Action Alert

Because the Massachusetts Legislature passed a temporary eviction and foreclosure moratorium in late April, thousands of families economically devastated by the pandemic have been able to stay in their homes. While that law provides Governor Baker the opportunity to extend the moratorium at increments of up to 90 days until 45 days after the State of Emergency is lifted, the Governor has publicly signaled that he plans to let these protections expire on October 17th. 

It is estimated that anywhere from 20,000 to 80,000 new evictions will occur when the moratorium expires! 

Massachusetts Appleseed has previously advocated for the creation of a Right to Counsel pilot program that could protect many of these renters from eviction and potentially homelessness once the moratorium ends. Initially, we asked for a pilot program that would allow nonprofit and legal aid organizations to offer representation within 5,000 eviction cases. 

But as the numbers of likely evictions continue to climb, addressing 5,000 cases is clearly not enough. The Right to Counsel Coalition has sent a letter to Governor Baker advocating for a comprehensive plan that ensures representation for tenants and landlords in 22,000 eviction cases. We need your help to make this happen before the eviction moratorium ends on October 17th!

 

What You Can Do

  1. Email Governor Baker and ask him to support S. 2785 to establish a COVID right to counsel pilot program, in addition to funding rental assistance.
  2. Call the Governor’s office TODAY (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and ask him to support S. 2785 to establish a COVID right to counsel pilot program, in addition to funding rental assistance. 
  • Main Office: 617-725-4005 
  • Toll-free: 888-870-7770
  • TTY: 617-727-3666

You can send Governor Baker an email like this: 

Dear Governor Baker,

Time is of the essence. Courts alone cannot handle the eviction crisis and protect people in our communities from being evicted. Massachusetts needs a comprehensive plan for tenants and homeowners to prevent mass eviction and we urge you to:
  1. Fund rental assistance to stabilize people’s housing and prevent homelessness.
  2. Adopt a framework to provide time, protection, and housing assistance to tenants, homeowners, and landlords to keep people housed.
  3. Implement a statewide right to counsel program to prevent eviction and preserve tenancies.

Tenants, landlords, municipal leaders, health care professionals, and advocates are worried about what will happen when the eviction moratorium ends. The CDC moratorium is not enough. We urge you to use COVID relief funding to prevent housing instability and keep Massachusetts residents safe. We need your leadership to get us through this. Thank you.

(Your name)

Send Governor Baker an email.

 

 


Our Response to COVID-19

From developing and sharing accessible legal resources in areas of urgent need to advocating for equitable policies to support those hit hardest by COVID-19 – 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

 

Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for future action alerts.

Our hearts are heavy this week.

Just a few days following the tragic passing of Massachusetts’ own Chief Justice Gants, we have lost another beacon of light in the judiciary. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her decades-spanning career fighting to make the American promise of “equal protection under the law” a reality, and she will be profoundly missed.  

A cultural icon, perhaps her most enduring legacy is as a champion of women’s rights. This week, a credit card in the wallets of women is not just a piece of plastic; in the days since Friday, it’s a memorial to Justice Ginsburg’s tireless work to end sex discrimination and ensure women are able to achieve financial autonomy and pursue all the opportunities life has to offer, free from legal barriers. She proved to us, time and time again, that no injustice is too great to overcome and to be committed to justice means to be in it for the long haul. A trailblazer of the legal community, Justice Ginsburg reminds us that rights are rarely given. They are fought for.

The challenges of 2020 exposed how far we still have to go – for racial equity, for immigrant rights, for the hundreds of thousands of people trapped in cycles of poverty by systemic failures of our society. Through her persistent dedication to the rule of law, Justice Ginsburg laid the groundwork for much of the powerful advocacy work grounded in social justice we see today. Relentless in the pursuit of justice and searing in her dissents, she illustrated that we not only have an obligation to fight the impossible fights – we can win them. And in so doing, we can build a better world based in justice, fairness, and equity.

All we can do is say thank you, and vow to keep the work going. May her memory be a blessing. May we live up to the legacy she leaves behind and bring about the world she knew is possible.

 

Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for our mailing list.

Image of Chief Justice Gants

Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants.

We are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, and join the Massachusetts legal community in mourning the loss of an extraordinary leader.

