Chapter 222 Discipline Code and Student Due Process

 

RULES OF BEHAVIOR AND DISCIPLINE OF STUDENTS

For the complete Code of Conduct and Procedures, please view the entire Student Handbook link on this webpage.

The Melrose Public Schools Code of Conduct serves to support our goals and our mission to provide a safe and educationally stimulating environment for all students.  Students should come to school ready to learn with a clear understanding of what is acceptable behavior in a school setting.  The common threads of our rules are respect of all people (students, teachers, staff, visitors, guests, etc.) and responsibility for one’s actions. Adolescents sometimes make mistakes based on poor judgment, peer pressure, or distractions in their personal lives.  Minor infractions are handled by classroom teachers.  A teacher will often make a verbal reprimand, contact parents, and/or assign a teacher detention.  Teachers will refer more serious infractions or persistent infractions to an administrator.

The principal or assistant principal assigns disciplinary consequences for infractions which occur outside the class setting, chronic problems in the classroom or misbehavior which is a serious breach of our code, especially student misbehavior involving safety issues or threats.  Assigning office detention and/or suspension is the responsibility of the principal or the assistant principal.  Expulsion procedures are the responsibility of the  principal, superintendent, and/or School Committee in accordance with Massachusetts General Law.

DISCIPLINARY DUE PROCESS 

Chapter 222 of the Acts of 2012; 603 CMR 53.00

Nothing in 603 CMR 53.00 shall prevent a school administrator from conducting an investigation, including student interviews, of a school-related disciplinary incident.

This is the first of a series of communications from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) regarding An Act Relative to Student Access to Educational Services and Exclusion from School, passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick on August 6, 2012 as Chapter 222 of the Acts of 2012. For the full text of the new law, please see: http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2012/Chapter222. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide highlights of the law, the most significant of which are the provisions ensuring that students who are suspended or expelled from school continue to have an opportunity to make academic progress through educational services provided by their district or charter school.The sections of the law affecting districts and charter schools do not take effect until July 1, 2014. We are providing this information to assist you in your initial planning.

  1. Changes Affecting Schools and Students – The new law adds procedural and reporting requirements for student suspensions and expulsions. It also makes substantive changes, most notably, to require school districts and charter schools to ensure that students who have been excluded from school for disciplinary reasons have the opportunity to make academic progress during the period of their exclusion. For many years, the federal special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, has required that schools continue to provide educational services to special education students who are lawfully removed from their current educational placement for disciplinary reasons. See, 20 USC § 1415(k).Here is an overview of the key provisions affecting schools and students.
    1. Discipline procedures: suspensions and expulsions – The new law:
      • Amends G.L. c. 71 by adding a new section 37H¾ that addresses all suspensions and expulsions for reasons other than those covered in section 37H (dangerous weapons, controlled substances, and assaults on education staff) and section 37H ½ (felony complaint);
      • Under section 37H¾, directs school decision makers at student disciplinary meetings or hearings to: 1) exercise discretion in deciding consequences for the student; 2) consider ways to reengage the student in the learning process; and 3) avoid using expulsion as a consequence until other remedies and consequences have been tried;
      • Under section 37H¾, requires that districts provide 1) written notice to the student and parent or guardian of the reasons for suspension or expulsion in English and the primary language spoken in the home of the student, and 2) the opportunity for the student to meet with the principal or headmaster to discuss the reasons for suspension or expulsion, before the suspension or expulsion takes effect. The principal or headmaster must make reasonable efforts to include the parent or guardian in the meeting with the student.
      • Defines the process that school officials must follow under section 37H¾ if the decision is made after the meeting to suspend or expel the student, including notice of the student’s appeal rights, if applicable, and the appeal process;
      • Limits the length of suspensions or expulsions under section 37H¾ to 90 school days;
      • Requires the principal or headmaster to notify the superintendent in writing of the out-of-school suspension of a student enrolled in kindergarten through grade 3, the alleged misconduct, and the reasons for out-of-school suspension, before the suspension takes effect;
    2. Opportunity for students to make academic progress while suspended or expelled – The new law:
      • Amends sections 37H and 37H½ to require districts and charter schools to continue to provide educational services to any student suspended or expelled under these sections;
      • Requires principals and headmasters to create a “school-wide education service plan” for all students who are suspended or expelled for more than 10 consecutive school days, whether in or out of school, so that students have an opportunity to make academic progress. Education service plans may include, but are not limited to, tutoring, alternative placement, Saturday school, and online or distance learning;
      • States that students who are suspended from school for 10 or fewer consecutive school days, whether in or out of school, must be provided an opportunity to make academic progress during the period of suspension, to make up assignments, and earn credits missed;
      • Establishes that if a student moves to another district during a period of suspension or expulsion, the new district must either admit the student or provide educational services to the student during the period of suspension or exclusion;
      • Provides for partial reimbursement under G.L. c 71B, § 5A, the circuit breaker provision, for the instructional costs of providing alternative educational services to suspended and expelled students. First payments will be made in fiscal year 2016, partially reimbursing eligible costs incurred in the 2014-15 school year.
    3. Data reporting – Chapter 222 of the Acts of 2012 amends section 37H of chapter 71 to require districts and charter schools to report to the Department “the specific reasons for all suspensions and expulsions, regardless of duration or type,” in the manner directed by the Commissioner. Each year the Department is required to publish the district level data (without identifying students) and an analysis dis-aggregated by student status and categories to be established.
    4. Pupil absence notification programG.L. c. 76 has been amended to include section 1B, which requires each school committee to establish a pupil absence notification program in each of its schools. Under this provision, the program must ensure that the school notifies a parent or guardian if the student was absent and the parent has not notified the school of the absence within 3 days of the absence.In addition, the school committee must have a policy of notifying the parent or guardian of a student who has:
      • missed 2 or more periods unexcused over at least 5 days in a school year, or
      • missed 5 or more school days unexcused in a school year.

