Safety and Wellness
- Emergency Procedures Information
- Emergency Preparedness
- Protective Actions
- School Emergency Closing Information Sources
- Emergency School Closings
- School Health Services
- Physical Education Requirement
- Accident Insurance
- Medical Insurance
- Home and Hospital Program
- Wellness Policy
- Weather Guidelines/Recess
- Physical Education
- Asbestos Management
- Integrated Pest Management
- Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
- Confidentiality of Student Records
- Directory Information
- Media Exposure
- Research for Instructional Improvement
Emergency Procedures Information
At the beginning of the school year, parents must complete/update their child’s emergency procedure information on the online student information system. Parents who do not have Internet access may request a hard copy of the form from their child’s school. The purpose of the form is to identify persons to be contacted when parents/guardians are unable to be reached in case of an emergency regarding the student. It is imperative that this form be completed in a timely manner
Advance preparation and planning can minimize the risks inherent in any emergency situation. The HCPSS has worked closely with the Howard County Police Department, Howard County Fire and Rescue, and the Community Emergency Response Network (CERN) to develop coordinated emergency response procedures.
In times of emergency when a system-level crisis response is required, an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated. The Director of Security, Emergency Preparedness and Response assumes the role of incident commander and coordinates the system response through various staff who have been trained to assume specific roles in times of emergency. The school system has conducted multiple tabletop and onsite emergency response drills with personnel from Fire and Rescue and the Police Department to review and improve the system’s emergency response procedures.
Local School Emergency Response Plans
Each Howard County public school has developed a School Emergency Response Plan. The plan is updated annually and reviewed with all building staff. It includes school site information, staff responsibilities in time of emergency, the type of training staff will receive and when training will occur, and the annual plans for drills.
The plan also defines emergency response operations such as potential command post locations, communications plans, the teacher “buddy” system, student release procedures, general emergency actions, and hazard-specific procedures.
Attached to the emergency plan are site maps, which identify assembly areas, traffic flow information, request and release gates, outside and inside command posts, loading areas, utilities controls and potential medical station areas. Also included are any prearranged agreements with adjacent businesses or facilities for the provision of emergency shelter.
Emergency Incident Kits
Emergency Incident Kits have been provided to each school. The kit, which is portable and can be replenished easily, includes first aid supplies, emergency blankets, barrier caution tape, duct tape, megaphones, high-visibility vests, and an AM/FM radio and batteries. Schools are responsible for adding items to the kit such as school floor plans, a staff roster, student emergency procedures cards and area maps. Additionally, each school has been issued a weather alert radio.
- Students do not attend schools.
- All school-sponsored activities are canceled.
- All after-school and evening activities, both school and non-school, scheduled in school facilities are canceled.
Late Start/Early Dismissal
- Students report later than usual or are dismissed before the established dismissal time.
- When schools dismiss early for emergency situations, all school-sponsored activities are canceled.
- When schools dismiss early for emergency situations, after-school and evening activities, both school and non-school, scheduled in school facilities are canceled.
- An announcement is made by runner or over the public address system: “Your attention please. Lockdown (pause). Lockdown (pause). Lockdown.”
- If it is safe to do so, all students and staff are moved into the building or relocatable classroom immediately.
- Students and staff in relocatable classrooms remain in place and follow the same procedures as those inside the main building unless the school incident commander determines another response is warranted.
- All interior and exterior doors are locked. No one is to enter or leave the building.
- If it is safe to do so, blinds and shades are drawn. If the room is without window coverings, lights are turned off.
- If the situation warrants, students and staff sit or lie on the floor.
- All students and staff are accounted for.
- Staff and students are to remain in lockdown until emergency responders (police/fire and rescue personnel) or the school incident commander gives the “all clear” notice.
This action is considered appropriate for, but not limited to, situations that involve extreme violence and/or gunfire and that immediately and directly affect the school site.
