Massachusetts - Safety and Security Partnerships: Partnerships

Policy Type: 

State law authorizes the placement of local law enforcement or security personnel and establishes clear guidelines and safeguards regarding the appropriate role of officers on school campuses.

Massachusetts General Laws ch 71.37P School Resource officers

(a) As used in this section the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:

"Chief of police", the chief of police or the board or officer having control of the police in a city or town.

"School resource officer", a duly sworn municipal police officer with all necessary training, up-to-date certificates or a special officer appointed by the chief of police charged with providing law enforcement and security services to elementary and secondary public schools. For the purpose of this section a school resource officer shall be exempt under subsection (j) of section 10 of chapter 269, while serving in the officer's official capacity.

(b) Every chief of police, in consultation with the superintendent and subject to appropriation, shall assign at least 1 school resource officer to serve the city, town, commonwealth charter school, regional school district or county agricultural school. In the case of a regional school district, commonwealth charter school or county agriculture school, the chief of police of the city or town where the school is located, in consultation with the superintendent, shall assign the school resource officer, which may be the same officer for all schools in the city or town.

In assigning a school resource officer, the chief of police shall consider candidates that the chief believes would strive to foster an optimal learning environment and educational community; provided further, that the chief of police may give preference to candidates who have received specialized training in child and adolescent development, de-escalation and conflict resolution techniques with children and adolescents, behavioral health disorders in children and adolescents, alternatives to arrest and other juvenile justice diversion strategies and behavioral threat assessment methods. The appointment shall not be based solely on seniority. The performance of school resource officers shall be reviewed annually by the superintendent and the chief of police. The superintendent and the chief of police shall enter into a written memorandum of understanding to clearly define the role and duties of the school resource officer which shall be placed on file in the office of the school superintendent.

(c) Upon written application by a school department of a city or town, in consultation with the chief of police, a regional school district or a county agricultural school, the commissioner of elementary and secondary education may waive the requirements of this section if the commissioner believes a school resource officer would not assist that particular city or town, regional school district or county agricultural school to ensure school safety. The written application shall include: (i) the reasons for the waiver request; (ii) data or evidence supporting the waiver request; and (iii) a description of, and supporting data for, alternative procedures and resources relied upon to ensure safe schools.

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