HCPSS MPIA Request #2021-089

Avery Berdit
Office of the Public Defender
Requested Information
1. Any and all records of the District's adequate law enforcement coverage plan for schools years, 2017-18, 18-19, 19-20 including but not limited to any agreements, contracts MOI's regarding the number of school resource officers, school police or school securtiy during the aforementioned years.

2. Any and all record of grand funds received by the District through the Safe Schools Fund Grant, including records of how grant funds were spent.

3. Any material used to conduct measures designed to increase school safety under the Safe School grant including but not limited any material used to train students and staff on proper use of de-escalation strategies and material used to train administrators and staff to identify properly respond to and report threats or behaviors of concern that may pose a threat to the safety of other students.

4.Any records of funds that were used to pay for salary, benefits, training, equipment or works space for individuals hired, contracted with or otherwise employed to provide adequate law enforcement coverage or other school security services

5.Any records of funds that were use to pay for salary, benefits, training equipment for individuals hired contracted with or employed to provide school security.

6.The total number of school resource officers, school police, school security personnel who are assigned to the following categories within the school district- K-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

7.The total number of school resource officers, police or school security employed, contracted or otherwise operating
in the district.

8. Identification of all law enforcement agencies that provide school u officers to the district and the identification of such individual officers assigned to work as school resource officers the last three schools and their respective school assignments.

9Any all records related to the school school resource officers assigned to the district in the past 3 school years.

a. All complaints lodged against any school resource officer with student information redacted.
b. disciplinary records including internal affairs records.
c. records of attendance at all training regarding response to student behavioral mental health disturbances.

10. the number of times school resource officers, security or other safety personnel have called to district facilities for mental health behavioral incidents the last three school years, disaggregated by school, race, grade and offense.

11. The number of times local law enforcement has been called to district facilities as described in request number 10.

12.The number of restraint and seclusion incidents involving the school resource officers, school police , security or other safety personnel during the last three school calendar years .

13. The number of excessive force complaints involving school resource officers, school police, school security or other school safety personnel during the last three school calendar years.

14. The number of incidents specific to each school involving a school resource officer, school police, school security or other school safety personnel, responding to behavioral incidents involving students who receive special educational services pursuant to an IEP and/or 504 plan over the last three school calendar years..

15. Without providing student identifying date the percentage of students in which the District found that the student's behavior was a manifestation of the disability in the student's IEP.

16. All policies and procedures that individuals are to follow in their roles as school resource officers, school police, school security or other safety personnel including but not limited to policies pertaining to training regarding the arrests and interrogation of students on school property; excessive force policies; training on restraint and seclusion practices, and training on interacting students with disabilities and their role in implementing a student's behavioral intervention plan.

17. All training required of teachers, school resource officers, school police, school security and other school safety personnel regarding implicit bias.
Date Received
Response Notes

Responsive to this request, please note, 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.

Although none of the grant applications provided below included requests for SRO support or adequate coverage, we have pulled those in addition to the Safe Schools Fund Grant which mention impacts to security or our partnerships with HCPD, include equipment likely to be used by security personnel, and/or those including training in the area of response to mental/behavioral health concerns.

As noted in the records below, the law enforcement agency which provides all SROs to HCPSS is HCPD. Officers provided by HCPD are employees of that Department, and as such, outside the records provided above, they would be the custodian of records for requested items such as identification of individual assignments over the past three years, complaints against the employees and their disciplinary records, training attended, as well as funding for their positions/equipment/etc.

Complaints against HCPSS employees would be filed within individual personnel files, which are exempt from disclosure under MPIA GP § 4-311. HCPSS Security Division staff indicates, however, there have been no complaints against HCPSS Security staff for excessive force during the timeframe requested.

Per indication we do not track responses to "mental health behavioral incidents" to be able to identify such data, you indicated we could remove #10 and #11 from the request.

In regards to #12, per your interest in an available report that identifies staff involved in restraint and seclusion incidents for the past three years, please note this report will not include positions to be able to identify the number involving SRO/security personnel. Upon review of this report, the information contained is as collected per requirements under COMAR 13A.08.04.05(A)(3) General Requirements for the Use of Restraint and Seclusion, which also states “The documentation described in §A(3) of this regulation shall be maintained in the student's educational record.” This regulation, along with HCPSS Policy 9400 – Student Behavior Intervention which reiterates the provisions for maintenance of this information within the student’s record, is established in accordance with Education Article § 7-1103. MPIA GP § 4-301(a)(2)(i) requires an agency to deny inspection of any part of a public record that would be contrary to State statute, and it is advised in the Fourteenth Edition of the Maryland Public Information Act Manual created by Maryland’s Office of the Attorney General, that “a confidentiality provision in a local ordinance that is derived from a State statute can be a basis for denying access to records.”

Additionally, at the individual student-level, the specific item requested – staff names involved in each incident – even with personally identifiable information (PII) about the student involved in the incident removed, has the potential to reveal educational records. According to the U.S. Department of Education “The simple removal of nominal or direct identifiers, such as name and SSN (or other ID number), does not necessarily avoid the release of personally identifiable information” (Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 9, 2008 / Rules and Regulations at 74831).

As such, 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, we are denying access to staff names as documented for individual restraint and seclusion incidents. For reference, HCPSS Policy 9400 – Student Behavior Intervention: https://policy.hcpss.org/9000/9400/ includes detailed information regarding the use of restraint and seclusion, including when and how staff is involved, as well as training requirements for staff.


Responsive Documents

*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.