      Under the policy, the principal, headmaster, or designee must make reasonable efforts to meet with the parent or guardian of a student who has 5 or more unexcused absences to develop an action plan for student attendance as prescribed in the statute.

      The statutory language directing the “school committee of each city, town or regional school district” to establish a pupil absence notification program limits the requirement to school committees and the public schools within their jurisdiction. The language does not place the same obligation on charter schools, which are governed by a board of trustees. It is the only new requirement discussed in Section I of this memorandum that applies only to districts and not charter schools. Even though the provision does not specifically apply to charter schools, we encourage charter schools to adopt some kind of pupil absence notification program as a matter of good educational practice.

    5. Students who permanently leave school – The new law amends G.L. c. 76, § 1, which sets forth the process for establishing that a student has permanently left school. As amended, the statute requires that the administrator of the school last attended by the student:
      • Send notice within a prescribed timeline from the student’s tenth consecutive absence to the student and parent or guardian in both the primary language of the home, to the extent practicable, and English, which contains information prescribed in the statute. Among other things, the notice must initially offer at least 2 dates and times for an exit interview.
      • Convene an exit interview which may proceed without the parent or guardian if the superintendent or designee has made a good faith effort to include the parent or guardian.
      • Include a team of school personnel in the exit interview such as the principal, guidance counselor, teachers and other relevant school staff, and give the student information about the benefits of earning a high school diploma, the detrimental effects of leaving school, and alternative education programs and services available to the student.
  2. Changes Affecting the Department Consistent with the new law, the Department will be undertaking a number of activities leading up to the July 1, 2014 implementation of the provisions described above. The Department will:
    • File a report with the Legislature by November 30, 2013 on the costs associated with implementation of Chapter 222 of the Acts of 2012, and annually thereafter, on the cost of providing reimbursement for alternative educational services not otherwise reimbursed under G.L. c. 71B, §5;
    • Prepare a model protocol for conducting exit interviews with students who intend to drop out of school; and create and maintain a list of research and other information about the consequences of dropping out, the benefits of obtaining a high school diploma, and a list of alternative education services, that schools can provide to the student at the exit interview;
    • Identify models that incorporate intermediary steps before suspension and exclusion that districts with significant numbers of suspensions and exclusion can adopt;
    • Adopt regulations that address:
      • o a principal’s duties under new Section 37H ¾ and procedures for including parents in student exclusion meetings, hearings or interviews; and
      • o investigation of districts that report a significant number of suspensions and expulsions.
    • Define data reporting requirements regarding suspensions and expulsions for districts and charter schools and issue district level data reports and analyses. Starting with data collected from the 2014-2015 school year, and annually thereafter, the Department also will submit an annual report to the chairs of the Joint Committee on Education on the costs of reimbursement for instructional costs associated with alternative education services.

