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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 5: Parental waivers

Section 5. Parental waivers

(a). The requirements of Section 4 of this chapter may be waived with the prior written informed consent, to be provided annually, of the child's parents or legal guardian under the circumstances specified in this section. Such informed consent shall require that said parents or legal guardian personally visit the school to apply for the waiver and that they there be provided a full description in a language they can understand of the educational materials to be used in the different educational program choices and all the educational opportunities available to the child. If a parental waiver has been granted, the affected child may be transferred to classes teaching English and other subjects through bilingual education techniques or other generally-recognized educational methodologies permitted by law. Individual schools in which 20 students or more of a given grade level receive a waiver shall be required to offer such a class; in all other cases, such students must be permitted to transfer to a public school in which such a class is offered.

(b). The circumstances in which a parental exception waiver may be applied for under this section are as follows:

(1). Children who already know English: the child already possesses good English language skills, as measured by oral evaluation or standardized tests of English vocabulary comprehension, reading, and writing, in which the child scores approximately at or above the state average for his grade level or at or above the 5th grade average, whichever is lower; or

(2). Older children: the child is age 10 years or older, and it is the informed belief of the school principal and educational staff that an alternate course of educational study would be better suited to the child's overall educational progress and rapid acquisition of basic English language skills; or

(3). Children with special individual needs: the child already has been placed for a period of not less than thirty calendar days during that particular school year in an English language classroom and it is subsequently the informed belief of the school principal and educational staff that the child has such special and individual physical or psychological needs, above and beyond the child's lack of English proficiency, that an alternate course of educational study would be better suited to the child's overall educational development and rapid acquisition of English. A written description of no less than 250 words documenting these special individual needs for the specific child must be provided and permanently added to the child's official school records, and the waiver application must contain the original authorizing signatures of both the school principal and the local superintendent of schools. Waivers granted under this section cannot be applied for until after thirty calendar days of a given school year have passed, and this waiver process must be renewed each and every school year. Any such decision to issue such an individual waiver is to be made subject to the examination and approval of the local school superintendent, under guidelines established by and subject to the review of the local school committee and ultimately the state board of education. The existence of such special individual needs shall not compel issuance of a waiver, and the parents shall be fully informed of their right to refuse to agree to a waiver.