- An announcement is made by runner or over the public address system: “Your attention please. Modified lockdown (pause). Modified lockdown (pause). Modified lockdown.” If the situation allows, an announcement regarding the nature of the emergency is made over the public address system.
- All students and staff are accounted for.
- Outdoor activities (recess, physical education, etc.) cease immediately and do not resume until further notice.
- All exterior doors are locked and main doors are monitored with access restricted. Identification is required for anyone entering.
- If the situation warrants, blinds and shades are drawn or if the room is without window coverings, lights are turned off.
- A “Modified Lockdown” sign is placed on the main door.
- Normal activity continues within the building.
- Students and staff in relocatable classrooms remain in place and follow the same procedures as those inside the main building unless the school incident commander determines another response is warranted. Students must be escorted to activities inside the main building by at least one adult.
- School remains in modified lockdown until notice to resume normal routine is given by central or school command.
This action is considered an appropriate response to violence, criminal activity, or any other situation that has the potential to affect the school site.
Shelter in Place
- An announcement is made by runner or over the public address system: “Your attention please. Shelter in place (pause). Shelter in place (pause). Shelter in place.” If the situation allows, an announcement regarding the nature of the emergency is made over the public address system.
- All staff and students report to assigned classrooms as quickly as possible.
- Students and staff in relocatable classrooms move immediately into the main building.
- Doors and windows are shut immediately.
- All students and staff are accounted for.
- If incident warrants, tape is placed around doors, windows, and vents; and wet towels are placed at the bottom of doors.
- The HVAC system is shut off.
- A “Sheltering-in-Place” sign is placed on the outside of the main door.
- Students and staff stand by until given directions by school command or emergency responders (police/fire and rescue personnel).
This action is considered appropriate for situations such as hazardous materials releases, nearby fires, and bioterrorism. Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local public safety officials indicate that incidents requiring communities to “shelter in place” are viewed as short-term, measured in terms of hours, not days.
This action is appropriate for, but not limited to earthquakes, explosions, terrorism, tornado or other types of severe wind, situations that may cause significant structural damage.
Duck, Cover and Hold On
An oral command of “Duck, Cover and Hold on” (repeated as needed) is given by the teacher or other staff member who realizes an incident is occurring. If there is sufficient warning, administrative personnel may give this order over the public address system.
When inside: Upon the command students and staff are to immediately drop to the floor, get under their desks and hold on. Desks are to be arranged so that they do not face windows. As soon as the incident has subsided all building occupants should evacuate.
When outside: Upon the command, students and staff are to immediately move away from buildings and other objects, DROP to the ground and cover their heads. After incident has subsided, all students and staff are to assemble in their assigned evacuation area and follow evacuation procedure.
Evacuation (on site and off site)
- A fire alarm or horn signal is sounded. If the situation allows, an announcement regarding the nature of the emergency is made over the public address system.
- During an on-site evacuation, students and staff exit the building via the closest safe exit and assemble in predetermined locations. The same procedure is used for off-site evacuation except that staff and students are transported or walk to a predetermined off-site location.
- All students and staff are accounted for.
- Students and staff remain in the evacuation area and await instructions from school command.
This action is considered appropriate for, but is not limited to, situations such as floods, fires, hazardous materials incidents, or other situations that may render the school site unsafe.
- Do not drive to the school unless directed to do so.
- Do not call the school.
- Tune to news media for emergency instructions.
In times of emergency, information about the status of schools is communicated through a variety of media. The school system requests that parents do not call their child’s school or the central office in times of emergency as it is important to keep phone lines free for emergency communications. Circumstances may prevent parents from picking up their children or may require that children be picked up at a location other than the school.
The safety of children and staff is our first priority. Our second priority is the reunification of parents with their children.
School Emergency Closing Information Sources
In times of emergencies/school closings, information will be shared with the community through the following:
- Our school system homepage
- HCPSS News email and text message alerts – Parents are already registered. Community members/non-parents and staff can sign up here.