 

STUDENT DUE PROCESS PROCEDURES

Discipline Definitions

Expulsion: the removal of a student from the school premises, regular classroom activities, and school activities for more than ninety (90) consecutive school days under M.G.L c. 71, §§ 37H or 37H 1/2.

In-School Suspension under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H 3/4: the removal of a student from regular classroom activities, but not from the school premises, for no more than (10) consecutive school days, or no more than ten (10) school days cumulatively for multiple infractions during the school year.  * Removal solely from participation in extracurricular activities or school-sponsored events, or both, shall not count as removal in calculating school days.

Long-Term Suspension under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H 3/4: the removal of a student from the school premises and regular classroom activities for more than ten (10) consecutive school days, or, for those offenses under for more than ten (10) school days cumulatively for multiple disciplinary offenses in any school year. Removal solely from participation in extracurricular activities or school-sponsored events, or both, shall not count as removal in calculating school days.

Written Notice:  Written correspondence sent by hand-delivery, certified mail, first-class mail, email to an address provided by the parent for school communications, or any other method of delivery agreed to by the principal and the parent.

Principal:   The primary administrator of the school or the Principal’s designee for disciplinary purposes.

Due Process

In-School Suspension :  Prior to the imposition of an In-School Suspension, the student will be informed of the disciplinary offense and provided with an opportunity to respond. If the principal determines that the student committed the disciplinary offense, the principal will provide oral notice to the student and parent of the length of the In-School Suspension and will make reasonable efforts to meet with the parent.  On or before the day of the In-School Suspension, the principal will deliver written notice to the parent of the basis for and length of the in-school suspension and inviting the parent to meet to discuss the student’s behavior if such a meeting has not already occurred.

Out-of School Suspension: In the case of disciplinary offenses not involving: a) possession of a dangerous weapon; b) possession of a controlled substance; c) assault on a member of the educational staff; or d) a felony charge or felony delinquency complaint or conviction, the student and parents will be given oral and written notice of the disciplinary offense with which the student is charged and the opportunity to participate in a hearing prior to the imposition of an out-of-school suspension. Written notice of the date and time for the hearing will be provided in English and in the primary language of the Student’s home and will identify the disciplinary offense with which the student has been charged, the basis for the charge, the potential length of the student’s suspension, and shall inform the parent and student of the right to interpreter services if necessary to participate in the hearing. Where a student may be subject to a Long-Term Suspension, the Principal will also notify the student and parent of the student’s right to legal representation (at private expense), the right to present and examine witnesses, the right to review the student record and documents that may be relied upon by the Principal, and the right to request that the hearing be audiotaped.

For disciplinary offenses involving a) possession of a dangerous weapon;  b) possession of a controlled substance;  c) assault on a member of the educational staff; or d) a felony charge or felony delinquency complaint or conviction,  the student will be given oral notice of the violation with which the student is charged and an opportunity to respond thereto prior to the Principal’s imposition of a short-term/interim suspension ten (10) consecutive school days or less pending formal disciplinary proceedings. Upon imposition of a short term or interim suspension or an interim suspension of ten (10) consecutive days or less pending further disciplinary proceedings, the student and parents will be provided with written notice of the suspension and the date and time of any formal disciplinary proceedings. For a suspension in excess of ten (10) consecutive days, the student will have the right to a formal hearing at which the student may have representation, along with the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses at said hearing before the principal.

