SECTION 1. Chapter 15D of the General Laws is hereby amended in Section 4A subsection (c) by inserting after the words “best practices” the following:
On or before January 1 2018, the Department shall develop performance specification standards for prohibiting or severely limiting the use of suspension and expulsion for use only as a last resort 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 at minimum include: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; 2) engagement steps to be taken with the child and parent or guardian prior to suspension or expulsion; 3) requirements for communicating discipline policies including suspension and expulsion policies to staff, families and community partners; 4) specifications for achieving performance standards which, reward and incentivize 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.
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