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The Aegis
Harford County

Harford County school board holds first meeting with new members, hears advice during public comment section

On Monday evening, the Board of Education of Harford County held its first meeting with its new members.

The new board, which includes Carol Mueller, Wade Sewell, Joyce Herold, Roy Philips, Diane Alvarez, Melissa Hahn, Carol Bruce and Denise Perry, had a light agenda for the evening. The board nominated and elected Mueller and Sewell as president and vice president of the board as its first order of business.

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Then, the board listened to eight people including former board member David Bauer during the public comment section. Bauer suggested the board be mindful that public comments made at hearings aren’t necessarily representative of the community.

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“Please remember the comments we receive are not a survey of the community,” Bauer said. “They are self-selected, and opposition to the proposal is overrepresented.”

Along with Bauer, Suzie Scott, chairman of the Harford County chapter of the Mom’s for Liberty, voiced her expectations for the new board.

“More than ever, Harford County needs a board that puts identity politics aside to focus on improving academic excellence for all students,” Scott said. “You have my admiration and respect as you settle into this role. However, you will have to hit the ground running as you step into this leadership role. You will have to tackle many diverse issues that invite strong opinions and passionate beliefs.”

Following the public comment section, the board had only one agenda item to cover – the schools video surveillance policy that covers the use of cameras on school grounds and school buses as a tool for school safety. The policy, which the board passed by unanimous vote, updates the previous policy to adapt to the new laws and regulations for video surveillance, said Kimberly Neal, Harford County Public Schools’ general counsel.

The original policy was adopted in November 2004. Since then, the use of video surveillance has increased, and there have been changes to laws and regulations regarding the retention and disclosure of video records, according to agenda documents.

The new policy was discussed on Oct. 24, and Neal explained the policy addresses questions regarding the length of time videos are required to be preserved, when videos may be shared with parents or other third parties in various situations, the protection of personally identifiable information included in a video, when it is necessary for a video to be retained or shared and more.

This policy was posted for public comment for a 30-day period. Two comments were received, and they were both in favor of the revisions as posted, Neal said.

The next board meeting will be held on Dec.19.


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