Principal’s Hearing Under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H 3/4:

Short-Term Suspension:

At the Principal’s hearing, the student and parents (if participating) may dispute the charge(s) against the student  and present information, including mitigating facts, for the principal’s consideration in determining consequences for the student.

Long-Term Suspension:

In addition to the rights afforded a student in a short-term suspension hearing, the student will have the following rights: (a) the right of the student and the student’s parent to interpreter services at the hearing if needed to participate; (b) the right to be represented by counsel or a lay person of the student’s choice, at the student’s/parent’s expense; (c) the right to review the student’s record and the documents upon which the Principal may rely in making a determination to suspend the student or not; (d) the right to produce witnesses on his or her behalf and to present the student’s explanation of the alleged incident; (e) the right to cross-examine witnesses presented by the school district; and (f) the right to request that the hearing be recorded by the Principal, and to receive a copy of the audio recording upon request.

Principal’s Decision Under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H 3/4:

Based on the evidence presented at the hearing, the Principal will determine whether the student committed the disciplinary offense and the remedy or consequences to be imposed. The Principal shall exercise discretion in deciding the consequence for the offense and, in cases not involving possession of a controlled substance, a weapon, an assault on staff or felony charges, shall avoid using long-term suspension from school as a consequence until alternatives have been tried.  If the Principal decides to suspend or expel the student, written notice of the Principal’s decision will be sent to the student and parents in English and the primary language of the home identifying the disciplinary offense, the factual basis for the Principal’s decision, the beginning and end dates of the suspension or expulsion, and the process for appeal. The Principal will also notify the student and parent of the student’s opportunity to make academic progress during the period of removal from school in accordance with M.G.L. c. 76, §21.

Appeals:

Where the student is excluded in accordance with M.G.L. c.71 §37H, the student shall have ten (10) calendar days from the effective date of the exclusion to file a written appeal of a long-term suspension with the superintendent of schools.  For exclusions imposed pursuant to M.G.L. c.71 §37H1/2, the student shall have five (5) school days from the effective date of the exclusion to file a written appeal of a long-term suspension with the superintendent. And for long-term suspensions imposed pursuant to M.G.L c.71, §37H3/4, the Student shall have  five (5) calendar days from the effective date of the suspension imposed by the Principal but shall be granted an extension of seven (7) calendar days upon request. There is no right to appeal a short-term suspension, in-school suspension or emergency removal.

Academic Progress:

Any student who is serving a  short-term suspension, long-term suspension, or expulsion shall have the opportunity to earn credits, as applicable, make up assignments, tests, papers, and other school work as needed to make academic progress during the period of his or her removal from the classroom or school.   Any student who is expelled or suspended from school for more than ten (10) consecutive days, whether in school or out of school, shall have an opportunity to receive education services and to make academic progress toward meeting state and local requirements, in accordance with the school’s education service plan. M.G.L. c.76, §21.

Emergency Removal Under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H 3/4:

Nothing in the applicable regulations shall prevent a principal from removing a student from school temporarily when a student is charged with a disciplinary offense and the continued presence of the student poses a danger to persons or property, or materially and substantially disrupts the order of the school, and, in the principal’s judgment, there is no alternative available to alleviate the danger or disruption. The temporary removal shall not exceed two school days following the day of the emergency removal.

Discipline of Students with Disabilities

The following procedures apply to suspension of students with disabilities when suspensions exceed 10 consecutive schools days or when a pattern has developed for suspensions exceeding 10 cumulative days. These procedures include the responsibilities of the team and the responsibilities of the district.

a) A suspension of longer than 10 consecutive school days or a series of short term suspensions that exceed 10 school days and constitute a pattern of removal and are considered to constitute a disciplinary change in placement.

b) Prior to a suspension that would result in a disciplinary change in placement of a student with a disability, the building administrators, the parents and relevant members of the student’s IEP/504 Team will convene to determine whether the violation for which the student is subject to a disciplinary change in placement was caused by or directly and substantially related to the student’s disability or was the direct result of a failure to implement the student’s IEP or Section 504 Plan.