Chief Justice Gants had a consummate understanding of the powerful ways the courts can shape and redirect people’s lives, and the imperative need to ensure the civil justice system is accessible to all. A passionate advocate of access to justice, he imbued the judicial system with his endless compassion and commitment to the rule of law. Armed with his trademark wit, humor, and thoughtful brilliance, Chief Justice Gants raised the standard of the entire legal profession, challenging tradition in the pursuit of a fairer, more equitable society. 

At Massachusetts Appleseed, we feel honored to have had the opportunity to work with the Chief Justice over the years. A featured speaker at our 2017 Access to Justice Conference and our most recent Annual Meeting, he was a steadfast supporter of our work to improve the courts and unshakable in his commitment to creating a civil justice system that serves everyone – not just those who can afford an attorney.

It was a privilege to witness him in action as co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission. He approached this work with seemingly boundless energy, tenacity, and a generous spirit, easily dispensing encouragement to those around him. The journey towards justice is certainly long and difficult. But after each Commission meeting, listening to Chief Justice Gants speak, a better world often felt close at hand.

This week has been a painful one. The future always seemed a bit brighter with the Chief Justice lighting the way, and to lose him at this moment in time is hard to accept. Yet we feel his impact all around us, from the newly-released report he commissioned studying the systemic racial inequities within criminal court sentencing, to the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission’s recent 2019-2020 Annual Report – detailing the many exceptional collaborative efforts he oversaw and guided as co-chair.

To have the head of the state’s highest court so tirelessly champion justice for all is no small thing, and Chief Justice Gants leaves behind a tremendous legacy and unfathomably large shoes to fill. We send our sincere condolences to his family and his friends, and those who knew him best.

Today, September 18th, the courts are closed to honor the memory of Chief Justice Gants. On Monday, they reopen, and the work to which he was so dedicated goes on. While we take this moment to personally work through our grief, we will remember the Chief Justice in all we do – in each policy change that supports our most vulnerable residents, each reform effort that makes our courts more welcoming institutions, and each small step towards a world where every person experiences equal protection under the law. We know we could not have come as far as we have without him. And we hope we honor his legacy by continuing the fight for justice.

 

Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for our mailing list.

Report Finds Black Girls are Subject to Discriminatory School Disciplinary Action in Kansas, Massachusetts, and Alabama

WASHINGTON, DC, September 2, 2020 – Three members of the Appleseed Network, a non-profit network of independent organizations in the United States and Mexico working towards social and legal justice, today announced the release of their comprehensive report, “Protecting Girls of Color from the School-to-Prison Pipeline,” the final product of a year-long research project examining disparities in school disciplinary treatment for Black girls in Massachusetts, Alabama, and Kansas. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, an international law firm, served as pro bono partner throughout the project. 
 
The report is part of the Network’s extensive efforts to dismantle the complex school-to-prison pipeline, a continuum encompassing the steps that drive children out of school and into the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems.  Understanding how states approach school discipline is key: disciplinary policies including suspensions, expulsions, and school-based arrests may act as “gateways” to the criminal justice system later in their lives. 
 
The report’s findings illuminate a stark truth: girls of color, particularly Black girls, are consistently disciplined at a rate much higher than their white peers. Often, discipline is incurred more or to a greater extent by Black girls than their white peers for similar behavior. The findings also emphasize the significant change needed in school district disciplinary policies and data collection methods in order to protect girls of color from being funneled into the school-to-prison pipeline by means of excessive school discipline.
 
“This research helps to shine a light on one of the many ways that systemic racism continues to play out in Alabama,” says Akiesha Anderson, Policy Director at Alabama Appleseed. “The data irrefutably shows that Alabama’s public schools discipline Black girls more harshly than their white counterparts. As state leaders continue to grapple with criminal justice reform, the school-to-prison pipeline and its impact on Black girls should not be left out of the conversation.”
 
Key findings in the report include:

  • Across Alabama, Kansas, and Massachusetts, Black female students are roughly 5.2 times more likely to be disciplined than white female students.
  • In Alabama, Black girls are roughly 3.7 times more likely to be disciplined than their white female classmates
  • In Kansas, Black girls are roughly 6.2 times more likely more likely to be disciplined than their white female classmates.
  • In Massachusetts, Black girls are roughly 3.9 times more likely to be disciplined than their white counterparts.
  • State level data that is disaggregated by race, gender, and ethnicity is not widely available. The data also do not account for multiple forms of discipline and do not typically state the cause for discipline.

