Massachusetts School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Referrals to Law Enforcement

Discipline Compendium

Massachusetts School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Referrals to Law Enforcement

Category: Partnerships between Schools and Law Enforcement
Subcategory: Referrals to Law Enforcement
State: Massachusetts

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LAWS

ALM GL ch. 71, § 37L. Notification to school personnel of reporting requirements for child abuse and neglect and fires; reports of students possessing or using dangerous weapons on school premises; transferred students’ school records.

In addition, any school department personnel shall report in writing to their immediate supervisor an incident involving a student's possession or use of a dangerous weapon on school premises at any time.

Supervisors who receive such a weapon report shall file it with the superintendent of said school, who shall file copies of said weapon report with the local chief of police, the department of children and families, the office of student services or its equivalent in any school district, and the local school committee. Said superintendent, police chief, and representative from the department of children and families, together with a representative from the office of student services or its equivalent, shall arrange an assessment of the student involved in said weapon report. Said student shall be referred to a counseling program; provided, however, that said counseling shall be in accordance with acceptable standards as set forth by the board of education. Upon completion of a counseling session, a follow-up assessment shall be made of said student by those involved in the initial assessment.

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

(g) A member of a school staff, including, but not limited to, an educator, administrator, school nurse, cafeteria worker, custodian, bus driver, athletic coach, advisor to an extracurricular activity or paraprofessional, shall immediately report any instance of bullying or retaliation the staff member has witnessed or become aware of to the principal or to the school official identified in the plan as responsible for receiving such reports or both. Upon receipt of such a report, the school principal or a designee shall promptly conduct an investigation. If the school principal or a designee determines that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the school principal or designee shall (i) notify the local law enforcement agency if the school principal or designee believes that criminal charges may be pursued against a perpetrator; (ii) take appropriate disciplinary action; (iii) notify the parents or guardians of a perpetrator; (iv) notify the parents or guardians of the victim, and to the extent consistent with state and federal law, notify them of the action taken to prevent any further acts of bullying or retaliation; and (v) inform the parents or guardians of the victim about the department's problem resolution system and the process for seeking assistance or filing a claim through the problem resolution system. [...]

(h) If an incident of bullying or retaliation involves students from more than one school district, charter school, non-public school, approved private day or residential school or collaborative school, the school district or school first informed of the bullying or retaliation shall, consistent with state and federal law, promptly notify the appropriate administrator of the other school district or school so that both may take appropriate action. If an incident of bullying or retaliation occurs on school grounds and involves a former student under the age of 21 who is no longer enrolled in a local school district, charter school, non-public school, approved private day or residential school or collaborative school, the school district or school informed of the bullying or retaliation shall contact law enforcement consistent with the provisions of clause (viii) of the second paragraph of subsection (d).

ALM GL ch. 269, § 18. Failure to report hazing.

Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in section seventeen and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.

REGULATIONS

603 CMR 46.03. Use of restraint.

(4) Referral to Law Enforcement or Other State Agencies. Nothing in 603 CMR 46.00 prohibits:

(a) The right of any individual to report to appropriate authorities a crime committed by a student or other individual;

(b) Law enforcement, judicial authorities or school security personnel from exercising their responsibilities, including the physical detainment of a student or other person alleged to have committed a crime or posing a security risk; or

(c) The exercise of an individual's responsibilities as a mandated reporter pursuant to M.G.L. c. 119, § 51A. 603 CMR 46.00 shall not be used to deter any individual from reporting neglect or abuse to the appropriate state agency.

603 CMR 49.01. Scope and purpose.

603 CMR 49.00 governs the requirements related to the duty of the principal or leader of a public school, approved private day or residential school, collaborative school, or charter school to notify the parents or guardians of a target and an aggressor (when the aggressor is a student) when there is an incident of bullying or retaliation, and to notify the local law enforcement agency when criminal charges may be pursued against the aggressor. 603 CMR 49.00 also addresses confidentiality of student record information related to notification of bullying and retaliation.

603 CMR 49.03. Bullying and retaliation prohibited.

(3) Each school district and school shall have procedures for receiving reports of bullying or retaliation; promptly responding to and investigating such reports, and determining whether bullying or retaliation has occurred; responding to incidents of bullying or retaliation; and reporting to parents and law enforcement as set forth in 603 CMR 49.04 and 49.05.

603 CMR 49.05. Notice to law enforcement agency.

(1) Before the first day of each school year, the superintendent or designee of a school district and the school leader or designee of an approved private day or residential school, collaborative school, or charter school shall communicate with the chief of police or designee of the local police department about the implementation of 603 CMR 49.05. Such communication may include agreeing on a method for notification, a process for informal communication, updates of prior written agreements, or any other subject appropriate to the implementation of 603 CMR 49.05.

(2) At any point after receipt of a report of bullying or retaliation, including after an investigation, the principal shall notify the local law enforcement agency if the principal has a reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the aggressor. Notice shall be consistent with the requirements of 603 CMR 49.00 and established agreements with the local law enforcement agency. The principal shall document the reasons for his or her decision to notify law enforcement. Nothing in 603 CMR 49.05 shall be interpreted to require reporting to a law enforcement agency in situations in which bullying and retaliation can be handled appropriately within the school district or school.

(a) In making the determination whether notification to law enforcement is appropriate, the principal may consult with the school resource officer and any other individuals the principal deems appropriate.

(b) Nothing in 603 CMR 49.05 shall prevent the principal from taking appropriate disciplinary or other action pursuant to school district or school policy and state law, provided that disciplinary actions balance the need for accountability with the need to teach appropriate behavior.

(c) The principal shall respond to the incident as set forth in relevant provisions of the local plan consistent with 603 CMR 49.05.

(3) If an incident of bullying or retaliation occurs on school grounds and involves a former student under the age of 21 who is no longer enrolled in the school district or school, the principal of the school informed of the bullying or retaliation shall notify the local law enforcement agency if the principal has a reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the aggressor.

(4) Each school district and school shall include the requirements and procedures for communicating with the local law enforcement agency in the local plan.

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