c) If the Team determines that the behavior is NOT a manifestation of the disability, the student may be disciplined in accordance with the policies and procedures applicable to all students except that students eligible for special education services shall be entitled to a free appropriate public education as of the eleventh (11th) day of disciplinary exclusion in the school year.

d) If the team determines that the behavior IS a manifestation of the disability, then the district will conduct a functional behavior assessment or review any existing behavior intervention plan and takes steps (with the consent of the parent) to correct the IEP, the placement, or the behavior intervention plan and the student will not be suspended for the violation found to be a manifestation of his/her disability.

e) Regardless of the manifestation determination, the district may place the student in an interim alternative setting (as determined by the Team) up to 45 school days if:

  • The student is in possession of a dangerous weapon on school grounds or at school-sponsored events;
  • The student is in possession of or using of illegal drugs on school grounds or at school-sponsored events;
  • The student engaged in solicitation of a controlled substance on school grounds or at school-sponsored events; or
  • The student inflicted serious bodily injury to another at school or at school-sponsored events.

The interim alternative setting must enable the student to participate in the general curriculum, progress toward the goals in the IEP, and receive the special education and related services contained in the student’s IEP.  The interim alternative setting must also provide services and modifications designed to address the behavior giving rise to the removal and to prevent the behavior from reoccurring.  At the conclusion of the forty-five (45) school day period, the student shall be returned to his/her previous placement unless the parent (or student if 18+) consents to an extension of the interim alternative setting or an Order is obtained from the Bureau of Special Education Appeal authorizing the student’s continued removal.

If the conduct does not involve a dangerous weapon, controlled substance, or serious bodily injury.  In such a case, the school may remove the student to an interim alternative setting for 45 days only: 1) with parental consent or 2) by obtaining authorization from a court or BSEA Hearing Officer.  In order to obtain an order from the a court or BSEA Hearing Officer, the school must prove that maintaining the student’s placement is substantially likely to result in injury to the student or others.

  1. The parent shall have the right to appeal the manifestation Team’s determination, the imposition of a disciplinary change in placement, and the student’s placement in an interim alternative educational setting. The student will remain in the disciplinary placement imposed by school authorities pending a decision on the appeal or until the expiration of the disciplinary sanction, whichever comes first.

RELEVANT MASSACHUSETTS LAWS

M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H – Dangerous Weapons, Assaults on Staff, and Possession of a Controlled Substance

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.

(b) Any student who assaults a principal, assistant principal, teacher, teacher’s aide or other educational staff on school premises or at school-sponsored or school-related events, including athletic games, may be subject to expulsion from the school or school district by the principal.

(c) Any student who is charged with a violation of either paragraph (a) or (b) shall be notified in writing of an opportunity for a hearing; provided, however, that the student may have representation, along with the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses at said hearing before the principal.

After said hearing, a principal may, in his discretion, decide to suspend rather than expel a student who has been determined by the principal to have violated either paragraph (a) or (b).

(d) Any student who has been expelled from a school district pursuant to these provisions shall have the right to appeal to the superintendent. The expelled student shall have ten days from the date of the expulsion in which to notify the superintendent of his appeal. The student has the right to counsel at a hearing before the superintendent. The subject matter of the appeal shall not be limited solely to a factual determination of whether the student has violated any provisions of this section.

(e) Any school district that suspends or expels a student under this section shall continue to provide educational services to the student during the period of suspension or expulsion, under section 21 of chapter 76. If the student moves to another district during the period of suspension or expulsion, the new district of residence shall either admit the student to its schools or provide educational services to the student in an education service plan, under section 21 of chapter 76.

(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.

(g) Under the regulations promulgated by the department, for each school that suspends or expels a significant number of students for more than 10 cumulative days in a school year, the commissioner shall investigate and, as appropriate, shall recommend models that incorporate intermediary steps prior to the use of suspension or expulsion. The results of the analysis shall be publicly reported at the school district level.

