Safe and Supportive Schools
Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.)Chapter 69 Section 1P Safe and supportive schools framework
On August 13, 2014, a law titled The Safe and Supportive Schools Framework (MGL Ch 69 Section 1P) was enacted into law when Governor Deval Patrick signed the legislature’s omnibus Act Relative to the Reduction of Gun Violence. These provisions establish a statewide “safe and supportive schools framework” to assist schools to create safe and supportive learning environments “that improve educational outcomes for students.”
The law includes a groundbreaking definition of “safe and supportive schools” as
“… schools that foster a safe, positive, healthy and inclusive whole-school learning environment that (i) enables students to develop positive relationships with adults and peers, regulate their emotions and behavior, achieve academic and non-academic success in school and maintain physical and psychological health and well-being and (ii) integrates services and aligns initiatives that promote students’ behavioral health, including social and emotional learning, bullying prevention, trauma sensitivity, dropout prevention, truancy reduction, children’s mental health, foster care and homeless youth education, inclusion of students with disabilities, positive behavioral approaches that reduce suspensions and expulsions and other similar initiatives.”
In addition to the new definition, the law:
- Requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop a state-wide Safe and Supportive Schools Framework consistent with the Framework recommended by the Behavioral Health and Public Schools Task Force.
- Enables and encourages all schools to develop action plans for implementing the Safe and Supportive Schools Framework; the action plans would be incorporated in the School Improvement Plans that are already required under MGL c. 69 § 1I;
- Provides a self-assessment tool to help schools create their action plans and, subject to appropriation, provides technical assistance to schools and districts;
- Establishes a Safe and Supportive Schools Grant Program to fund exemplar schools that serve as models for creating safe and supportive schools; and
- Establishes a Safe and Supportive Schools Commission to assist with statewide implementation of the Safe and Supportive Schools Framework and to make ongoing recommendations and propose drafts of legislation.