Keeping kids in class.

MAC’s School Discipline project focuses its attention on school exclusion and the effects of zero tolerance policies and practices, particularly on students of color and students with disabilities. This work is rooted in the passage of the Education Reform Act of 1993, when school principals gained the authority to exclude children from school. Ever since, MAC has been receiving calls about children being suspended and expelled from school.

Through the advocacy of MAC’s School Discipline project, on August 6, 2012, Governor Deval Patrick signed House Bill 4332 into law as Chapter 222 of the Acts of 2012.

On April 29, 2014, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted final regulations for the implementation of the school discipline reform law, Chapter 222 of the Acts of 2012, which took effect on July 1, 2014.

The underlying principle of the law and regulations is to make exclusion from school a last resort, especially for all but the most serious offenses. Central to the new law and regulations is the requirement that for all offenses, if a student is to be excluded for more than 10 consecutive school days, the school district must offer the student alternative education services. In addition, for all offenses, during the first 10 days of exclusion, schools are required to provide education services so that the student can make academic progress despite absence from classes. The law and regulations also require the Department of Elementary Secondary Education to collect additional school discipline data from school districts, post the data, analyze the data, and follow up when schools exclude high numbers of students and when students of color or students with disabilities are disproportionately disciplined.

Chapter 222 (School Discipline Law) and Regulations

Additional resources, including a fact sheet and powerpoint presentation about the law, are available in School Discipline Resources.