 

M.G.L. c. 71, §37H1/2 – Felony Complaints and Felony Convictions

Notwithstanding the provisions of section eighty-four and sections sixteen and seventeen of chapter seventy-six:

(1) Upon the issuance of a criminal complaint charging a student with a felony or upon the issuance of a felony delinquency complaint against a student, the principal or headmaster of a school in which the student is enrolled may suspend such student for a period of time determined appropriate by said principal or headmaster if said principal or headmaster determines that the student’s continued presence in school would have a substantial detrimental effect on the general welfare of the school.  The student shall receive written notification of the charges and the reasons for such suspension prior to such suspension taking effect.  The student shall also receive written notification of his right to appeal and the process for appealing such suspension: provided, however, that such ‘suspension shall remain in effect prior to any appeal hearing conducted by the superintendent. The student shall have the right to appeal the suspension to the superintendent.  The student shall notify the superintendent in writing for his request for an appeal no later than five calendar days following the effective date of the suspension.  The superintendent shall hold a hearing with the student and the student’s parent or guardian within three calendar days of the student’s request for an appeal.  At the hearing, the student shall have the right to present oral and written testimony on his behalf, and shall have the right to counsel.  The superintendent shall have the authority to overturn or alter the decision of the principal or headmaster, including recommending an alternate educational program for the student.  The superintendent shall render a decision on the appeal within five calendar days of the hearing.  Such decision shall be the final decision of the city, town or regional school district with regard to the suspension.

(2)Upon a student being convicted of a felony or upon an adjudication or admission in court of guilt with respect to such a felony or felony delinquency, the principal or headmaster of a school in which the student is enrolled may expel said student if such principal or headmaster determines that the student’s continued presence in school would have a substantial detrimental effect on the general welfare of the school.  The student shall receive written notification of the charges and reasons for such expulsion prior to such expulsion taking effect.  The student shall also receive written notification of his right to appeal and the process for appealing such expulsion; provided, however, that the expulsion shall remain in effect prior to any appeal hearing conducted by the superintendent. The student shall have the right to appeal the expulsion to the superintendent.  The student shall notify the superintendent, in writing, of his request for an appeal no later than five calendar days following the effective date of the expulsion.  The superintendent shall hold a hearing with the student and the student’s parent or guardian within three calendar days of the expulsion.  At the hearing, the student shall have the right to present oral and written testimony on his behalf, and shall have the right to counsel.  The superintendent shall have the authority to overturn or alter the decision of the principal or headmaster, including recommending an alternate educational program for the student.  The superintendent shall render a decision on the appeal within five calendar days of the hearing.  Such decision shall be the final decision of the city, town or regional school district with regard to the expulsion.

 

Any school district that suspends or expels a student under this section shall continue to provide educational services to the student during the period of suspension or expulsion, under section 21 of chapter 76. If the student moves to another district during the period of suspension or expulsion, the new district of residence shall either admit the student to its schools or provide educational services to the student under an education service plan, under section 21 of chapter 76.

 

M.G.L. c.71, §37H ¾ – All Other Offenses Not Covered by M.G.L. c. 71, §§ 37H and 37H 1/2

(a) This section shall govern the suspension and expulsion of students enrolled in a public school in the commonwealth who are not charged with a violation of subsections (a) or (b) of section 37H or with a felony under section 37H1/2.

(b) Any principal, headmaster, superintendent or other person acting as a decision-maker at a student meeting or hearing, when deciding the consequences for the student, shall exercise discretion; consider ways to re-engage the student in the learning process; and avoid using expulsion as a consequence until other remedies and consequences have been employed.

(c) For any suspension or expulsion under this section, the principal or headmaster of a school in which the student is enrolled, or a designee, shall provide, to the student and to the parent or guardian of the student, notice of the charges and the reason for the suspension or expulsion in English and in the primary language spoken in the home of the student. The student shall receive the written notification and shall have the opportunity to meet with the principal or headmaster, or a designee, to discuss the charges and reasons for the suspension or expulsion prior to the suspension or expulsion taking effect. The principal or headmaster, or a designee, shall ensure that the parent or guardian of the student is included in the meeting, provided that such meeting may take place without the parent or guardian only if the principal or headmaster, or a designee, can document reasonable efforts to include the parent or guardian in that meeting. The department shall promulgate rules and regulations that address a principal’s duties under this subsection and procedures for including parents in student exclusion meetings, hearings or interviews under this subsection.