- HCPSS Information Hotline – 410-313-6666
- Twitter – @hcpss
- Facebook – Howard County Public School System
- HCPSS Cable TV – Comcast 95/Verizon 42
Emergency School Closings
If it is necessary for the superintendent to close or delay the start of schools due to inclement weather or other emergencies, parents may obtain information from the sources listed above.
If Howard County public schools open one hour late, all morning programs held in schools will be delayed by one hour, including prekindergarten, RECC, and programs sponsored by the Columbia Association and the Department of Recreation and Parks. If schools open two hours late, there is no morning half-day prekindergarten/RECC.
If schools are closed, or closed early due to weather conditions, all after-school and evening activities, both school and non-school, scheduled in school facilities are canceled.
Prekindergarten and RECC Procedures
- If Howard County public schools open one hour late, all morning programs held in schools will be delayed by one hour, including prekindergarten, RECC, and programs sponsored by the Columbia Association and the Department of Recreation and Parks.
- If schools open two hours late, there is no morning half-day prekindergarten/RECC.
If schools are closed, or closed early due to weather conditions, all evening activities in schools, both school-sponsored and community-sponsored, are canceled. This includes high school athletic practices and games. All aftercare programs, sponsored by the Columbia Association and the Department of Recreation & Parks in Howard County public schools, are canceled.
On weekends and holidays, if the Howard County Snow Emergency Plan is in effect by 7 a.m., activities already in progress may be completed but any activity scheduled to begin after that time is canceled.
Please do not call your child’s school or the central office during emergencies or adverse weather conditions, to keep phone lines remain free for urgent calls.
Learn more about emergency closings and notifications at www.hcpss.org/emergency-closings/.
School Health Services
The Health Services Program supports academic achievement by bridging the gap between health, wellness and learning. Health Services staff enhance student health and well-being by providing disease prevention and health promotion activities that deter the spread of illness and decrease the incidence of injury, providing emergency care, administering medication, promoting positive health practices, and maintaining a safe and healthy school environment. They help students, parents, and staff identify and secure appropriate and available health services and resources. School health services are provided in accordance with state and local guidelines, regulations, and laws.
All students who are enrolled in Maryland schools are required by Maryland law to be immunized against certain diseases. The immunization regulations state that “a school principal or other person in charge of a school, public or private, may not knowingly admit a student to, or retain a student in, a preschool program or kindergarten through twelfth grade unless the student has furnished evidence of age-appropriate immunity against tetanus, diphtheria, poliomyelitis, measles (rubeola), mumps, rubella, Hepatitis B, varicella, meningitis, and tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis acquired through a Tetanusdiphtheria- acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine.” Students under the age of seven are also required to have age-appropriate immunity to pertussis (whooping cough). Preschool students are also required to have age-appropriate immunity against Haemophilus influenzae, type b (Hib), and pneumococcal disease (Prevnar). In addition, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade students must have a completed Blood Lead Testing Certificate.
Each student must have a completed Maryland Immunization Certificate Form on file at the school. Forms are available at the school or the Howard County Health Department. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to have the form completed prior to enrolling the student. If a student receives additional immunizations after school entry, the parent/guardian should send proof to the school health assistant or nurse so that school records are kept current. Students who transfer from one school to another are required to show proof of complete immunization at the new school.
The Howard County Health Department offers free immunization to students who lack health insurance or are underinsured. Please call 410-313-7500 to find out if your child is eligible.
Physical Education Requirement
Learn more about physical examination requirements for enrollment
The school system does not carry medical insurance for accidents that occur at school, including non-sport related injuries, such as trips and falls, physical education injuries, and recess/playground injuries. Thus, parents are encouraged to enroll students in the accident insurance program. All students are eligible and will receive written information on coverage and costs during the first week of school. However, coverage may be obtained throughout the school year. Online enrollment is also available at www.bobmccloskey.com.
