SECTION 1. Chapter 15D of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting, after section 12, the following section:-
Section 12A. Pursuant to clause (t) of section 2, the department shall develop performance standards for prohibiting or significantly limiting the use of suspension and expulsion in all licensed early education and care programs. The standards shall ensure that expulsion is only used in extraordinary circumstances where there is a serious safety threat that cannot be reduced or eliminated by the provision of reasonable program modifications.
The standards shall include, but not be limited to: (1) benchmarks and goals for supporting children's social, emotional and behavioral development to include reducing the use of exclusion as a disciplinary tool and for eliminating disparities in the use of suspension and expulsion, and facilitating referrals for children with intensive needs; (2) engagement steps to be taken with the child and parent or guardian prior to suspension or expulsion; (3) requirements for communicating disciplinary policies, including suspension and expulsion policies, to staff, families and community partners; (4) pathways for programs to access technical assistance to support ongoing development of staff and teacher skills for supporting children's social, emotional and behavioral development, reducing disparities and limiting the use of suspension and expulsion; and (5) requirements for reporting the use of suspension or expulsion.
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