Action Alert

For years Massachusetts Appleseed has been working to bring an end to zero-tolerance school discipline policies, school arrests, and the school-to-prison pipeline. Amidst the wave of protests against police brutality, now is the time to demand more. Over-policing in Massachusetts schools disproportionally impacts Black and Latinx students, who are significantly more likely to be arrested at school than their white counterparts. School Resource Officers (SROs) are meant to protect our students, but instead many SROs actively place our students in danger. On December 3, 2018, a Springfield Massachusetts school resource officer assaulted a 14-year-old high school boy, grabbing him by the back of his neck and pushing him against the side of a school hallway. Subsequently, the officer filed a false incident report. We cannot allow this to go on any longer. We need change now.
Tomorrow the Massachusetts Senate will be voting on S.2800 An Act to Reform Police Standards and Shift Resources to Build a More Equitable, Fair and Just Commonwealth that Values Black Lives and Communities of Color, known as the Reform, Shift + Build Act.
This legislation:
  • Requires the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to report out the number of mental health counselors and school resources officers
  • Limits school personnel from disclosing student information to law enforcement, and subsequent entry of that information into shared law enforcement databases
By providing us data on the current number of counselors compared with school resource officers in Massachusetts public schools, this legislation will allow us to more deeply understand the practical solution of replacing SROs with mental health counselors. In addition, this legislation takes important initial steps to limit the ability of school administrations and SROs to share incident reports with local law enforcement.
This legislation is a solid foundation for dismantling the over-policing in Massachusetts schools. However, amendments are necessary to truly achieve our goal.
Amendments we support:
  • Senator Boncore’s Amendment 25 “Training and Certification for School Resource Officers” requires specific training for SROs on a host of important topics, to be developed in consultation with experts, and to be required before an officer can be assigned as an SRO.
  • Senator Jehlen’s Amendment 80 “School Committee Approval of SROs and Data Reporting” puts school committees – not superintendents and police chiefs – in charge of annually approving school policing by vote, and requires that the district and police department comply with the reporting requirements of school-based arrests to qualify to have an SRO.
  • Senator Jehlen’s Amendment 93 “Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline” prevents students who have been merely accused of a crime from being excluded from school without any real due process, and clarifies the type of student behavior that would rise to the level of being a danger in the school to justify expulsion and suspension.
  • Senator Jehlen’s Amendment 108 “Protecting Students from Profiling” strengthens existing provisions of S.2800 on information sharing by prohibiting Massachusetts school staff and school police from sharing student information to the Boston Regional Intelligence Center and other gang databases.
These amendments require increased training for SROs, place the power to approve SROs within the community, provide students due with process in future disciplinary action, and keep school administrators from sharing disciplinary information with state and federal law enforcement such as the Boston Police Department, ICE, and the FBI. 
These measures represent an essential step in supporting the grassroots movements led by young people in Boston, Springfield, Worcester, Framingham and across the Commonwealth advocating for the removal of SROs entirely.

Click Here to Read S.2800

Click Here for Amendments

What You Can Do

Time is of the essence! The Senate will be voting Tomorrow!

  1. Contact your Senator TODAY and ask them to support Amendments 25, 80, 93, and 108.
  2. Because elected officials get a lot of emails, follow-up with a phone call to ask whether the Senator will support these amendments.
  3. Click here to find your Senators emails and phone numbers.

Thank you for working with us to improve this important legislation and dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline!


Our Response to COVID-19

From advocating for increased support for youth experiencing homelessness, to sharing multilingual resources to help immigrant and Limited English Proficient families withstand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – there’s work to be done. Learn more about steps we’re taking to aid our most vulnerable communities during the pandemic and how you can help.

Our Response to COVID-19


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