Massachusetts School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Data Collection, Review, and Reporting of Discipline Policies and Actions

Discipline Compendium

Massachusetts School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Data Collection, Review, and Reporting of Discipline Policies and Actions

Category: Monitoring and Accountability
Subcategory: Data Collection, Review, and Reporting of Discipline Policies and Actions
State: Massachusetts

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LAWS

ALM GL ch. 69, § 1I. Performance of public-school districts and individual public schools; evaluation system; assessment instruments; report.

Each school district shall file a report with the department every year by a date and in a format determined by the board. Said report shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(a) an outline of the curriculum and graduation requirements of the district;

(b) pupil/teacher ratios and class size policy and practice;

(c) teacher and administrator evaluation procedures;

(d) statistics, policies, and procedures relative to truancy and dropouts;

(e) statistics, policies, and procedures relative to expulsions and in-school and out-of-school suspensions;

(f) percent of school-age children attending public schools;

(g) racial composition of teaching and administrative staff;

(h) enrollment and average daily attendance;

(i) the annual budgets and expenditures for both the district and the individual schools in the district.

ALM GL ch. 69, § 1P. Safe and supportive schools framework.

School action plans shall be designed to address the areas of need identified through the use of the self-assessment tool described in subsection (d) and shall include the following: (i) strategies and initiatives for addressing the areas of need identified by the assessment; (ii) a timeline for implementing the strategies and initiatives; (iii) outcome goals and indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of the strategies and initiatives set forth in the plan, which may include attendance and graduation rates, bullying incidences, number of student suspensions, expulsions and office referrals, truancy and tardiness rates, time spent on learning and other measures of school success; and (iv) a process and schedule for reviewing the plan annually and updating it at least once every 3 years. School action plans shall be published on the school district's website.

ALM GL ch. 71, § 37H. Policies relative to conduct of teachers or students; student handbooks.

Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, all student handbooks shall contain the following provisions:

(f) Districts shall report to the department of elementary and secondary education the specific reasons for all suspensions and expulsions, regardless of duration or type, in a manner and form established by the commissioner. The department of elementary and secondary education shall use its existing data collection tools to obtain this information from districts and shall modify those tools, as necessary, to obtain the information. On an annual basis, the department of elementary and secondary education shall make district level de-identified data and analysis, including the total number of days each student is excluded during the school year, available to the public online in a machine readable format. This report shall include district level data disaggregated by student status and categories established by the commissioner.

ALM GL ch. 71, § 37O. School bullying prohibited; bullying prevention and intervention plans; reporting of bullying incident data.

(d)(2) Each plan shall include, but not be limited to: (i) descriptions of and statements prohibiting bullying, cyber-bullying and retaliation, including procedures for collecting, maintaining and reporting bullying incident data required under subsection (k). [...]

(k) Each school district, charter school, approved private day or residential school and collaborative school shall annually report bullying incident data to the department. The data shall include, but not be limited to: (i) the number of reported allegations of bullying or retaliation; (ii) the number and nature of substantiated incidents of bullying or retaliation; (iii) the number of students disciplined for engaging in bullying or retaliation; and (iv) any other information required by the department. Said incident data shall be reported in the form and manner established by the department, in consultation with the attorney general; provided, that the department shall minimize the costs and resources needed to comply with said reporting requirements; and provided further, that the department may use existing data collection and reporting mechanisms to collect the information from school districts. The department shall analyze the bullying incident data and shall publish an annual report containing aggregate statewide information on the frequency and nature of bullying in schools. The department shall file the annual report with the attorney general and with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives who shall forward the same to the chairs of the joint committee on education, the joint committee on the judiciary and the house and senate committees on ways and means. [...]

The school official identified in the plan as responsible for receiving reports of bullying or retaliation shall verify the completion of the student surveys. All completed surveys shall be forwarded to the department. The department shall use the survey results to help assess the effectiveness of bullying prevention curricula and instruction developed and administered under subsection (c). The department shall collect and analyze the student survey data in order to: compare the survey results with the bullying incident data reported under subsection (k); identify long-term trends and areas of improvement; and monitor bullying prevention efforts in schools over time. The department shall make its findings available to the school official.

ALM GL ch. 71, § 37P. School resource officers.

The department of elementary and secondary education shall collect and publish disaggregated data regarding school-based arrests, citations and court referrals of students to the department and shall make such report available for public review.

REGULATIONS

603 CMR 53.01. Purpose and scope.

(2) 603 CMR 53.00 sets forth, for all public preschool, elementary, and secondary schools and programs in Massachusetts, including charter and virtual schools:

(c) requirements pertaining to school discipline data reporting and analysis.

603 CMR 53.14. Student suspension and expulsion data collection and reporting.

(1) Every school district, charter school, and virtual school shall collect and annually report data to the Department regarding in-school suspensions, short- and long-term suspensions, expulsions, emergency removals under 603 CMR 53.07, access to education services under 603 CMR 53.13, and such other information as may be required by the Department. Such data shall be reported in a manner and form directed by the Department.

(2) The principal of each school shall periodically review discipline data by selected student populations, including but not limited to race and ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, English language learner status, and student with a disability status. In reviewing the data, the principal shall assess the extent of in-school suspensions, short- and long-term suspensions, expulsions, and emergency removals under 603 CMR 53.07, and the impact of such disciplinary action on selected student populations. The principal shall further determine whether it is necessary or appropriate to modify disciplinary practices due to over-reliance on expulsion, or in-school school or out-of-school suspension, or emergency removals, or the impact of such suspensions, removals, and expulsions on selected student populations compared with other students.

(3) In the fall of each year, the Department shall publish an analysis and report of student discipline data disaggregated by district and school, and by selected student populations, included but not limited to race and ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, English language learner status, and student with a disability status. The data shall be reported in a manner that protects the identity of each student and shall be made available to the public online in a machine readable format.

(4) The Department shall annually determine the schools with the highest percentage of students expelled or placed on long-term suspension for more than ten cumulative days in a school year. After review of the discipline data described in 603 CMR 53.14(3) and other relevant school and district information, including but not limited to student demographics, student performance, promotion, attendance, attrition, graduation, and dropout rates, the Commissioner shall identify schools that need assistance to reduce over-reliance on long-term suspension or expulsion as a consequence for student misconduct. The Department shall identify models that such schools may use to incorporate intermediate steps before long-term suspension and expulsion and to foster positive school climate.

Through use of statistical analysis, the Commissioner shall identify schools and districts with data that reflect significant disparities in the rate of suspension and expulsion by race and ethnicity, or disability. Such schools and districts shall develop and implement a plan approved by the Department to address such significant disparities.

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