Policy proposals include:

  • More state and federal legislation mandating the consistent collection of data on school disciplinary action and ensuring databases are publicly accessible, cross-tabulated, and disaggregated to account for age, gender, race, and ethnicity.
  • More transparent data and incident reporting is a key step to further advocacy aimed at making schools safe environments for all students.

Deb Silva, Executive Director of Massachusetts Appleseed and a key partner on this project, said of the report, “It demonstrates the devastating impact that the intersection of gender and racial discrimination is having on Black girls in Massachusetts schools, and the indisputable need to include our classrooms in the ongoing dialogues about systemic racism currently sweeping the country. The school-to-prison pipeline is very much alive in Massachusetts, and this report is an important step forward in our work to advocate against the unjust school discipline policies that target and punish girls of color and promote a more inclusive and supportive vision of education.”
 
“The report exposes a dramatic imbalance in our school system and highlights the continued need for us to investigate and eradicate systemic racism at every level of our society.  It is impossible to ignore the lifelong consequences that such a disparate school discipline system has on young people of color,” says Mike Fonkert, Campaign Director of Kansas Appleseed. “We must do better.”

Willkie Farr & Gallagher worked with representatives from Alabama Appleseed, Massachusetts Appleseed, and Kansas Appleseed to collect and analyze federal school disciplinary data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection database, as well as state-level data from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The report analyzes data available for five discipline categories: in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, referrals to law enforcement, and school-related arrests.

About the Appleseed Network
Appleseed is a network of 16 justice centers across the U.S. and Mexico working for a more just, inclusive, and hopeful future for us all.
 
For more information, please contact:

Alabama Appleseed
Carla Crowder, Executive Director
205-305-0735
carla.crowder@alabamaappleseed.org

Massachusetts Appleseed
Deb Silva, Executive Director
617-482-8686
deb@massappleseed.org

Kansas Appleseed
Mike Fonkert, Campaign Director
mfonkert@kansasappleseed.org

Action Alert

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 93% of tenants facing eviction from their homes did not have lawyers, while 70% of landlords had representation. While the eviction moratorium ending October 17th protects many of these tenants for the time being, it is estimated that as many as 15,000-20,000 new evictions could be filed when the moratorium ends. Unless we take action, thousands of families – a significant majority of which are likely to be from communities of color – will be thrown into Housing Court on their own. Without any form of legal representation, these families are significantly less likely to remain in their homes. Action is needed now to protect these renters.  

A statewide Right to Counsel pilot program would allow non-profits to provide full legal representation in eviction proceedings for both tenants and landlords whose incomes do not exceed 200% of the federal poverty level. We now have two different opportunities to advance such a Right to Counsel pilot program within the legislature.  

  1. Senator DiDomenico has filed Amendment #175 for the creation of a Right to Counsel pilot program within S.2842An Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth. This bill was debated in the House yesterday (Monday, July 27), and the Senate will start to debate its version of the bill tomorrow (Wednesday, July 29).  
  2. Senator DiDomenico also filed S.2785An Act promoting housing stability and homelessness prevention through a right to counsel pilot program in Massachusetts in response to the COVID-emergency. This bill was reported favorably out of the Housing Committee and is still in Senate Ways and Means. We need to get it to the Senate floor. 

How You Can Help

  1. Call or email your Senator and ask them to sign on as a co-sponsor to Amendment #175 within S.2842. Send this fact sheet. Find your Senator here or with this list of Senators
  2. Contact Senate Ways and Means Chair Rodrigues to report S.2785 to the Senate floor. Call Senator Rodrigues’ office at (617) 722-1114 and email him at Michael.Rodrigues@masenate.gov and his staff attorney Jacob.Blanton@masenate.gov.  

