HCPSS MPIA Request #2019-102

Requested Information
As per Maryland Public Information Act criteria, and pursuant to parental rights to "opt out" children out of controversial curriculum, I request 1) an Excel spreadsheet listing every teaching tool that includes human sexuality curriculum (i.e., video, books, 3rd party partnerships, sponsored clubs) at the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels. Please include the publishing entity, the corresponding HCPSS course number/level for each tool, the number of parents who have opted out each year 2011 - 2018, and link/resource allowing parental viewing of the videos). Please include link to the video referenced by Board Member Vicki Cutruneo during the 12/18 4pm Board Meeting as a "good video" for introduction to Middle School school students. Thank you.
Date Received
Response Notes

For reference, a general overview of the Family Life and Human Sexuality Unit can be found on the HCPSS website: https://www.hcpss.org/academics/health-education/units/#familylife. Prior to the implementation of this unit in grades 5-9, HCPSS teachers notify parents of their right to opt their child out of participation through an exclusion form and provide the opportunity to review materials selected by the teacher through individual appointments. Teachers may also hold preview events specifically geared towards introducing parents to the materials in advance of the unit. 

Responsive to this request, HCPSS has no existing record – in excel format or otherwise – containing a comprehensive list of all available teaching tools that include human sexuality curriculum. Additionally, HCPSS does not collect data/reports on opt-out decisions related to such courses/curriculum. Under the MPIA process, and as advised in the Fourteenth Edition of the Maryland Public Information Act Manual created by Maryland’s Office of the Attorney General, an agency is only obligated to produce existing records and is not required to generate new data or summarize data. Exclusion information would be retained at the school level as part of an individual student’s record, which is confidential under both 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.

Please note, specific to your request for links/resources allowing parental viewing of videos, no public links are available. These materials are mostly purchased/obtained from outside entities and while they are available for parental viewing in person at the school upon request, due to copyright issues most are only available for access by teachers on internal systems or through hard-copy DVDs.

In addition to the materials supplied here, a wide variety/volume of teaching tools are available to staff in the course of presenting Sexual Health curriculum under the Family Life and Human Sexuality Units in grades 5-9. Such tools would include activities and assignments such as text readings and questions, discussions, decision making scenarios, communication role plays, powerpoints, videos clips, etc. No further clarification was received on the types of additional materials sought to continue this request.

Responsive Documents
Although not a comprehensive listing of all audiovisual materials a teacher may use, these existing lists by grade contain those materials available to teachers for the Sexual Health units through a central HCPSS repository.

*Some request language is summarized to include the requester's specific document requests and legally protected information (such as personally identifiable information of a student) or personal, defamatory and malicious content removed at the discretion of the school system.

**Responses containing legally protected information available only to the person of interest are omitted from the above report.

***Howard County Public Schools reserves the right to remove erroneous or outdated documents from this site.