Richard Bergin of Alix Partners Joins Massachusetts Appleseed Board

For Immediate Release

Richard Bergin

Richard Bergin

Boston, MA – Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice welcomed Dr. Richard Bergin, Managing Director for Alix Partners, to its Board of Directors on October 4, 2017. MA Appleseed, a non-profit organization that advocates for systemic reform in areas such as education and access to justice, is pleased to have Dr. Bergin, an active and dynamic advocate, join the organization.

“This is a great opportunity to push for statewide reform in the areas of justice and education,” Dr. Bergin said. “I look forward to helping expand the impact of MA Appleseed’s important work in identifying barriers and developing pragmatic solutions to secure lasting access to opportunity and justice for all.”

Dr. Richard Bergin has over 20 years of experience in leading investigations and litigation consulting. He has led independent investigations into some of the world’s most prolific and complex antitrust, financial fraud and manipulation cases as well as investigations in more than 50 countries. Dr. Bergin regularly serves as a litigation consultant, and he has testified as an expert witness in trials, at arbitrations, and before government agencies, including federal courts and state courts as well as the DOJ, SEC, CFTC, AAA, ICSID, ICC, UNCITRAL and various ad hoc arbitrations around the world. Prior to joining Alix Partners, Dr. Bergin was a Principal at KPMG for more than four years, advising companies facing investigations and disputes. Previously, he held senior roles at FTI Consulting, Navigant Consulting, and NERA Economic Consulting. Dr. Bergin has a doctorate in business administration and an MBA – both of them awarded with highest distinction from Harvard Business School, which he attended as a Fulbright Scholar.

“We’re very excited and grateful to have Rich join the Board,” Board Chair Martha Mazzone said. “His experience outside the legal world, passion as a social justice advocate, and infectious enthusiasm will be instrumental in moving MA Appleseed forward.”

About the Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice:

Massachusetts Appleseed’s mission is to promote equal rights and opportunities for Massachusetts’ residents by developing and advocating for systemic solutions to social justice issues.

At Massachusetts Appleseed, we dedicate ourselves to remedying social injustices for at-risk and underserved children, youth, and adults. Working with volunteer lawyers, community partners, and others, we identify and address gaps in services and opportunities in areas such as education, homelessness, and the court system. Through in-depth research, consensus building, and community problem solving, we develop powerful solutions for reforming the systems and structures responsible. Our work seeks to level the playing field and transform communities.

BREAKING: Amendments to Criminal Justice Reform Bill Would Eliminate Provisions Decriminalizing Non-Violent Student Behavior and Providing Guidance on the Proper Role of SROs!

Action Alert

GOOD NEWS! The Senate Ways and Means Committee has released its version of the omnibus criminal justice reform bill (S.2185)! This version of the bill includes key provisions we support from H.328/S.876, An Act decriminalizing non-violent and verbal student misconduct.

Section 174 of S2185 would decriminalize non-violent misconduct in schools by eliminating the crime of disturbing school assembly.

Section 13 of S2185 would require that MOUs between schools and police departments include certain provisions clarifying the proper role of School Resource Officers, or “SROs.” Specifically, section 13:

  • includes language that clearly states that SROs should not be involved in routine disciplinary actions for non-violent school infractions;
  • implements protocols to utilize the expertise of mental health professionals in addressing the needs of students with behavioral and emotional difficulties;
  • requires SROs to dedicate professional development time to raising awareness of challenges faced by students in each officer’s school, emphasizing areas such as de-escalation techniques and implicit or unconscious bias; and
  • outlines data collection methods and responsibilities.

Like suspensions and expulsions, arrests of students for non-violent behavior disproportionately affect students of color and students with disabilities. Eliminating this practice is a crucial component of our work to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.

But it’s not over yet!

Senator Tarr has proposed two amendments – Amendments 58 and 159 – that would ELIMINATE these provisions critical to keeping students safe. 

Amendment 58 proposes striking out Section 174 and Amendment 159 proposes striking out Section 13.

As currently written, S2185 would ensure that traditional policing techniques are used only when necessary while establishing standards and accountability for police in schools. Join us in the fight to dismantle the school to prison pipeline – contact your state Senator and urge them to oppose these amendments!

Click here to find contact information for your State Senators!

Call or email them TODAY and ask them to OPPOSE these two amendments!

This criminal justice reform bill has the potential to break down the school-to-prison-pipeline in Massachusetts, but that won’t happen without these provisions. The Senate will be debating the bill on ThursdayThat means we have only two days to make sure these provisions remain in the bill. Help us defeat Senator Tarr’s amendments and keep kids in class!

Don’t wait! Join us and call or email your Senators today to oppose Amendments 58 and 159!

Thank you for your continued support.

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MA Senate Criminal Justice Reform Bill Includes School Arrest Reforms!

Action Alert

Great news!

The criminal justice reform bill that was recently released by the Senate (S2170) includes key provisions we support from H.328/S.876, An Act decriminalizing non-violent and verbal student misconduct.