(d) If a decision is made to suspend or expel the student after the meeting, the principal or headmaster, or a designee, shall update the notification for the suspension or expulsion to reflect the meeting with the student. If a student has been suspended or expelled for more than 10 school days for a single infraction or for more than 10 school days cumulatively for multiple infractions in any school year, the student and the parent or guardian of the student shall also receive, at the time of the suspension or expulsion decision, written notification of a right to appeal and the process for appealing the suspension or expulsion in English and in the primary language spoken in the home of the student; provided, however, that the suspension or expulsion shall remain in effect prior to any appeal hearing. The principal or headmaster or a designee shall notify the superintendent in writing, including, but not limited to, by electronic means, of any out-of-school suspension imposed on a student enrolled in kindergarten through grade 3 prior to such suspension taking effect. That notification shall describe the student’s alleged misconduct and the reasons for suspending the student out-of-school. For the purposes of this section, the term “out-of-school suspension” shall mean a disciplinary action imposed by school officials to remove a student from participation in school activities for 1 day or more.

(e) A student who has been suspended or expelled from school for more than 10 school days for a single infraction or for more than 10 school days cumulatively for multiple infractions in any school year shall have the right to appeal the suspension or expulsion to the superintendent. The student or a parent or guardian of the student shall notify the superintendent in writing of a request for an appeal not later than 5 calendar days following the effective date of the suspension or expulsion; provided, that a student and a parent or guardian of the student may request, and if so requested, shall be granted an extension of up to 7 calendar days. The superintendent or a designee shall hold a hearing with the student and the parent or guardian of the student within 3 school days of the student’s request for an appeal; provided that a student or a parent or guardian of the student may request and, if so requested, shall be granted an extension of up to 7 calendar days; provided further, that the superintendent, or a designee, may proceed with a hearing without a parent or guardian of the student if the superintendent, or a designee, makes a good faith effort to include the parent or guardian. At the hearing, the student shall have the right to present oral and written testimony, cross-examine witnesses and shall have the right to counsel. The superintendent shall render a decision on the appeal in writing within 5 calendar days of the hearing. That decision shall be the final decision of the school district with regard to the suspension or expulsion.

(f) No student shall be suspended or expelled from a school or school district for a time period that exceeds 90 school days, beginning the first day the student is removed from an assigned school building.

M.G.L. c.76, §21

Principals and headmasters shall ensure that students who are suspended from school for 10 or fewer consecutive days, whether in or out of school, shall have an opportunity to make academic progress during the period of suspension, to make up assignments and earn credits missed including, but not limited to, homework, quizzes, exams, papers and projects missed. Principals shall develop a school-wide education service plan for all students who are expelled or suspended from school for more than 10 consecutive school days, whether in or out of school. Principals shall ensure these students have an opportunity to make academic progress during the period of suspension or expulsion, to make up assignments and earn credits missed, including, but not limited to, homework, quizzes, exams, papers and projects missed. Education service plans may include, but are not limited to, tutoring, alternative placement, Saturday school, and online or distance learning. In developing the education service plan, principals may seek the cooperation or input of relevant health and human service, housing and nonprofit agencies education collaboratives, and other service providers. Any school or school district that expels a student or suspends a student for more than 10 consecutive school days shall provide the student and the parent or guardian of the student with a list of alternative educational services. Upon selection of an alternative educational service by the student and the student’s parent or guardian, the school or school district shall facilitate and verify enrollment in the service. Students exempt from attending school under section 1 of chapter 76 shall not be subject to this section.

M.G.L. c.71, §37L

Section 37L. The school committee of each city, town or regional school district shall inform teachers, administrators, and other professional staff of reporting requirements for child abuse and neglect under section 51A of chapter 119 and the reporting requirements for fires under section 2A of chapter 148.

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.

A student transferring into a local system must provide the new school system with a complete school record of the entering student. Said record shall include, but not be limited to, any incidents involving suspension or violation of criminal acts or any incident reports in which such student was charged with any suspended act.

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