Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick made history today as he signed the Safe and Supportive Schools provisions into law. In recognition of the link between safe and supportive school environments and the reduction of school violence, the legislature incorporated these provisions into its omnibus Act Relative to the Reduction of Gun Violence.
With the enactment of the Safe and Supportive Schools provisions, Massachusetts becomes a national leader in supporting schools and districts to create the whole-school safe and supportive environments that can serve as the foundation for all students, including those who have endured traumatic experiences, to learn and succeed. The centerpiece of the new Safe and Supportive Schools law, which will be codified in statute at MGL c. 69, Sec. 1P, is the statewide Safe and Supportive Schools Framework. Organized according to the six core elements of school operations contained in TLPI’s Flexible Framework, this statewide framework will help schools align the many school climate-related initiatives (anti-bullying, dropout prevention, positive discipline, etc.) that are necessary for creating safe and supportive learning environments.
The next major milestone for safe and supportive schools will come when the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education convenes the newly established statewide Safe and Supportive Schools Commission, which it is required to do within 90 days of the signing of the law. The Commission will assist with statewide implementation of the law and make future recommendations to the legislature, including proposing drafts of further legislation. For more information about all of the provisions contained in the new safe and supportive schools law, click here.