Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Students continue to fail math final exams in Montgomery high schools

...The continuing exam failure comes about 18 months after Montgomery high schools created math action plans to target struggling students and nine months after a five-point plan was announced by then-Superintendent Joshua P. Starr, who resigned last month amid faltering support from the school board...

 http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/students-continue-to-fail-math-final-exams-in-montgomery-high-schools/2015/03/30/54211628-cf0a-11e4-a2a7-9517a3a70506_story.html?hpid=z3

Action Alert - Deadline tomorrow April 1 by 10am to Protect our Children's Data being collected by "Educational" Companies

We need you to write a letter to your Senator by tomorrow, April 1, 2015, by 10am EST.  Links and sample letter below.


We had a meeting with over two dozen parents from various ends of Montgomery and Prince Georgia's Counties yesterday, 3/30/15, and provided parents some background on the new technology in our schools.


Recording of meeting link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmsfFXOXbo4


One important effort with a deadline of tomorrow, April 1st, deadline at 10am is to write your Senator to PASS the Student Privacy Bill - to stop "Educational" companies from collecting and selling data on your child's activities online.  States like CA, NY, and NJ have already taken legal initiatives, as well.  If we have some of the top schools in the nation, then we should be taking the lead on this matter!


With all the technology and devices our students use constantly, the privacy of the data collected during their use of technology is a much discussed topic.

For parents who have raised concerns about data collected while students use the technology required by MCPS, the Student Data Privacy Act should be of interest. Here's a link to the bill:

Generally, the bill would apply to operators who control websites, online services, online apps and mobile apps used by students at the direction of schools or the state Dept. of Education. Operators are required to protect student data from access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure, required to constantly meet certain security standards, and are prohibited from creating targeted ads, creating profiles, selling information, or disclosing data.

HB298 passed the House last week, but has no Senate crossfile.  The House bill has been presented to the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs committee, and will be heard by that committee on April 1.

If you support this legislation, contact the members of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs committee immediately, particularly the Montgomery County members - Senators Montgomery and Kagan --- and urge them to support the bill as is to prevent weakening the protections through amendments.  Here's the membership list for the committee - each name a hyperlink to the contact info:


Letter to Type:  Sample:

I am a parent of a child in ____________ County and am in full support of the Student Data Privacy Act (HB0298).  This Bill is necessary to fill the gaps that FERPA and COPPA cannot reach - as it pertains to protect our children's data collection by third party vendors.  The Student Data Privacy Act (HB0298) should be adopted as is. It is critical we provide protection for our youth, as the consequences of data collection, starting in Kindergarten - all the way through High School, and the ability to sell such data to for profit companies is not the business of education that the State of Maryland should be engaged in.

Respectfully,

[name]
[county]


Thank you for your quick action and engaging in this important issue


Ellen Zavian


Del. Luedtke's Bill 642 would permit person convicted of crimes against children on school grounds if supervised

Statement from MCPS parent Jennifer Alvaro regarding House Bill 642

Children – Child Care Facilities, Public Schools, and Nonpublic Schools –  Contractors and Subcontractors

Support with Amendment

I am graduate and parent of two Montgomery County Public School students. I am bilingual (Spanish speaking) Licensed Clinical Social worker (MD & VA) and a Certified Sex Offender Treatment Provider (VA). I have worked in the field of child sexual abuse for twenty one years. Among other things, over the years, I have conducted child protective services investigations for local county governments. I have provide treatment for convicted sex offenders in Maryland, Washington DC and Virginia. I have worked for a national child abuse prevention agency. For a local archdiocese of the Catholic Church I volunteer to teach their mandatory sex abuse prevention seminar; as well as teaching a nationally recognized secular prevention program.

As you are well aware, Montgomery County has had a long standing issue with sex offenses committed by school employees and contractors. For the past three years I have been advocating to make MCPS schools safer for all our children.

I commend all those who are working to schools and communities safer for our children and vulnerable adults.

Bill 642 would seem to close a loophole and strengthen safety measures to ensure our children are not victimized by those who are already known to law enforcement as being a danger to children.

My concern and my request for action on this legislation is to change the amendment which follows:
(B) A NONPUBLIC SCHOOL CONTRACT SHALL PROVIDE THAT A CONTRACTOR OR SUBCONTRACTOR FOR THE SCHOOL MAY NOT KNOWINGLY ASSIGN AN EMPLOYEE TO WORK ON SCHOOL PREMISES WITH DIRECT, UNSUPERVISED, AND UNCONTROLLED ACCESS TO CHILDREN, IF THE EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF A CRIME IDENTIFIED UNDER SUBSECTION (A) OF THIS SECTION.