Parents should also consider enrolling students if they are already insured through an outside company. The student accident insurance can help to pay for denied claims through your private insurance policies, or help to pay for rising insurance copayments and hospital costs. The student insurance plans can start as low as $26 per student, depending on your preferences.
The regular student accident insurance does not provide coverage for football. A separate accident insurance policy for football is available or parents may arrange for appropriate insurance for students participating in interscholastic football. For information, contact Risk Management at 410-313-6824.
The Maryland Children’s Health Insurance Program (MCHIP) is available for families, pregnant women, and children in need of medical insurance. Applications are available through the school health assistant or by contacting the Howard County Health Department at 410-313-7500.
All medications should be given to students at home whenever possible. However, if it is necessary for a student to receive medication while in school, the following procedure must be followed for both prescription medications and all overthe-counter medications such as Advil, Tylenol, cold and allergy preparations, and medicated lotions or creams:
- A complete written physician order must be obtained by the parent/ guardian; forms are available in the school health room and from the HCPSS health services webpage.
- The parent/guardian must give written permission to administer the medication to the student.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medication must be in a new, unopened container labeled with the student’s name. The prescription medication should be in the pharmacy container and labeled for the student. Ask the pharmacy for a second labeled bottle for school. The OTC and prescription medication orders must have the name of the student, name of the medication, date of the order, complete directions for administration in school, physician’s name, and the expiration date of the medication
- The medication must be delivered to the school by the parent/guardian, not by the student.
- A new physician’s order form must be submitted each time there is a change of dosage or time of administration and for every new school year after July 1.
- The first dose of any medication must be administered at home to observe for any adverse reaction to the medication.
- Each HCPSS school is equipped with two emergency medications in accordance with Maryland regulations. Epinephrine is stored for an emergent anaphylactic reactions for an unknown allergic reaction. Naloxone is stored for emergent response to an opioid overdose in the school building.
Home and Hospital Program
The Home and Hospital Program provides instructional continuity to Howard County public school students who are unable to attend school due to physical illness or disability, emotional crisis, substance abuse, or pregnancy. It is a short-term, itinerant instructional service mandated by state law. This service enables students to continue their academic work and prepare for their eventual return to school. For more information or to arrange for services, contact the counselor or pupil personnel worker at your child’s school.
HCPSS policy promotes health and wellness as essential contributors toward student and staff achievement and wellbeing. Policy 9090, Wellness Through Physical Activity and Nutrition, was recently revised to strengthen the system’s commitment to student and staff wellness through nutrition education, physical education, physical activity, and the selection of healthy foods.
HCPSS is among the first public school systems to adopt Institute of Medicine Nutritional Standards. Other provisions include breakfast in all schools, incorporation of “brain breaks” throughout the instructional day, and healthier options for school meals and snacks. In addition, the policy prohibits withholding of recess as a punishment, regulates the use of food for school celebrations, and governs food and beverage offerings in school vending machines.
The policy is ranked among the best in the nation by the Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. HCPSS earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture HealthierUS School Challenge Award, which recognizes outstanding practices in school nutrition programs, physical education, and physical activity.
Exercise outdoors is healthy and is strongly encouraged. It provides a break from the regular school routine, a chance to get some outside air, and an opportunity to burn off excess energy. If conditions preclude the full recess time, even a five minute break can revitalize children and prepare them for more sitting and academic learning. Children are expected to wear clothing appropriate for forecasted conditions when participating in recess or outside activities.
