In response to the nationwide protests against police brutality and white supremacy this summer, the Massachusetts legislature has been working to pass a sweeping police reform bill. Working alongside coalition and community partners, we’ve been advocating for youth-specific provisions within the bill that help to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and address the over-policing of Massachusetts schools that disproportionately impacts Black and Latinx students.
Yesterday evening, the conference committee that has been negotiating the bill for several months released their finalized version, and I’m excited to report that many of the provisions we’ve been fighting for made it in!
Public Accountability on School Policing:
  • Removes state mandate to assign a School Resource Officer (SRO) and shifts the decision to superintendents
  • Requires public reporting of arrests/law enforcement referrals and mental health support spending and staffing
Preventing Racial Profiling of Students:
  • SROs subject to restrictions on sharing student information
  • Restricts sharing student information with Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), Commonwealth Fusion Center, and gang databases
School Resource Officer MOUs:
  • Requires public reporting of every district’s school policing MOU annually
  • Requires schools to adopt model MOU and publicly file MOUs with DESE
Training for School Resource Officers:
  • Requires SROs to be certified and trained
While there’s still work to be done, this is a big step forward in the right direction to help us promote racial justice and police accountability in schools, protect the rights of young people, and ensure all students feel safe and supported in their pursuit of educational opportunity. 
Our thanks to House Speaker DeLeo, Senate President Spilka, and the members of the conference committee for including protections for young people in this key piece of legislation. Many thanks to Citizens for Juvenile Justice as well for their leadership of the Juvenile Justice Coalition and rapid analysis of the finalized bill!


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