I would submit to you, no such person referenced should be on school grounds at all while children are present. To suggest this be allowed only if said person does not have "direct, unsupervised and uncontrolled access", is to create an untenable situation. Who is going to define "direct", "unsupervised" or "uncontrolled"? If this new amendment is allowed to remain, those convicted of crimes against children will still not only have access to our children but also still have opportunities to offend against them.
If this amendment is allowed to stand, I would request the following information:
  • Who will pay for the supervision of this person while on school grounds (to insure they have no direct, unsupervised or uncontrolled access)?
  • Who will meet with said supervisor to educate them about what it means to supervise someone who has offended against children?
  • Who will draft a written safety plan about such things as where this person will go to the bathroom, where they can make / take calls, what they should do if a child approaches them?
  • Who will provide supervision when the supervisor needs to go to the bathroom or make a call?
  • Will parents be given a written safety plan for each convicted offender who will be in the schools?

I fail to see, despite being necessary, how any school would implement these necessary steps to protect children.

I therefore request this amendment be changed to state that if such convicted offenders are allowed to work in a school building, this only be at times when no children are on the premises.

I respectfully request that you act before the bills are passed to change the amendment in both the House and Senate bills so that children are protected and not endangered by the unintended consequences of this problematic amendment.

Stamford Investigation Continues: Starr was Board of Ed's Only Employee

...In 2011, the four Stamford High assistant principals asked to meet with then-Superintendent Joshua Starr to explain their concerns about Valentine's handling of multiple incidents at the school. The incidents included a report from a ninth-grade girl that a teacher had touched her breast.

Starr responded by transferring three of the assistant principals.
The members of the Board of Education accepted Starr's move. He then left Stamford for another job.

 But the assistant principals were adamant. All four of them took the unprecedented step of hiring their own attorney, who wrote a letter to then-board President Polly Rauh and the new superintendent, Winifred Hamilton, outlining the concerns about Valentine's leadership....

...But there has been reason to soul-search and get more involved for five years.
In 2010, Jackie Heftman, who was board president then and is now, explained to The Advocate why members were publicizing Starr's annual evaluation for the first time. "The superintendent is the only employee the Board of Education has," Heftman said.
 http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Angela-Carella-School-board-soul-search-should-6165359.php

Monday, March 30, 2015

Report: Pearson, big education firms spend millions lobbying for pro-testing policies, against student privacy protection




Washington Post reports that Pearson, the company administering the PARCC test and the new MCPS student information system, has spent (together with three other testing companies) millions of dollars lobbying for pro-testing policies and against student privacy protections.
The full report is available here:
http://www.sourcewatch.org/images/b/bc/Pearson_ETS_Houghton_Mifflin_and_McGraw-Hill_Lobby_Big_and_Profit_Bigger.pdf

Today: BOE to Discuss Bus Depot Move in Closed Session

Ewing school to be demolished for developer.
From the Agenda for today's Closed Session of the Montgomery County Board of Education: 
Resolved,
That the Board receive legal advice about pending litigation before the Maryland State
Board of Education concerning English Manor, the Blair Ewing Center, and the Shady Grove Bus Depot...
 http://www.boarddocs.com/mabe/mcpsmd/Board.nsf/files/9UWBRF744427/$file/Resolution%20for%20Closed%20Session.pdf

Sunday, March 29, 2015

15 Highest Paid Montgomery County Employees - Bethesda Beat

15 Highest Paid Montgomery County Employees - Bethesda Beat

...Here are the 15 highest paid county employees. The salary and overtime pay figures were taken from the county’s dataMontgomery web portal, which lists the salaries for all county employees, except those employed by Montgomery County Public Schools...

Exploring the Issues Surrounding Technology in the Classroom- join our meeting in person on online Monday 3/30/15 at 7pm

Are you concerned about PARCC testing issues?
Want to know about the sensitive student information collected and handled by Pearson and other operators?
Have concerns about the MCPS notebook rollout?
We will discuss these pressing questions and more….
With computers distributed to our students (or soon to be), it is time for parents to come together to learn about this the legal, ethical and privacy issues posed by the technology, its pros and cons, and to develop a plan of action to help our teachers planning the proper rollout strategy.
Join us for this important meeting.
MCPS parents with background in education, law, ethics, privacy, and information technology will present and facilitate the discussion.


