S.2963, An Act relative to justice, equity and accountability in law enforcement in the Commonwealth, may change the relationship between police and schools.
The bill prohibits school department personnel and school resource officers from sharing certain student information with municipal, county, state or federal law enforcement officers or agencies. The following information shall not be disclosed to law enforcement: “immigration status; citizenship; neighborhood of residence; religion; national origin; ethnicity; or, suspected, alleged, or confirmed gang affiliation, unless it is germane to a specific unlawful incident or to a specific prospect of unlawful activity the school is otherwise required to report.”
School Resource Officers:
This bill removes the requirement that all school districts have a school resource officer, and replaces it with language that gives the superintendent discretion to make such a request. The bill establishes a Model School Resource Officer Memorandum of Understanding taskforce to develop a model memorandum to formalize and clarify implementation of the partnership between the school and the school resource officer. Additionally, it requires DESE to collect data on the number of mental and social emotional health support personnel and the number of school resource officers employed by each local education agency and report such data on its website.
The new Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission School Resource Officers shall develop a specialized training and certification for school resource officers. Such training will include but not be limited to: the ways in which legal standards regarding police interaction and arrest procedures differ for juveniles compared to adults; child and adolescent cognitive development, as well as the impact of trauma, mental illness, behavioral addictions, and developmental disabilities on child and adolescent development and behavior; engagement and de-escalation tactics with youth; strategies for resolving conflict and diverting youth in lieu of making an arrest; hate crime identification; anti-bias, anti-racism and anti-harassment strategies; bullying and cyberbullying; and comprehensive training to help school resource officers interact effectively with the school and community.