Memo To:   Dr. Kriner Cash, Superintendent, BPS

From:         Philip Rumore, President, BTF

Date:          April 20, 2020


Subject:     No Response to Teacher Inquires

Although we have requested of you written responses to very important issues and concerns raised by teachers, for most, if not all, there has been no written response.


Privacy Concerns

Teachers are extremely concerned about using platforms, procedures, teaching materials, etc. that are not HIPPA and FERPA compliant. Please see March 30, 2020; April 6, 2020; and April 7, 2020 correspondence to you.


Neither all teachers, nor the BTF have, as requested, received a written official delineation from the District (not a verbal or written opinion from one administrator) listing the only platforms, teaching materials, procedures (e.g. for contacting and communicating with parents and students) that are HIPPA and FERPA compliant.


For example, at a speech therapist teleconference with their supervisor they were instructed that the District recommends using the Google Voice app for interactions with parents/students.


We have been informed that the regular Google Voice app is not FERPA/HIPPA compliant; however, one that is compliant will cost for usage, i.e. it is not free.


School 99 teachers have been advised to use “Parent –Teacher Correspondence” tab.


Dangerous and FERPA Non-Compliant Taping and Sharing of Pictures of Students

While it may seem like an excellent way of motivating and sharing, the taping of and taking pictures of students and others in their homes opens the District and teachers to serious legal consequences.


A video or picture placed on the internet can be edited, reposted and circulated in the internet by anyone, causing great harm to the student or students. You can, I am sure, contemplate what some evil people can do with said videos or pictures posted on the internet.


Indeed, it may also be considered personally identifiable information (PII).


Under FERPA; “The term “PII” refers to a student’s name or identification number, as well as other information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity either directly through linkages with other information. 34 C.F.R. § 99.3, “Personally identifiable information.”


At a minimum written parental consent should be obtained for each such “event”.


Parental Consent

There has been no clear written guidance to teachers and the BTF delineating when parental consent is required, when it is not, the document that must be used to secure parental consent, copies of signed parental consent documents for the teachers working with said students and the written procedures for teachers working with and evaluating special education students (March 30, 2020).


The law and regulations (FERPA) are clear. Prior written consent of a parent is required before information (PII) can be released (see privacy above).


For special education conferences, it is also clear that if the meeting can not take place in person, there must be agreement between the District and parent.


“Recommended Guidelines” Hours for Students Instruction (April 7, 2020 Correspondence to Superintendent)

Teachers across the District continue to inquire about the hours of instruction that the principal at City Honors delineated in a correspondence to teachers, The document has been distributed to teachers across the District.


It states, 10th -12th grade students, 5-7 hours/day. Kindergarten-2nd grade students, 1.5-2 hours/day.


The District still has not clarified for teachers or the BTF whether this is correct or incorrect. Is this District policy or District guidelines (April 7, 2020)?


Teaching Materials/Equipment

Some teachers have home “computers” that are obsolete, e.g. have no camera, old technology.


How do they obtain the equipment they need? Please advise all teachers of the process to request supplies/equipment (March 30, 2020, April 7, 2020).


Parent Questionnaire

Neither the teachers at school 45 nor the BTF has, as requested, received written approval from the District, not an administrator, the questionnaire, procedures and script asking for a parents’ personal information via telephone, that teachers are be asked to follow, has been approved and is compliant with FERPA/HIPPA regulations.


While the questionnaire is important, as it will also be used at other schools, all concerned need to ensure that we have written authorization to proceed.


Teacher Suggestions

Teachers have suggestions to improve instruction. Please advise teachers of whom they can submit suggestions to to improve instruction.


As we progress through these uncharted and difficult times, we look forward to working with you.


We bring these important issues/concerns to you to help guide us on a path that is safe, despite possible obstacles and one that continues to move us toward our goal – the best education possible for our students.


Finally, I wanted to commend you and the District on your tremendous efforts to work with all concerned to ensure that our students, parents, staff and community receive critical support.


If we can help, just ask.