Massachusetts School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Substance Use

Discipline Compendium

Massachusetts School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Substance Use

Category: Discipline Addressing Specific Code of Conduct Violations
Subcategory: Substance Use
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 description of the following instructional procedures and programs with the department every year:

(i) drug, tobacco and alcohol abuse programs.

ALM GL ch. 71, § 2A. Use of tobacco products within school buildings or facilities or on school grounds.

No person shall use a tobacco product, as defined in section 6 of chapter 270, within the school buildings or facilities or on the grounds or school buses of a public or private primary or secondary school or at a school-sponsored event.

Each school committee or board of trustees shall establish a policy regarding violations of this section. The policy may include, but shall not be limited to, mandatory education classes on the hazards of using tobacco products.

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

The superintendent of every school district shall publish the district's policies pertaining to the conduct of teachers and students. Said policies shall prohibit the use of any tobacco products within the school buildings, the school facilities or on the school grounds or on school buses by any individual, including school personnel. Said policies shall further restrict operators of school buses and personal motor vehicles, including students, faculty, staff and visitors, from idling such vehicles on school grounds, consistent with section 16B of chapter 90 and regulations adopted pursuant thereto and by the department. The policies shall also prohibit bullying as defined in section 37O and shall include the student-related sections of the bullying prevention and intervention plan required by said section 37O. Copies of these policies shall be provided to any person upon request and without cost by the principal of every school within the district. [...]

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

(a) Any student who is found on school premises or at school-sponsored or school-related events, including athletic games, in possession of a dangerous weapon, including, but not limited to, a gun or a knife; or a controlled substance as defined in chapter ninety-four C, including, but not limited to, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, may be subject to expulsion from the school or school district by the principal.

ALM GL ch. 71, § 96. Substance use prevention and abuse education policies for public schools.

Each public school shall have a policy regarding substance use prevention and the education of its students about the dangers of substance abuse. The school shall notify the parents or guardians of all students attending the school of the policy and shall post the policy on the school's website. The policy, and any standards and rules enforcing the policy, shall be prescribed by the school committee in conjunction with the superintendent or the board of trustees of a charter school.

The department of elementary and secondary education, in consultation with the department of public health, shall provide guidance and recommendations to assist schools with developing and implementing effective substance use prevention and abuse education policies and shall make such guidance and recommendations publicly available on the department's website. Guidance and recommendations may include educating parents or guardians on recognizing warning signs of substance abuse and providing available resources. Guidance and recommendations shall be reviewed and regularly updated to reflect applicable research and best practices.

Each school district and charter school shall file its substance use prevention and abuse education policies with the department of elementary and secondary education in a manner and form prescribed by the department.

ALM GL ch. 71, § 97. Verbal screening tool for substance abuse disorders.

(a) Subject to appropriation, each city, town, regional school district, charter school or vocational school district shall utilize a verbal screening tool to screen pupils for substance use disorders. Screenings shall occur on an annual basis and occur at 2 different grade levels as recommended by the department of elementary and secondary education, in consultation with the department of public health. Parents or guardians of a pupil to be screened pursuant to this section shall be notified prior to the start of the school year. Verbal screening tools shall be approved by the department of elementary and secondary education, in conjunction with the department of public health. De-identified screening results shall be reported to the department of public health, in a manner to be determined by the department of public health, not later than 90 days after completion of the screening.

(b) A pupil or the pupil's parent or guardian may opt out of the screening by written notification at any time prior to or during the screening. A city, town, regional school district, charter school or vocational school district utilizing a verbal screening tool shall comply with the department of elementary and secondary education's regulations relative to consent.

(c) Any statement, response or disclosure made by a pupil during a verbal substance use disorder screening shall be considered confidential information and shall not be disclosed by a person receiving the statement, response or disclosure to any other person without the prior written consent of the pupil, parent or guardian, except in cases of immediate medical emergency or a disclosure is otherwise required by state law; provided, however, that the screening required under this section shall be implemented in accordance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to student confidentiality, including rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to section 34D. Such consent shall be documented on a form approved by the department of public health and shall not be subject to discovery or subpoena in any civil, criminal, legislative or administrative proceeding. No record of any statement, response or disclosure shall be made in any form, written, electronic or otherwise, that includes information identifying the pupil.

(d) The department of elementary and secondary education shall notify each school district in writing of the requirement to screen students for substance use disorders pursuant to this section. School districts with alternative substance use screening policies may, on a form provided by the department, opt out of the required verbal screening tool. The form shall be signed by the school superintendent and provide a detailed description of the alternative substance use program the district has implemented and the reasons why the required verbal screening tool is not appropriate for the district.

(e) No person shall have a cause of action for loss or damage caused by an act or omission resulting from the implementation of this section.

ALM GL ch. 74, § 58. Use of tobacco products within school buildings or facilities or on school grounds.

No person shall use a tobacco product, as defined in section 6 of chapter 270, within the school buildings or facilities or on the grounds or school buses of a public or private vocational school or at a vocational school-sponsored event.

Each school committee or board of trustees shall establish a policy regarding violations of this section. The policy may include, but shall not be limited to, mandatory education classes on the hazards of using tobacco products.

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:

(a) at 603 CMR 53.03 through 53.11, the minimum procedural requirements applicable to the suspension of a student for a disciplinary offense other than:

2. possession of a controlled substance.

603 CMR 53.02. Definitions.

Disciplinary Offense means any alleged or determined disciplinary infraction by a student, except for:

(b) possession of a controlled substance; […]

Disciplinary Offense under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37 H or 37H 1/2 means one or more of the following alleged or determined disciplinary infractions:

(b) possession of a controlled substance; [...]

Expulsion means the removal of a student from the school premises, regular classroom activities, and school activities for more than 90 school days, indefinitely, or permanently, as permitted under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H or 37H 1/2 for:

(b) possession of a controlled substance.

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