MA Considers School Discipline Reform
In response to organizing by groups like MA ACLU and Massachusetts Advocates for Children and the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition, policymakers in Massachusetts are considering steps to reform school discipline policies across the state. Of particular concern to advocates is curbing harsh and descriminatory discipline policies that push students out of the classroom and increase the likelihood they will end up in the criminal justice system.
House Bill 4131, currently still in the House Ways & Means Committee, would prohibit public schools from permanently expelling students for non-serious offenses and require schools to provide alternative education services to students kept out of the classroom for more than 10 consecutive school days. The proposed legislation would also give school administrators more discretion in assigning punishments and would require school districts to report all suspensions and expulsions to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
MA Advocates for Children has pulled together a helpful issue page with a history of the legislation, resources, press coverage and committee testimony. You can also download their fact sheet on school discipline issues in MA.
You can also check out the OTL School Discipline toolkit here.