The decision to go out or stay in for recess is the decision of the Administrator at individual schools. On rare occasions due to extreme weather, a decision may be made at the school system level. The following factors are considered in determining if recess is to be held outside:
- Temperature and humidity
- Wind chill
- Heat index and air quality
- Age of students
- Length of time outdoors
- Adequacy of the children’s clothing
- Condition of the playground
- Falling precipitation (more than a sprinkle or mist)
- Thunder and lightning
Generally, it is assumed that students will be outside for recess when the temperature combined with the wind chill is not less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit or the heat index reading is less than 95. Children with certain health conditions may need special accommodations during extremely hot or cold weather. Parents of those children should provide medical documentation and may be consulted to determine if other arrangements are necessary. During hot weather, teachers should provide students a water break before and after recess. Additionally, any student who shows signs of heat exhaustion or overheating should be allowed a water break during recess.
To ensure student safety and quality motor learning, HCPSS physical education students must adhere to the following safety protocols:
- Wear tennis shoes or sneakers that remain tied or strapped for proper execution of skills.
- Remove ALL jewelry, dangling clothing, scarves, lanyards, necklaces etc., prior to the beginning of physical education class.*
- Remove sharp objects from pockets and hair.
- Pull long hair out of face, depending on activity.
- Wear physical education uniform as required in Grades 6-12.
- Wear play clothes in grades K-5.
The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act requires school systems to inspect their facilities for building materials containing asbestos, develop asbestos management plans, and implement appropriate response actions. The Howard County Public School System’s program for fulfilling these responsibilities is outlined in the asbestos management plan for each building. These plans contain information on the initial inspections, response actions, and post-response action activities and are located in each school’s administrative office.
A copy of each plan is also located at the Department of Education and is available for public review during regular business hours. The plans may not be taken from the building.
Schools constructed after October 1988 are not to contain asbestos-containing building material. In older schools, floor tiles often contained asbestos and a few facilities have asbestos-containing thermal insulation on piping located in crawl spaces inaccessible to building occupants.
The majority of asbestos removal is completed in conjunction with school renovation projects. Asbestos removal projects are scheduled when the school facility is closed, such as summer and spring break.
For additional information, contact the Office of the Environment at 410-313-6824.
Integrated Pest Management
The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program employed by HCPSS is a proactive monitoring-based approach to insect, rodent, and weed problems. HCPSS facilities are monitored at least once a month to determine the need for pest control and the proper identification of any pest problem. The grounds are monitored on a regular basis by staff during routine maintenance.
If it is determined that control of an identified pest is necessary, the first methods used are alternatives to pesticide applications. The exterior landscape IPM program relies on proactive practices such as proper plant selection, pruning, certified seed use, and proper mowing and irrigation techniques. The urban/ facilities program relies on non-chemical methods such as exclusion, trapping and sanitation to manage pest problems and reduce the need for pesticides. After non-chemical means are exhausted, or in the event an infestation requires an emergency treatment for the safety and/ or health of students, staff, visitors, or the educational environment, pesticide use may be approved for use as a last resort.
Whenever pesticides are used, the least-toxic effective pesticide is applied. In addition, applications are made in places and at times that limit the chance for human exposure to any pesticide material. No pesticide application will be made without prior identification of a pest and pest problem, the meeting of some threshold, and the determination that nonchemical means have been exhausted.
The HCPSS will, 24 hours prior to any scheduled pesticide application, notify parents/guardians of ALL students at all grade levels if a pesticide application is deemed necessary in the school that their child attends, as well as staff in any HCPSS facility in which they are assigned. Emergency applications of pesticides (primarily in response to large stinging insect nests near student occupied areas) may be made, and per regulation, notices will be sent home within 24 hours of the application. Parents of elementary students will receive a paper notice; middle and high school parents/guardians who sign up to receive HCPSS News will receive an email notification through the school’s front office.
Maryland state regulations require that the school system allows parents of MIDDLE or HIGH school students to request to be included on a notification list for pesticide applications at their child’s school. (PLEASE NOTE: Because the HCPSS sends out notices universally, a request to be included on the middle and high school notification list will not provide additional notification.)