Date:  March 30, 2015, Monday         
Time: 7pm to 8:30 pm EST
Location: Bethesda Library, 7400 Arlington Rd,
Bethesda, MD 20814  - Parking available on site.
AGENDA
1. Technology in the Classroom.
          A.  Preparation— students, parents, teachers.
          B.  Testing—PARCC & other testing;
          C.  Privacy—data mining by 3rd parties; access to health records;
          D.  Security—protection of data collected;
          E.  Safety– wireless vs. cable, code of conduct, cyberbullying
2.  Create working groups and a plan of action with measurable goals.


Webinar: join us onlin if you cannot make the meeting in person:

Once you log in, click on the Enter Meeting button, after you put your name in the code field box.

Once you see our screen/ppt, then please click on the tel icon at the top to join the audio via telephone or VOIP.  If you select VOIP, you will have to download a second software.

With questions before the meeting, contact
ellen@ellenzavian.com orrapascal2003@gmail.com

Friday, March 27, 2015

Video: Chapter by Chapter Public Discussion of MCPS Operating Budget

The Montgomery County Civic Federation, the Montgomery County Taxpayers League, and the Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County, MD present Budgetpalooza 2015!

This is the third year for this budget breakdown event. This event allows citizens to go over the MCPS fiscal year 2016 budget chapter by chapter.  This year's event was held on February 26, 2015.

 https://youtu.be/z_ZxeZcGqmk







My Two Cents: An Open Letter To The Next MCPS Superintendent

Dear soon-to-be MCPS Superintendent:
Recently, when cleaning out my office, I found a 1983 article I co-wrote about test score differences between black and white Montgomery County students. It might be one of the first published academic articles written about the MCPS achievement gap.

Since 1983, I’ve probably written more about MCPS achievement gaps than any other individual in the nation. I’ve penned letters to editors, countless newspaper columns, a book chapter and endless blog pieces. And so writing what I’m about to write is difficult and a little painful, but it needs saying — and you need to hear it before you buy a home in Montgomery County (maybe you should rent):

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Council to Vote on Kicking MCPS Buses off Site, Forcing Demolition of Usable MCPS School

This is the usable MCPS school that is slated to be demolished.
Urgent Action Needed Now!

Tell the Montgomery County Council: VOTE NO on the "Declaration of No Further Need" for County Service Park East/Jeremiah Park

On March 30th, 2015, the Montgomery County Council's Government Operations and Education Committees will vote on this issue.  If the Council votes to kick the MCPS school buses off the Shady Grove Depot location, the Board of Education will then demolish a perfectly usable public school building on Avery Road in order to have a place to park the school buses.  A private developer wants the current MCPS Shady Grove bus depot for a new housing development, so the MCPS school buses are being forced off the property without any evaluation of the consequences of this plan.

Please call the following County Council members ASAP:
Nancy Navarro: 240-777-7968
Craig Rice: 240-777-7955
Hans Riemer: 240-777-7964
Sidney Katz: 240-777-7906
Marc Elrich: 240-777-7966

• There should be no "declaration of no further need" of the County Service Park East/Jeremiah Park land until a suitable bus depot location is identified-- and not on Avery Road where an entire public school building would have to be demolished.

• We understand the Derwood community's position on relocating the bus depot at Jeremiah Park, but it cannot happen until a suitable location is identified.

Why is this important? Without a suitable, alternate location for the school bus depot, losing the current bus depot at "County Service Park East/Jeremiah Park" would result in even more pressure on the Board of Education to quickly move the Alternative Education Programs (AEPs) to English Manor, demolish the Blair Ewing School, and build a bus depot at that location.

Don't lose County Service Park East/Jeremiah Park until the bus depot issue is resolved and the Avery Road location is off the table.

• NO to a MCPS bus depot on Avery Road.
• NO to demolishing a MCPS school.

