State law requires districts to implement school-based alcohol and drug referral, intervention or treatment programs for students with substance use disorders.
General Laws of Massachusetts 69.1I Performances of public school districts and individual public schools; evaluation system; assessment instruments; reports
Each school district shall file a description of the following instructional procedures and programs with the department every year: (i) drug, tobacco and alcohol abuse programs.
General Laws of Massachusetts 71.91 Recovery High School
(a) The term “Recovery High School” shall mean a public school or collaborative program for students diagnosed with substance use disorder or dependency, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV-TR, that provides: (1) a comprehensive 4-year high school education, and (2) a structured plan of recovery. (b) A school district shall transfer the state average foundation budget per pupil to a Recovery High School for a student meeting the following criteria: (1) the student is currently enrolled in the district or currently resides in the municipality in which the district is located; (2) the student is considered by a clinician, as defined by 105 CMR 164.006, to be clinically appropriate, using the criteria for Substance Use Disorders as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV-TR; and (3) the student meets all matriculation criteria as outlined by the sending district and the department of elementary and secondary education, with determination of academic eligibility based on existing documentation provided by the district. The district and the Recovery High School shall arrange to confer a diploma when a student completes state and district-mandated graduation requirements. (c) A Recovery High School shall submit to the board of elementary and secondary education data considered necessary by the board to provide information regarding each student’s academic performance. A Recovery High School shall also submit to the department of public health data regarding each student’s recovery. (d) The board of elementary and secondary education, in consultation with the department of public health and the department of mental health, shall promulgate rules and regulations, as necessary to implement this section. (e) Failure by a school district to transfer funds to a Recovery High School as required in subsection (b) shall result in a deduction of the amount therein from the home school district’s chapter 70 per pupil allotment for the following fiscal year.
General Laws of Massachusetts 71.96 Substance Use Prevention Policy.
Each public school shall have a policy regarding substance use prevention and the education of its students about the dangers of substance abuse. The school shall notify the parents or guardians of all students attending the school of the policy and shall post the policy on the school's website. The policy, and any Standard and rules enforcing the policy, shall be prescribed by the school committee in conjunction with the superintendent or the board of trustees of a charter school. The department of elementary and secondary education, in consultation with the department of public health, shall provide guidance and recommendations to assist schools with developing and implementing effective substance use prevention and abuse education policies and shall make such guidance and recommendations publicly available on the department’s website. Guidance and recommendations may include educating parents or guardians on recognizing warning signs of substance abuse and providing available resources. Guidance and recommendations shall be reviewed and regularly updated to reflect applicable research and best practices. Each school district and charter school shall file its substance use prevention and abuse education policies with the department of elementary and secondary education in a manner and form prescribed by the department.
General Laws of Massachusetts 71.97 Verbal screening tool for substance abuse disorders
(a) Subject to appropriation, each city, town, regional school district, charter school or vocational school district shall utilize a verbal screening tool to screen pupils for substance use disorders. Screenings shall occur on an annual basis and occur at 2 different grade levels as recommended by the department of elementary and secondary education, in consultation with the department of public health. Parents or guardians of a pupil to be screened pursuant to this section shall be notified prior to the start of the school year. Verbal screening tools shall be approved by the department of elementary and secondary education, in conjunction with the department of public health. De-identified screening results shall be reported to the department of public health, in a manner to be determined by the department of public health, not later than 90 days after completion of the screening.
(b) A pupil or the pupil’s parent or guardian may opt out of the screening by written notification at any time prior to or during the screening. A city, town, regional school district, charter school or vocational school district utilizing a verbal screening tool shall comply with the department of elementary and secondary education’s regulations relative to consent.
(c) Any statement, response or disclosure made by a pupil during a verbal substance use disorder screening shall be considered confidential information and shall not be disclosed by a person receiving the statement, response or disclosure to any other person without the prior written consent of the pupil, parent or guardian, except in cases of immediate medical emergency or a disclosure is otherwise required by state law. Such consent shall be documented on a form approved by the department of public health and shall not be subject to discovery or subpoena in any civil, criminal, legislative or administrative proceeding. No record of any statement, response or disclosure shall be made in any form, written, electronic or otherwise, that includes information identifying the pupil.
(d) The department of elementary and secondary education shall notify each school district in writing of the requirement to screen students for substance use disorders pursuant to this section. School districts with alternative substance use screening policies may, on a form provided by the department, opt out of the required verbal screening tool. The form shall be signed by the school superintendent and provide a detailed description of the alternative substance use program the district has implemented and the reasons why the required verbal screening tool is not appropriate for the district.
(e) 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.