To be placed on the this year’s notification list, or to receive a paper copy instead, parents of MIDDLE or HIGH SCHOOL students must send a request including the parent’s name, address, telephone number, the student’s name, the school attending, and an email address (optional but preferred) to the address below. The requests, as well as any questions concerning the IPM program should be sent to:
Safety and Regulatory Affairs Services
Howard County Public School System
10920 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21042
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for each pesticide or bait that may be used on HCPSS property are maintained centrally and in an IPM notebook located in the custodial office of each facility. The notebooks are available for review by parents and visitors by requesting access through the front office of each school.
The following list identifies the trade name, common name, and EPA registration number of all pesticide materials that are likely to be used in one or more Howard County public school buildings or on school grounds following determination of need, exhausting non-chemical options, and approval and notification as detailed above.
|Trade Name||Common Name|
|Advance Carpenter Ant Bait||Abamectin B1 (499-370)|
|Advion Ant, Cockroach Gel, Bait Arena||Indoxacarb (352-664, 746, 668, 652)|
|Drax Ant Kil Gel, and NutraBait, Drax Ant Kil PF||Boric Acid (9444-131, 131, 135)|
|Niban FG (fine granular bait), granular bait||Boric Acid (64405-2)|
|EcoExempt D||Eugenol, 2-Phenethyl proprionate (Exempt)|
|EcoExempt G||Eugenol, Thyme Oil (Exempt)|
|EcoExempt Jet||Rosemary oil, 2-Phenethyl proprionate (Exempt)|
|Maxforce roach killer gel FC||Fipronil (64248-14)|
|Maxforce Granular Insect bait, Roach killer bait gel||Hydramethylnon (6428-6,-5)|
|Advion Cockroach gel bait||Indoxacarb (352-652)|
|Prescription treatment Ultra-fine oil||Refined light paraffinic petroleum oil (862-23-499)|
|EcoEXEMPT D||2-Phenethyl Proprionate, Eugenol (Exempt)|
|EcoPCOD*X||2-Phenethyl Proprionate, Pyrethrins (67435-16)|
|Drione||Pyrethrins, Piperonil Butoxide (4816-353)|
|Gentrol Point source||S-Hydropene (2724-469)|
|Terro PCO||Sodium tetraborate Decahydrate (Borax)(149-8-64405)|
|Advance Dual Choice Bait||Sulfonamide (499-459)|
|Trade Name||Common Name|
|EcoExempt HC||2-Phenethyl Proprionate, Eugenol (Exempt)|
|Summit Bti Briquets, and Bits||Baccicllus thuringiensis (6218-47,6218-73)|
|Dipel DF||Bacillus thuringiensis (58998-7)|
|Sedge Hammer||Halsofuron-methyl (81880-1-10163)|
|Hunter 75||Imidachloprid (423-1318)|
|Power Zone||MCPA, dicamba, carfentrazone-ethyl, and MCPP (2217-834)|
|MSMA 6 Plus||MSMA (199713-42)|
|Barricade 4I||Prodiamine (100-1139)|
|Drive 75 DF||Quinclorac (7969-130)|
|Crabgrass preventer with Tupersan||Siduron (9198-65)|
|Confirm T/O||Tebufenozide (707-238)|
NOTE: For an exterior application of a pesticide, Maryland State regulations allow a postponement no longer than 14 days after notice is sent home due to weather conditions or other extenuating circumstances. If postponed longer than that, a written notice will be re-issued with the new date of application. (Please note: per MD state law, this list may be amended with pesticides registered for use with the State Chemists Office, as needed and approved by the Safety and IPM coordinators of the HCPSS.)
Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
The law requires any Howard County Public School System employee or service provider to immediately report suspected cases of physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect of a student. Child abuse is any physical or mental injury of a child by anyone who has permanent or temporary care, custody or responsibility for a child, which harms the child’s health or welfare, or puts the child at substantial risk of being harmed. A written report must be submitted within 48 hours of the initial suspicion.
