Last Reviewed by State Dept of Education: 10/1/2006
Contact us with corrections or additions Massachusetts Last Updated: 9/29/2014
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Curriculum and Instruction
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Health Education
     Last Updated: 4/7/2014

Mandate: General Law 71.1 (no date available) requires all schools to provide instruction in health education, but grade levels or amounts of instruction are not specified. High school students are not required to complete specified units of health education to graduate.

 

Curriculum Content: General Law 71.1 specifies that, instruction in health education shall include, but shall not be limited to: consumer health, ecology, community health, body structure and function, safety, nutrition, fitness and body dynamics, dental health, emotional development, and training in the administration of first aid, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation." The Common Core of Learning (1994) outlines the state's basic standards for students and the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework (1999) provides a more detailed vision of standards for what students should be able to learn and know in health education in grades preK-12. The framework serves as a suggested curriculum for local schools. The School Health Manual (2007) includes topics on the school's role in child and adolescent health, school health services, and prevention and health promotion, and provides further detail on policy and practice in the state.  

 

State Assessment Requirement: None.

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Physical Education
     Last Updated: 4/8/2014

Mandate: General Law 71.1 (no date available) requires all schools to provide instruction in physical education, but grade levels or amounts of instruction are not specified. General Law 71.3 (no date available) says that, "Physical education shall be taught as a required subject in all grades for all students in the public schools for the purpose of promoting the physical well-being of such students." However, high school students are not required to complete specified units of physical education to graduate. Further, 603 CMR 26.05 (2012) states that each school must provide equal opportunity for physical education for all students

Exemptions: General Law 71.3 (no date available) specifies that "no pupil shall be required to take part in any military exercise if his parent or guardian is of any religious denomination conscientiously opposed to bearing arms, or is himself so opposed, and the school committee is so notified in writing; and no pupil shall be required to take part in physical education exercises if a licensed physician certifies in writing that in his opinion such physical education exercises would be injurious to the pupil."

 

Per HB4459 (2010), there is guidance on developing school district wellness policies to promote integrating requirements for physical education, recommending to be no less than 150 minutes per week at the elementary level and 225 minutes per week in middle and high school levels.  The law also states physical education requirements should be created and enforced to promote healthful levels of vigorous physical activity.


Curriculum Content: General Law 71.1 (no date available) requires instructions in "fitness and body dynamics" and General Law 71.3 (no date available) specifies that, "Instruction in physical education may include calisthenics, gymnastics and military drill." The Common Core of Learning (1994) outlines the state's basic standards for students and the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework (1999) provides a more detailed vision of standards for what students should be able to learn and know regarding physical activity and fitness in grades prek-12. The framework serves as a suggested curriculum for local schools.  HB4459 (2010) encourages improving the quality of physical education curricula by including classroom lectures identifying benefits of physical activity and health and selecting physical activities that help students use large muscle groups.


Physical Fitness Assessment: None.

Asthma Awareness Education
     Last Updated: 1/21/2006
Not specifically required.
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Emotional, Social, and Mental Health Education
     Last Updated: 7/19/2009

General Law 71.1 requires school health instruction to include emotional development. Standard 5 of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework (1999) recommends specific topics to be taught in emotional, social, and mental health education by the end of 5th, 8th, and 12th grade. These include social awareness as it relates to attitudes and behaviors, identifying feelings and emotions and exploring how their effect on others, stress management, and developing a positive sense of self. 

Character Education: The Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework (1999) recommends students be taught how to identify character traits such as honesty, trustworthiness, self-discipline, respectfulness, and kindness by grade 5.

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HIV, STD, and Pregnancy Prevention Education
     Last Updated: 7/19/2009

Mandate: Students are not required to receive instruction in HIV, STD, or pregnancy prevention at any level. However, in 1990 the Massachusetts Board of Education approved a formal policy [no direct link available] that urges local school districts to create programs which make instruction about AIDS/HIV available to every Massachusetts student at every grade level. These programs should be developed in a manner that respects local control over education and involves parents and representatives of the community. The Board believes that AIDS/HIV prevention education is most effective when integrated into a comprehensive health education and human services program." In addition, the Board recommended that all school districts consider making condoms available to students in a 1991 policy.

Curriculum Content: The Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework (1999) provides a suggested curriculum for schools to follow should they choose to offer instruction in HIV, STD, or pregnancy prevention.

