SECTION 1. Section 37P of chapter 71, as appearing in chapter 284 of the Acts of 2014, is hereby amended by striking, in subsection (b), the second paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following:-
In selecting a school resource officer (SRO), the chief of police shall assign candidates that the chief believes would strive to foster an optimal learning environment and educational community; provided further, that the chief of police shall give preference to candidates who have received specialized training in child and adolescent development, de-escalation and conflict resolution techniques with children and adolescents, behavioral health disorders in children and adolescents, 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. The superintendent and the chief of police shall enter into a written memorandum of understanding (MOU) 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 and police chief. The MOU shall: (1) state that SROs may use traditional policing techniques such as arrest, citation, and court referral only when necessary to address and prevent serious, real and immediate threats to the physical safety of the school and the wider community; (2) state that SROs should not become involved in routine discipline in response to non-violent school infractions such as tardiness, loitering, use of profanity, dress code violations and disruptive or disrespectful behaviors; (3) set forth protocols for utilizing the expertise of mental health professionals in addressing the needs of students with behavioral and emotional difficulties in crisis situations and otherwise; (4) require SROs to devote any professional development time to school-based or other training activities that promote heightened awareness of the various challenges faced by students in the school to which they are assigned, with an emphasis on those that impart information regarding child development, including the incidence and impact of adverse childhood experiences, de-escalation techniques, and implicit or unconscious bias; (5) specify how the school and police departments will regularly monitor and assure that SROs are complying with the terms of the MOU and avoiding inappropriate arrest, citation, or court referral; and (6) specify the manner of and division of responsibility for collecting and reporting all school-based arrests, citations, and court referrals of students to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in accordance with regulations promulgated by DESE, which shall collect and publish disaggregated data in a like manner as school discipline data made available for public review.
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