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How We Won School Discipline Reform in Massachusetts: Chap 222

Thomas Mela

Article on the website, National Opportunity to Learn, about the history of Chapter 222, by Tom Mela, ~~Senior Project Director at Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC). Tom worked with the Education Law Task Force (ELTF) and Rep. Alice Wolf for years to get the legislation passed and then worked to have regulations written to enforce the requirments of Chap 222.

~~The most important provisions of Chapter 222 are:
•All public schools, including charter schools, must comply and revise their policies to assure that exclusion is a last resort and that alternatives to exclusion are tried first.
•Students who face school exclusion are entitled to full due process rights, including parental involvement and accommodation for students with limited English proficiency
•During both short-term and long-term exclusions, students have the right to make academic progress.
•During long-term exclusions, students must be provided alternative education services.
•Except for very serious offenses, students may not be excluded for more than 90 school days.
•Schools must review their school exclusion data and increase their reporting to DESE.
•DESE must post annual state-wide exclusion data each fall.
•DESE must analyze the annual exclusion data and follow-up when the numbers are high and when there are significant disparities by race and for students with disabilities.

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