You can send Chair Rodrigues a message like this:  

_____________________________ (who you are) and __________(why you care). We are bracing ourselves for tens of thousands of evictions when the eviction moratorium expires in October. Tenants are terrified of being evicted. 93% of tenants face eviction without legal representation. Alone – they are unable to navigate quick-moving deadlines and complicated court procedures. These procedures will be even more complicated as the court goes virtual. Providing legal representation is essential to housing stability. Providing lawyers for vulnerable tenants saves the state money. Providing lawyers prevents housing instability at a time when we need to keep people safe and housed. This is urgent. Pass Amendment #175 and Pass S. 2785. 

The legislative session may end this week! Time is of the essence and we need your voices now!  

 

 


Our Response to COVID-19

From developing and sharing accessible legal resources in areas of urgent need to advocating for equitable policies to support those hit hardest by COVID-19 – 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

 

Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for future action alerts.

Action Alert

It’s our last chance to act!  

The Police Accountability Bills from the House and Senate have been sent to a six-member Conference Committee for reconciliation. We need your help to make sure the final Police Accountability Bill protects young people.  

Our School Resource Officer (SRO) Priorities:  

  • Adopt Sections 50 & 51 of S.2820 which require a public vote by school committees – rather than the decision of superintendents and police chiefs – to annually assign SROs to schools. These sections also require public reporting of arrests and mental health student support spending for a district to qualify for an SRO.  
  • Fix the error in Section 50 which can be read to require school committee votes, not in traditional school districts, but in charter schools, which don’t have school committees. This was a technical error from Senate Ways and Means, and we need to fix it by adding “by public vote of the relevant school committee” to the first sentence of Section 50. 
  • Avoid the new model MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) process in House 66, and instead use the current Model MOU from 2018 as the baseline for all school districts, while keeping the transparency requirements from Section 66 of the House bill. 
  • Ensure that whatever qualified immunity provision the bill adopts expressly applies to SROs and amend c. 71 s. 37P(f) accordingly. 

Our Juvenile Justice Privacy Priorities:  

  • Adopt Section 49 of S.2820 to keep school administrators from sharing student information with federal law enforcement databases, while removing the “germane to an incident or activity” standard and removing the requirement that the aforementioned databases be “designed” to track gang affiliation.  
  • Adopt Sections 59, 60, 61, & 71 of S.2820 to expand eligibility of juvenile expungement by allowing expungement of non-convictions, replacing the one-case restriction to a 3 to 7 year waiting period, and maintaining a list of ineligible offenses only to those with a felony conviction. 

The legislative session may be ending this month, which means we need your voice TODAY. 

 

What You Can Do

  1. Email your senators and representatives using this template, and tell them you support the priorities of the Coalition for Smart Responses to Student Behavior in addition to the expansion of expungement. 
  2. Be sure to attach these four attachments to your email: Amendment #88’s list of co-sponsors, Amendment #1’s list of co-sponsors, the Coalition’s testimony in support of the above provisions, and additional testimony from the AFT-MA, MTA, and BTU  in support of the school committee provision vote.
  3. Because elected officials get a lot of emails, follow-up with a phone call.  
  4. Click here to find your legislators’ emails and phone numbers. 

 


Our Response to COVID-19

From developing and sharing accessible legal resources in areas of urgent need to advocating for equitable policies to support those hit hardest by COVID-19 – 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

 

Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for future action alerts.

Action Alert

The House has introduced its police accountability bill, H.4860!

 
As the legislative session comes to a close, it is essential that we use the momentum of nationwide protests to fight for racial justice and police accountability within our schools. With your help we secured a number of provisions within the Senate police accountability bill S.2820 to limit the prevalence of School Resource Officers (SROs) in schools. 
 

Unfortunately, H.4860 does not include many of these essential provisions. When it comes to school policing, H.4860:  

  • Maintains the requirement that chiefs of police assign SROs to each district
  • Rejects the Senate language that would require a school committee vote to assign SROs to each district
That’s why we need your help. Call your legislator today and ask them to co-sponsor Amendment #1 to address these critical issues!  
  • Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa’s Amendment #1 places the decision to assign SROs in the hands of school committees by annual public vote. If a superintendent wants school resource officers each year, they have to inform the school committee and explain: 1) How much it will cost, 2) How much funding currently goes towards mental and emotional health support personnel, and 3) How many school-based arrests and referrals there were in the previous year. 