Keep Your Promise MCPS Chief Technology Officer Sherwin Collette

Safe Tech for Schools Maryland: Keep Your Promise: An Open Letter to Technology C...: Keep Your Promise  MCPS Chief Technology Officer Sherwin Collette Please Accurately Measure WiFi Radiation In Our Schools We wr...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

T-Mobile Wants More Time To Build Cell Tower Next to Cresthaven Elementary School

At tomorrow morning’s March 25, 2015, worksession, the Montgomery County Board of Appeals is scheduled to address a request for the Board to reconsider a Resolution that grants extra time for T-Mobile to construct a cell tower that would abut Cresthaven Elementary School, on property owned by the West Hillandale Swim Club.  Neighbors and local parents, some who have been fighting the cell tower since 2007, want Special Exception S-2709 to be allowed to expire on April 22, 2015.
Opponents say the Board relied on misrepresentations when it granted T-Mobile an extension of time. Seeking the extension, on February 4, 2015, T-Mobile told the Board that no infrastructure, no pole, and no footprint modifications would be made during the requested time extension, and that T-Mobile would not need to return to the Board to seek authorization for changes to the cell tower. But following the Board’s release of its Resolution, which granted the extension of time, Susan Present sent a letter to the Board, saying, “…I am concerned that T-Mobile may seek to enlarge the telecom facility … and that T-Mobile would try to utilize the time granted through the Resolution to acquire authorization…”  Offering Ms. Present no reassurance, T-Mobile’s reply to the Board states, “Should T-Mobile and/or the West Hillandale Swim Club seek modification of the approval or conditions of same, we trust the Board can consider such a request and make the appropriate decision based on the merits.

Also on February 4th, to demonstrate that T-Mobile was the leaseholder and authorized developer, the swim club president attested to T-Mobile’s ongoing lease and payments of rent. However, opponent Lynn Grodski has told the Board of Appeals, State tax records show that T-Mobile has never established a separate tax I.D. for the parcel that it told the Board of Appeals it has continuously been leasing from the West Hillandale Swim Club…T-Mobile has been advantaged by the County tax-credit that the nonprofit private swim club has annually received as a facility that is used exclusively to provide a recreational outlet to the local community.”

Initial PARCC test reactions mixed in Montgomery

...At the school board’s March 10 meeting, discussion of PARCC tests included questions, concerns and positive reports.
School board member Jill Ortman-Fouse raised concerns about why the testing experience could vary for different students.
One issue, she said in an interview, is that some students taking one version answer questions using sound clips, while other students only look at text.
Ortman-Fouse said she’s concerned about students who receive accommodations different from what they are used to during the test.
“I really question the usability of the data we’re going to be getting,” she said in the interview...

 http://www.gazette.net/article/20150318/NEWS/150319298/1007&source=RSS&template=gazette

Leggett Recommends Slight Increase in Montgomery County Budget

...Leggett recommended a $2.3 billion budget for Montgomery County Public Schools. That number is less than the $2.39 billion requested by the school system. The figure includes $27.2 million to fund MCPS retiree health benefits and represents a 3.8 percent increase in county funding compared to current spending. Leggett noted this meets about 97.6 percent of the Board of Education's request...

 http://www.bethesdamagazine.com/Bethesda-Beat/2015/Leggett-Recommends-Slight-Increase-in-Montgomery-County-Budget/

All the Crimes that HB 642 would not cover: Child Pornography, Production of Pornography, Solicitation of a Minor...

CHILDREN - CHILD CARE FACILITIES, PUBLIC SCHOOLS, AND NONPUBLIC SCHOOLS - CONTRACTORS AND SUBCONTRACTORS 
Sponsored by: Delegate Luedtke

SUPPORT BILL ONLY IF AMENDED [Watch Video below at Minute 14:10 for Statement Detailing Reasons for Need for Amendments to this Bill]
Link to written testimony submitted by Ellen Mugmon

Before the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee
March 12, 2015


Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday March 30 County-wide Parent Mtg - Organized by Parents for Responsible Use of Technology in School

Organized by Parents for Responsible Use of Technology in School

How did MCPS plan this notebook rollout?


With computers  distributed to our students (or soon to be), it is time for     parents to come together to learn about this technology, its pros and cons, and to develop a plan of action to help our teachers planning the proper rollout strategy.
Join us for this important meeting.

Date:  March 30, 2015, Monday         
Time: 7pm to 8:30 pm EST
Location: Bethesda Library, 7400 Arlington Rd, Bethesda, MD 20814 Parking available on site.
Agenda
A. Technology in the Classroom.
B.  Preparation— students, parents, teachers;
C.  Testing—PARCC & other testing;
D.  Privacy—data mining by 3rd parties; access to health records;
E.  Security—protection of data collected;
F.  Safety– wireless vs. cable, code of conduct, bullying
G.  Create working groups and a plan of action with measurable goals.


