Massachusetts - State Models and Supports: Model Policies, Resources, and Supports

Model Policies, Resources, And Supports
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State law requires state agencies to develop models and guidance for districts to support implementation of counseling, psychological, and social services.

Massachusetts General Laws ch 69.1P Safe and supportive schools framework

(a) As used in this section the term “safe and supportive schools” shall mean schools that foster a safe, positive, healthy and inclusive whole-school learning environment that: (i) enables students to develop positive relationships with adults and peers, regulate their emotions and behavior, achieve academic and non-academic success in school and maintain physical and psychological health and well-being; and (ii) integrates services and aligns initiatives that promote students’ behavioral health, including social and emotional learning, bullying prevention, trauma sensitivity, dropout prevention, truancy reduction, children’s mental health, foster care and homeless youth education, inclusion of students with disabilities, positive behavioral approaches that reduce suspensions and expulsions and other similar initiatives.

(b) Consistent with the framework recommended by the behavioral health and public schools task force created under section 19 of chapter 321 of the acts of 2008, the department of elementary and secondary education shall develop a safe and supportive schools framework. The framework shall provide guidance and support to schools to assist with the creation of safe and supportive schools that improve education outcomes for students.

(c) Subject to appropriation, any city, town or school district, by vote of its school committee, may implement the safe and supportive schools framework developed under subsection (b) in order to organize, integrate and sustain school and district-wide efforts to create safe and supportive school environments and coordinate and align student support initiatives.

Massachusetts General Laws ch 71.95 Suicide awareness and prevention training

(a) The department, subject to appropriation, shall adopt rules to require that all public school districts and commonwealth charter schools provide at least 2 hours of suicide awareness and prevention training every 3 years to all licensed school personnel. A new hire shall obtain the training within 6 months of being hired. The training shall be provided within the framework of existing in-service training programs offered by the department or as part of required professional development activities.
(b) The department shall, in consultation with the department of public health and suicide prevention experts, develop a list of approved training materials to fulfill the requirements of this section. Approved materials shall include training on how to identify appropriate mental health services both within the school and the larger community, and when and how to refer students and their families to those services.

(c) No person shall have a cause of action for loss or damage caused by an act or omission resulting from the implementation of this section or resulting from the training or lack of training required by this section.

(d) The training or lack of training required by this section shall not be construed to impose a specific duty of care.

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