Read H.4860

Amendment #1

Fact Sheet on Amendment #1

Time is of the essence! The House will vote on amendments – and the bill itself – as early as Wednesday!  

What You Can Do

  1. Email your representative TODAY and ask them to co-sponsor Representative Sabadosa’s Amendment #1. You can say: By requiring a school committee vote, Amendment #1 gives parents, students, educators, and communities a necessary voice in deciding whether to place police in schools. As your constituent, I urge you to co-sponsor this amendment and vote for its adoption.
  2. Make sure to share this fact sheet from the Coalition for Smart Responses to Student Behavior as well!  
  3. Because elected officials get a lot of emails, follow-up with a phone call to ask whether the Representative will co-sponsor Amendment #1.   
  4. Click here to find your Representative’s emails and phone numbers. 

 


Our Response to COVID-19

From developing and sharing accessible legal resources in areas of urgent need to advocating for equitable policies to support those hit hardest by COVID-19 – 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

 

Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for future action alerts.

Action Alert

The House is currently working on police reform! We need your help to secure the safety of the young people in our schools!  
 
Earlier this week after an all-night session the Senate passed S.2820, the Reform, Shift + Build Act. Now the House is evaluating its own police accountability bill. 
 
Massachusetts Appleseed has been working with the Coalition for Smart Responses to Student Behavior to advocate for the removal of mandatory School Resource Officers (SROs), and for greater public accountability when police come into contact with students. You can find the letter we have signed onto with this coalition here.  
 
Our first priority:  
  • Remove School Resource Officers from Massachusetts Schools. There is a simple legislative change your Representative can enact that would achieve this goal and keep schools safe. The definition of a “school resource officer” (SRO) in G.L. c. 71 § 37P(a) can be amended to include: A school resource officer shall not be located on school grounds but at the local police station and shall be charged with serving as the primary responder to calls from public schools. 
Legislative priorities from S.2820 we want included by the House:  
  • 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 108 “Protecting Students from Profiling” strengthens existing provisions of S.2820 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. 
  • Section 59-61 of S.2820 (initially filed by Representatives Decker and Khan in H.1386) “Expanding Expungement Eligibility” allows multiple cases on a juvenile’s record to be considered for expungement – rather than only one, which is current Massachusetts law – and reduces the list of offenses never eligible for expungement. 

Read S.2820

Read Our Testimony

What You Can Do

  • Email your Representative TODAY and ask them to support the priorities within amendments 25, 80, and 108, and section 59-61 of S.2820. Be sure to attach the Coalition for Smart Responses to Student Behavior’s testimony and Massachusetts Appleseed’s testimony to your email! 
  • Because elected officials get a lot of emails, follow-up with a phone call to ask whether the Representative will support these priorities.
  • Click here to find your Representative’s 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 developing and sharing accessible legal resources in areas of urgent need to advocating for equitable policies to support those hit hardest by COVID-19 – 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

 

Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for future action alerts.

Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice commends the Trial Court for Emergency Administrative Order 20-10, issued on June 24th 2020, which takes effect on July 13th and temporarily eliminates bans on the use of cell phones and other personal electronic devices (“PEDs”) inside all Massachusetts state courthouses. Our 2018 report, Cell Phones in the Courthouse: An Access to Justice Perspective, examined the disproportionate impact courthouse cell phone restrictions have on self-represented litigants and low-income court users. 
 
As that report demonstrated, many self-represented litigants need to use cell phones within the courtroom to display evidence, conduct legal research, or access language translation services. In addition, many court users require their cell phones to coordinate aspects of everyday life, such as ensuring proper childcare, obtaining transportation, or communicating with employers. Our report found that without access to these resources through their cell phones, self-represented litigants are placed at an even further disadvantage compared to litigants with attorneys. To fully correct the unintended consequences of these cell phone bans, Massachusetts Appleseed recommended that the Commonwealth adopt a universal permissive policy that allows cell phone use in courthouses statewide.
 
The Court’s Order temporarily eliminating all cell phone bans is a significant step towards that goal and has the potential to greatly expand access to justice in Massachusetts. We are extremely grateful to the Trial Court for this essential progress, but we urge the Trial Court to make this temporary change permanent in order to further increase self-represented litigants access to justice.

 

Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for our mailing list.

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

 

Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for future action alerts.