If you cannot join us in person, please log on to join.me/unitedbreakin , type in your name and click on Enter the meeting, click on tel icon (at top) to join audio (download software required)
Any questions before the meeting?
Contact ellen@ellenzavian.com or apascal2003@gmail.com

 Please pass the word around to all other parents.  Thank you.   Media welcome.

Neighbor concerned about resale of home across from middle school cell tower - Top Stories - wbff

A Proposed Cell Tower at Middle School in AACO Under Review - Top Stories - wbff

Today: Support House Bill 727 - Moratorium on Public School Playground Cell Towers

House Bill 727 only puts forward a moratorium on public school playground cell tower construction projects in one county, Anne Arundel, and only for one year.

However, HB 727 sends the message that the issue of commercial companies constructing HAZMAT compounds on public school playgrounds needs to be examined and evaluated before going any further.  

If you believe that Maryland public school playgrounds are for the use, education and enjoyment of public school children, and that the issue of cell towers on playgrounds needs to be studied thoroughly before any more cell towers are built, please send a note of support for House Bill 727 to the list of Maryland House Delegates shown below. 

Ask the following Delegates to please support HB727, Anne Arundel County Board of Education - Wireless Telecommunications Towers - Moratorium and Report

 sheila.hixson@house.state.md.us; frank.turner@house.state.md.us; kathy.afzali@house.state.md.us; Darryl.Barnes@house.state.md.us; Jason.Buckel@house.state.md.us; Eric.Ebersole@house.state.md.us; Diana.Fennell@house.state.md.us; Kevin.Hornberger@house.state.md.us; carolyn.howard@house.state.md.us; anne.kaiser@house.state.md.us; Bob.Long@house.state.md.us; eric.luedtke@house.state.md.us; Ric.Metzgar@house.state.md.us; Edith.Patterson@house.state.md.us; Andrew.Platt@house.state.md.us; Teresa.Reilly@house.state.md.us; Haven.Shoemaker@house.state.md.us; Meagan.Simonaire@house.state.md.us; Jimmy.Tarlau@house.state.md.us; jay.walker@house.state.md.us; mary.washington@house.state.md.us; alonzo.washington@house.state.md.us

  Sheila Hixson  sheila.hixson@house.state.md.us    (Chair)
Frank Turner  frank.turner@house.state.md.us           (Vice Chair)
Kathy Afzli  kathy.afzali@house.state.md.us
Darryl Barnes  Darryl.Barnes@house.state.md.us
Jason Buckel Jason.Buckel@house.state.md.us
Eric Ebersole  Eric.Ebersole@house.state.md.us
Diana Fennell    Diana.Fennell@house.state.md.us
Kevin Hornberger   Kevin.Hornberger@house.state.md.us
Carolyn Howard   carolyn.howard@house.state.md.us
Anne Kaiser  anne.kaiser@house.state.md.us
Robert Long  Bob.Long@house.state.md.us
Eric Luedtke  eric.luedtke@house.state.md.us
Ric Metzgar  Ric.Metzgar@house.state.md.us
Edith Patterson  Edith.Patterson@house.state.md.us
Andrew Platt  Andrew.Platt@house.state.md.us
Teresa Reilly  Teresa.Reilly@house.state.md.us
Haven Shoemaker   Haven.Shoemaker@house.state.md.us
Meagan Simonaire  Meagan.Simonaire@house.state.md.us
Jimmy Tarlau  Jimmy.Tarlau@house.state.md.us
Jay Walker   jay.walker@house.state.md.us
Mary Washington  mary.washington@house.state.md.us
Alonzo Washington  alonzo.washington@house.state.md.us

Please share and post this link on all the websites and Faceboook pages affiliated with opposition to Cell towers on public school property.

Channel 45 news coverage:


Board of Education members weigh in on search

 ...President Patricia O’Neill (District 3):
“Sarcastically I would say we need someone who could walk on water, speaks multiple languages, can spin gold from straw, if I could conjure up (one). I think we need a visionary leader, a good manager. I always say I believe we need a superintendent who’s an educator with a businessman in his mind, great communication skills.”
On if he/she should be a minority: “You know, I can’t say. I just want the best candidate for MCPS.”...

