have narrowed the scope to the description of the incidents that fit motives to include “race, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, sexual discrimination.” While we collect the information from our reporting and investigative forms in a central database, the only report used is data pulled for reporting purposes to the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) with all required counts/descriptions. Therefore, while our Information Technology Office could query descriptions by motives, they indicate it would take three to four hours to write a program which we would consider creating a new record outside the scope of the MPIA.

Responsive Documents
Description of Incident fields from the Bullying, Harassment, and Intimidation data used to report to MSDE for school years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), which restricts access to student records, and MPIA GP § 4-313, which prevents disclosure of school district records pertaining to individual students, we have redacted any reference to a particular student, or personally identifiable information that would reveal student information from the responsive records. Please note, when entered in our database administrators are summarizing the written description from the original reporting forms.

*Some request language is summarized to include the requester’s specific document requests and remove legally protected information (such as personally identifiable information of a student).

**Responses that contain legally protected information are not posted to this site – these responses are set directly to requesters. Howard County Public Schools reserves the right to remove erroneous or outdated documents from this site.