These important provisions eliminate the practice of arresting students for minor behavioral infractions and establish standards and accountability for police in schools. This is an issue that disproportionately affects students of color and students with disabilities, and is a crucial component of our work to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.

Another important provision of these bills relates to data collection. Right now, the information and reporting on school arrests is scattered and incomplete. S2170 would require establishing systems for arrest data collection, reporting, and publication – similar to the reporting system for school suspensions.

I want to thank you for standing with us to push these bills to the front of the conversation! Your hard work will ensure that we keep kids in class where they belong.

But it’s not over yet!

We need you to call or email your state Senator and ask him/her to support these provisions in S2170. We’ve made it easy for you by providing a script that you can use below!

Click here to find contact information for your State Senator and then call or email them using the script below!


Script:

Hi, my name is ________ and I am calling to encourage Senator _______ to support comprehensive juvenile justice reform that prioritizes the wellbeing of students. Sections 13, 174, and 175 of  Senate Bill 2170, (the omnibus criminal justice reform)  support school discipline that moves away from unnecessary arrests and requires data collection and reporting of school based arrests.

  • These provisions would:
    1. eliminate the practice of arresting students for minor behavioral infractions;
    2. establish standards and accountability for police in schools; and
    3. require establishing systems for arrest data collection, reporting, and publication – similar to school suspensions.
  • These provisions are necessary because:
    • Unnecessarily arresting students ruins lives and encourages youth to drop out of school.
    • Students who drop out are more likely to go to prison, earn less income and rely more on public benefits than students who complete school.
    • Student arrests disproportionately target students of color and students with disabilities.
    • No data is currently collected or reported about school based arrests.
    • Data collection will inform us on the prevalence and reasons for arresting students.
    • Reporting school arrests would be a simple additional requirement to reporting that school districts already file with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
  • Please support a final Criminal Justice Reform bill that includes these provisions!

Join us and call or email your State Senator today!

Thank you for your continued support.

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Sign up for future action alerts.

Budget Victory! MA Senate Pushes Through Funding for Homeless Youth!

Action Alert

Thank you for standing up and speaking out in defense of homeless youth. 

You did it! Thanks to your tireless efforts, the Senate has overridden Governor Baker’s veto of funding for homeless youth! With an overwhelming vote of 35-2, the Senate restored $675,000 for housing and services for unaccompanied youth and young adults. 

Months ago, when Governor Baker eliminated line item 4000-0007 from the 2018 state budget, we pledged to not stop fighting until that funding was restored. I want to thank you for fighting with us. 

In the past few months, we have won many important legislative and budget battles that will impact low-income families and youth across the state, and none of it would have been possible without you!

Thank you for your continued support.

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MA Appleseed Joins New Mexico Appleseed to Fight Lunch Shaming

Action Alert

What is “lunch shaming?”

Lunch shaming” is a harsh disciplinary practice in which students who cannot pay their school lunch bill or have outstanding debt on their account are punished. Examples of lunch shaming include:

It’s hard to believe these draconian policies are still being used around the country in 2017. While some schools claim it is the only way to get families to pay up, these policies humiliate and stigmatize children and low-income families.

Nearly half of all school districts use lunch shaming.

Our friends at New Mexico Appleseed have been working tirelessly to challenge lunch shaming and ban it from their state, advocating for the rights of hungry children and low-income families. The central argument is, while lunch debt is a problem for schools, in no way should the children be left hungry, humiliated, and less likely to learn. Instead, school officials must work with the parents or guardians to come up with a solution and leave the children out of it.

AND IT WORKED!

Thanks to support from both parties and the fierce advocacy of New Mexico Appleseed, Gov. Susana Martinez signed the Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights this past April. The law applies to all schools – public, private, or religious – that receive federal subsidies for breakfast and lunch programs.

Now the fight is going national, with bipartisan leadership unveiling federal legislation designed to outlaw lunch shaming and better ensure no student goes hungry, regardless of their ability to pay.

Join us to end lunch shaming for good!

The proposed legislation, S.1064 and H.R.2401, aims to:

  • Prohibit punishments of any kind for students short on lunch money or who have an outstanding balance on their account
  • Ban the “marking” or identifying of students who owe lunch debt
  • Prevent schools from withholding food from children
  • Encourage schools to ensure eligible children are enrolled in free or reduced-price meal programs
  • Make paying off lunch debt easier for parents and guardians through online systems
Keep humiliation tactics out of schools!

Sign your organization up to endorse this crucial federal legislation TODAY.

Massachusetts Appleseed, along with many others, has signed on to endorse bills S.1064 and H.R.2401. Lunch shaming reminds us that we have a long way to go in our schools in ensuring equal treatment for all students.

Be sure to check your email for more updates soon, and donate here to support our work at the state level in education and access to justice!

Thank you for your continued support.

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Sign up for future action alerts.