...Judy Docca (District 1):
Judy Docca declined to respond to the questions because she did not want to comment on the performance of former superintendent Joshua Starr.
 “I fail to see how I could be more specific about what I am looking for without you asking, Well, didn't Dr. Starr exhibit these characteristics? I am bound by our agreement not to disclose more than you may receive from Dana Tofig or Brian Edwards with regard to the search.”...

 http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1764%3Aboard-of-education-members-weigh-in-on-search&Itemid=766

Del. Luedtke's Bill 1033 would only serve to exacerbate the inexcusable mishandling of child abuse cases by MCPS personnel

House Bill 1033
 
Delegates Luedtke, Kaiser, Zucker, Barkley, Gutierrez, Kelly, Korman, and Smith

PUBLIC AND NONPUBLIC SCHOOLS - SEXUAL AND PHYSICAL ABUSE NOTIFICATION AND PREVENTION

OPPOSE

Submitted by Ellen Mugmon

Before the House Judiciary Committee

March 19, 2015


HB 1033 purports to provide certain solutions to serious problems that have been uncovered during the longstanding and continuing Montgomery County Public School System’s (MCPSS) child sexual abuse and assault scandal. Its focus appears to be on notification of parents. But it unreasonably restricts the crimes that are supposed to be disclosed, the time limits for disclosure, and the number of schools to which disclosure should reasonably apply, irrespective of the facts of each case.

Most egregiously, the bill undermines Maryland’s reporting law. School personnel would be designated to receive certain child abuse reports instead of the police and departments of social services. In addition, superintendents of a public schools and the principals of a nonpublic school would be able to override requests by local law enforcement agencies or local state’s attorneys to delay notification to parents even if this would compromise the investigation. Thus, this proposed legislation would only serve to exacerbate the inexcusable mishandling of child abuse cases by the MCPS personnel. Legislation which obstructs reporting to the police and social service by diverting reports to school systems and private schools would serve to ensure that children’s safety would be jeopardized.

The cause of the scandal is not so much the failure of the police and social services to alert superintendents of public school systems or principals of private schools that an arrest has been made, as HB 1033 implies. The cause of this scandal is, first and foremost, the failure of school system personnel to report to the proper authorities when they suspect that a teacher or other employee has abused a student. While other agencies are not without fault, procedures need to be worked out among agencies in a collaborative way in a memorandum of understanding, not in a legislative power play which really has little to do with the protection of children.

The operative policy in the MCPS appears to have been to conduct internal investigations prior to reporting, in violation of a significant Attorney General’s opinion. The operative policy also meant that employees failed to report directly to the police and social services when required. Moreover, inexpert investigations prior to police and social services investigations gave the alleged abusers the ability to destroy evidence, and abscond or inappropriately gather information after multiple in-house interviews of child victims or witnesses. For example, a special education teacher fled the country in 2013 after school personnel did an internal investigation in which they determined nothing had happened. There was no need, according to them, to call the police. The police, after their investigation, however, decided to arrest the teacher for the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old autistic child after his parents subsequently reported directly to them.

This operative policy was fostered by totally inadequate child abuse and neglect policy and procedures, which are still not corrected. Moreover, MCPS administrators had never heard of the most pertinent document it should have consulted: 76 Opinions of the Attorney General___ (1991) [Opinion No. 91-056 (December 17, 1991)]. A child advocate recently provided administrators with a copy of it as well as the Howard County Child Abuse Policy and Procedures. (see http://www.hcpss.org/f/board/policies/1030.pdf)

Interestingly, in the first half of the bill, teachers and other employees under the bill, as opposed to contractor, subcontractors, and paid employees, are subject to different crimes reportable to parents. This makes no sense.

The definition of “REPORTABLE OFFENSE FOR AN EMPLOYEE OF A LOCAL SCHOOL SYSTEM OR A NONPUBLIC SCHOOL” is underinclusive. Definition of “REPORTABLE OFFENSE FOR A CONTRACTOR, SUBCONTRACTOR, OR PAID LEADER OF A SCHOOL ACTIVITY is both underinclusive and made up of different crimes.