It is the responsibility of the principal to make certain that the oral report is made immediately to the proper authorities. The principal permits the Department of Social Services (DSS) Protective Service Workers and the Howard County Police Department to interview the child on school premises in connection with an investigation of a case involving suspected child abuse, sexual abuse, mental injury or neglect, whether the child is the alleged victim or witness, and whether or not the child has been previously interviewed by the police or Social Services.
The principal shall determine, after consultation with the individual from the Howard County Department of Social Services (HCDSS) or the Howard County Department of Police (HCDP), whether a school official should be present during questioning. The HCPSS/HCDSS “Procedures Concerning Abuse Investigations During School Hours” shall be followed.
The principal, in consultation with the HCDSS or the HCDP, decides if parents should be notified of a report or an interview, who will notify them, and when they will be notified.
To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call Howard County’s Child Protective Services at 410-872-4203. To report after hours (after 4:30 pm., weekends, holidays), call Police Communications at 410-313-2929. Fax Reports: 410-313-2633
Confidentiality of Student Records
Student records are accumulated and maintained by teachers and other school personnel in accordance with the Public School Laws of Maryland and the rules and regulations of the Maryland State Board of Education.
Parents have the right to inspect and review all official school records of their child. Requests by parents for access to their child’s records will be granted within a reasonable time and at the mutual convenience of the parent and school principal. This right is also extended to any student 18 years of age or older.
Each school will furnish parents an opportunity to request amendment of the records and/or challenge the content of their child’s school records should they believe the records are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the program or other rights of their child.
No school will release records of students without written consent of their parents to any individual, agency, or organization except as permitted within the law.
A noncustodial parent has the same rights as a custodial parent unless the custodial parent has presented evidence of a binding, legal instrument (such as a court order governing divorce, separation, or custody) which specifically states that the noncustodial parent not be informed of or have access to the educational records of the student. If not specifically stated, both parents shall be considered to have this right. Except as stated above, noncustodial parents have the right, upon request, to receive school-related information and to be informed of their child’s educational progress, including the right to receive report cards and to attend parent-teacher conferences.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Public Law 93-380) authorizes local school systems to disclose certain information from the educational records of a student that is designated as directory information. This designation includes basic biographical information only. It does not include student grades, test results, or any part of a student’s academic or discipline records. Based on categories designated by the federal government, the Howard County Public School System’s definition of directory information includes the following student data:
- Telephone listing
- Date and place of birth
- Grade level
- Major field of study
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
- Enrollment Status and Dates of attendance
- Degrees and awards received
- Most recent previous educational agency or institution attended.
In addition, Maryland law permits the release of a student’s home address and phone number to the following persons or organizations ONLY:
- An organization of parents, teachers, students, or former students, or any combination of those groups, of the school (e.g. PTA/PTSA, booster club, class reunion committee, etc.);
- An organization or force of the military (e.g. military recruiters, etc.);
- A representative of a community college in the state; or
- A representative of the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
Parents/guardians have the right to restrict the school system from releasing any category of directory information about their child. At the beginning of each school year, parents/guardians should indicate their wishes by filling out the Data Confidentiality section on the Family File. A print version, Emergency Procedure and Confidential Student Information Card, may be obtained from the school office. If the form is not filled out, the school system assumes no restriction is placed on the release of directory information related to the child.
Research for Instructional Improvement
Policy 3030 establishes guidelines for approving, conducting, and reporting research in the school system. Research conducted must be of high quality, safeguard the privacy of individuals, further the goals of the school system, and minimize interruptions to the instructional program.
The policy encourages teachers to refine teaching techniques as part of improving educational programs. Studies that elicit home, family, or personal information, or that require the acting out of feelings or emotions toward others are generally not approved. If approved, however, these studies require parental consent.
A survey by staff members for instructional purposes that does not include home or family information does not require parental permission. Policy 3030 mandates that any research involving students requires informed consent from the parent/guardian and the assent of the student.
For further information, please contact Mary Klyap at 410‑313‑6978.