SECTION 1. Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as amended by section 11 of chapter 284 of the acts of 2014, is hereby amended by striking subsection (b) in its entirety, and inserting in place thereof the following:-
(b) (1) Every chief of police, in consultation with the superintendent and subject to appropriation, shall assign at least 1 school resource officer to serve the city, town, commonwealth charter school, regional school district or county agricultural school. In the case of a regional school district, commonwealth charter school or county agricultural school, the chief of police of the city or town where the school is located, in consultation with the superintendent, shall assign the school resource officer, which may be the same officer for all schools in the city or town.
(2) In assigning a school resource officer, the chief of police must choose a candidate that the chief believes would strive to foster an optimal learning environment and educational community; provided further, that the chief of police must give preference to candidates who have received specialized training in (i) child and adolescent development; (ii) de-escalation and conflict resolution techniques with children and adolescents; (iii) behavioral health disorders in children and adolescents; and (iv) alternatives to arrest and other juvenile justice diversion strategies and behavioral threat assessment methods. The appointment shall not be based solely on seniority. The performance of school resource officers shall be reviewed annually by the superintendent and the chief of police.
(3) The superintendent and the chief of police shall enter into a written memorandum of understanding to clearly define the role and duties of the school resource officer which shall be placed on file in the office of the school superintendent. Memorandum of understanding written under this section shall be reviewed biannually by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The memorandum of understanding shall include, at minimum, the following: (i) a mission statement outlining the overarching purpose of the school resource officer program which shall be one of positive collaboration, communication, and ongoing evaluation; (ii) the goals and objectives of the school resource officer program, which should be informed by a needs assessment to identify the issues impacting school safety; (iii) the role and responsibilities of the school resource officer, within the larger context of the educational mission and the school resource officer’s role related to discipline, teaching, crisis situations, and truancy; (iv) the level and type of commitment from partners, including allocations of funding and resources; (v) the governance structure which shall include the leadership team, the chain of command, the decision-making process, the lines of communications across state agencies, and school resource officer supervision and accountability; (vi) the process for selecting school resource officers; (vii) the minimum training requirements for school resource officers; (viii) the process by which partners will gather and share information; (ix)the process by which a school resource officer program will be evaluated for success; (x) a discussion of students’ rights related to a safe and positive school environment, police search and seizure, and use of force; (xi) the mechanisms that will be used to incorporate the school resource officer into the school environment and existing school-based prevention and promotion efforts; (xii) a process, created by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, for the collection and public sharing of data related to school resource officer programming, including numbers of school resource officers and law enforcement interventions, and outlining plans to openly and appropriately share information about arrests, police use of force, and school wide disciplinary actions by school resource officers with school staff and parents.
(4) The superintendent and the chief of police shall establish standard operating procedures to provide detailed guidance to school resource officers about daily operations, policy and procedures. Standard operating procedures may be included in the memorandum of understanding. Said procedures shall include, at minimum, the following: (i) a delineation of which offenses require a legal referral versus the use of traditional school discipline procedures, including behaviors that may not fall neatly into the categories of criminal offense or school discipline; (ii) the limitation of arrests for public order offenses to ensure that discipline remains the responsibility of school staff; (iii) a delineation of whom the officer reports to, how the administrator and the officer will collaborate to address incidents, and what the procedure is when there is a disagreement between the administrator and the school resource officer; (iv) when arrest or restraint of students or the taking of students into custody is appropriate, recognizing that these are actions of last resort to deal with offenses that cannot be handled through traditional school procedures; (v) procedures for arresting students, including whom should be consulted and when and where arrest should take place; (vi) procedures for calling in patrol officers to arrest students to protect the relationship between the school resource officer and the student body; (vii) when the school resource officer will speak with school staff and law enforcement offices to discuss issues, including at-risk students and ongoing investigations; (viii) what school meetings the school resource officer should attend; (ix) how school resource officers will be integrated into educational teams to help the school resource officer adapt to the school culture and improve understanding of school resources, referral options, and information sharing; (x) an outline of school resource uniform requirements, including law enforcement attire, a utility belt, and a service weapon, which should be concealed unless safety permits otherwise, recognizing that in some communities traditional police uniforms may create disruptions or mistrust among the student population and school resource officer uniforms can vary based on community needs and the requirements of the law enforcement agency; (xi) and an outline of when and how a school resource officer can search and question students and whether administrators and parents need to be alerted prior to the search.
(5) A school resource officer must receive initial and regular trainings. At minimum, training should include instruction on: (i) teaching, mentoring, and counseling students; (ii) working collaboratively with administrators and staff; (iii) managing time in a school environment; (iv) adhering to juvenile justice and privacy laws; (v) mental illness and mental health problems to better recognize the signs of emotional disturbance and intervene in mental health crisis; (vi) adolescent physical and social development and developmentally appropriate communication so that the school resource officer can better respond to youth misbehavior; (vii) how to implement controlled responses to promote fair and impartial reactions to misbehavior and offenses; (viii) how to recognize and respond to the causes and implications of trauma so that officers can intervene more effectively when signs of trauma appear; (ix) de-escalation techniques; (x) school-specific topics like bullying prevention, positive school discipline, substance abuse, truancy, dropout prevention, and school crisis planning; and (xi) cultural competence to prepare officers to communicate and tailor interventions based on an understanding of student and staff cultures.
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