Section 14-101 of the Criminal Law Article has a very limited number of crimes that do not reflect all the other crimes that teachers and other personnel have committed against vulnerable students, although the name of the statute, “Crimes of Violence,” would lead one to believe that all violent crimes are listed. That is hardly the case. There is also another list of violent crimes in Section 5-101 of the Public Safety Article. Both lists are not the same. Moreover, merely adding Section 3-307 and a third degree sex offense and 3-602, in the Criminal Law Article, is grossly insufficient because the proposed legislation does not include other crimes particularly related to the protection of children. The absence of section 3-308 of the Criminal Law Article in particular is glaring. Pedophile activist groups in Maryland contend that a 4th degree sex offense involving a child, though a crime, is not harmful to children and should eventually be legalized. Unfortunately, this list of crimes inadvertently sanctions their disordered thinking.

In addition, Section 5-101 of the Public Safety Article lists second degree assault as a crime of violence. Generally, it is considered a Domestic Violence crime which is, of course violent. But it is not a crime of violence in Section 14-101 of the Criminal Law Article. Most importantly, it is a crime that is too often a plea bargain down from sexual crimes. A Rockville teacher was convicted of second degree assault, which has no sex- offense component to it. He was originally charged with child sexual abuse and a 4th degree sex offense, which again is not a “REPORTABLE OFFENSES.”

Other offenses which are deemed “UNREPORTABLE” include child pornography possession, distribution, and manufacture. Moreover, a building service worker was retained by the MCPS after he was arrested for surreptitiously spying on little girls in school locker room. Because of that he was moved to a warehouse and then convicted of unnatural and perverted sex practices.

The following crimes, for example, are also presumed in the bill to be irrelevant: sexual relationships with high school students off-campus off-time; indecent exposure; statutory rape; sex trafficking; stalking; trespass which is associated with stalking, peeping Tom, and malicious destruction of property, all crimes not included; sexual solicitation of a minor; child physical abuse in the first and second degree and child neglect; sexual and physical abuse and neglect of a vulnerable adult; harassment; false imprisonment; presence of a minor in sight and hearing of a crime of violence; allowing or encouraging a child to engage in obscene photography, films, poses, or similar activity; reckless endangerment; indecent, lewd conversations and texting with minors; illegally carrying a concealed firearm on school property; and animal cruelty. There are other significant crimes not listed here.

The definition of “REPORTABLE CRIMES” with regard to a contractor and subcontractor, or paid leader of a school activity is insufficient. It does include 4th degree sex offense and certain additional crimes which are not included for employees. The question is why are they different? Moreover, why are notifications from the police about contractors, subcontractors, and paid leaders time limited and concern only a particular school at the time of the offense, when one contractor who sexually assaulted girls worked in 58 schools? See section (A)(II) on page 2. Also, why are subsequent notifications to parents of students and employees 5 business days later similarly limited? See section (C)(I)(II) on page three. Thus, HB 1033 calls for disclosure to parents, on the one hand, and limits the information disclosed on the other.

In addition,Section (B)(1) on page 3 leaves out the one day notification for parents of the victim which is supposed to be the purpose of the bill. Furthermore, this provision is contrary to another Attorney General opinion which states that the local department of social services must notify the parents of the victim within 24 hours. ( See 82 Opinions of the Attorney General___(1997) [Opinion. No. 97-023 (September 19, 1997)].

But two of the most troubling provisions of the bill concern the usurpation of the police, state’s attorney and DSS roles in child abuse investigations. In section (D) on page 4, HB 1033 would allow the public school superintendent or principal of a nonpublic school to reject a request by police, DSS and state’s attorney to delay the notification of parents in order to prevent compromising their investigations. The bill also calls for the designation of a contact person within the local school system or nonpublic school for parents and employees to receive reports of incidents of abuse that may be related to the arrest along with information on how to report sexual abuse to the county board, and school administration. Thus, reporting incidents of abuse to school entities may or may not be related to the arrest. Either way, this end run around the reporting law in the midst of a scandal is especially outrageous. Clearly, the purpose of this bill is not to protect children, but the school system and its employees.

The literal language of the child abuse reporting law and the Attorney General’s opinion make it clear, notwithstanding HB 1033, that ‘the [school system’s] personnel investigation must not take place until after the alleged abuse has been reported and is subject to whatever limitations are imposed by the local DSS or the police….One overriding requirement of the Child Abuse subtitle is immediate reporting of instances of suspected abuse. Thus, under no circumstances may a school system delay reporting….” Given all of the above, I respectfully ask that the Committee give HB 1033 an unfavorable report.