Parental Approval: General Law 71.32A (no date available) requires that "every city, town, regional school district or vocational school district implementing or maintaining curriculum which primarily involves human sexual education or human sexuality issues shall adopt a policy ensuring parental/guardian notification. Such policy shall afford parents or guardians the flexibility to exempt their children from any portion of said curriculum through written notification to the school principal" (an opt-out" policy).

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Nutrition Education
     Last Updated: 11/22/2006

The state does not require students to receive instruction on nutrition education. However, learning standards for nutrition education are provided in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework (1999).

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Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Use Education
     Last Updated: 5/21/2008

Alcohol: The state does not require students to receive instruction on alcohol use prevention education. However, learning standards for alcohol use and abuse are provided in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework (1999).

Tobacco: The state does not require students to receive instruction on tobacco use prevention education. However, learning standards for tobacco use and abuse are provided in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework (1999).

Drugs: The state does not require students to receive instruction on drug use prevention education. However, learning standards for substance use and abuse are provided in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework (1999).

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Injury and Violence Prevention Education
     Last Updated: 8/25/2010

The Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework (1999) recommends students be taught violence prevention in grades preK-12.

Bullying/HarassmentGeneral Law 71 (2010) requires each school district, charter school, approved private day or residential school and collaborative school to provide age-appropriate instruction on bullying prevention incorporated into the curriculum in each grade .The curriculum must be evidence-based.

Standard 9 of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework (1999) recommends students are taught how to deal with bullying through role-play in grades K-5. Standard 11 recommends students in grades 6-8 learn about bullying and its effects through videos and discussion. The Standard also recommends students be taught how to define harassment based on gender, race, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, or handicap in grades 9-12. Standard 11 recommends students in grades 6-12 are taught the social, mental, emotional, and legal consequences of harassment.

Fighting/Gangs: Standard 9 and 11 of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework (1999) recommends students in grades 6-12 be taught how to recognize and get help for the various types of abuse. Standard 11 recommends students in grades K-12 are taught the factors leading to violence, conflict resolution skills, and how to identify helpful resources concerning violence and reasons why people join gangs and how gangs undermine the community and lead to violence.

Suicide and Other Self-Abuse Prevention: Standard 5 of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework (1999) recommends students are taught the signs of suicide and how to get help in grades 9-12.

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Staff
Requirements for All Educators Regarding Health Education
     Last Updated: 4/8/2014

Professional Development: Per General Law 71.38Q  (no date available), schools districts adopt and implement an annual professional development plan that includes training in the teaching of new curriculum frameworks and other skills, such as participatory decision making, and parent and community involvement. The plan also should address analyzing and accommodating diverse learning styles of all students and methods of collaboration among teachers, paraprofessionals and teacher assistants to accommodate such styles.  Further,

603 CMR 26.07 (2012) requires all public schools to provide annual in-service training for all school personnel regarding prevention of and response to discrimination and harassment. General Law 71 (2010) requires the bullying prevention and intervention plan of each district to include a provision for ongoing professional development to build the skills of all staff members to prevent, identify and respond to bullying.  The requirements of the professional development are outlined in the statute.  

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Requirements for Health Educators
     Last Updated: 6/9/2008

Pre-service Requirement: The minimum requirement for prospective health teachers in elementary, middle, and high school is a bachelor's degree, with no additional coursework in health. 603 CMR 7.05 (2006) provides the general guidelines.

Professional Development: Per General Law 71.38G (no date available), relevant professional development plan that meets board requirements for subject matter knowledge and teaching skills is required to be completed every 5 years for re-certification.

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Requirements for Physical Educators
     Last Updated: 6/10/2008

Pre-service Requirement: The minimum requirement for prospective physical education teachers in elementary, middle, and high school is a bachelor's degree. 603 CMR 7.05 (2006) provides the general guidelines.

Professional Development: Per General Law 71.38G (no date available), relevant professional development plan that meets board requirements for subject matter knowledge and teaching skills is required to be completed every 5 years for re-certification.

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Requirements for School Nurses
     Last Updated: 6/11/2008

Pre-service Requirement:  For licensure as a school nurse, 603 CMR 7.11 (2004) requires a valid registered nursing license in the state of Massachusetts, a bachelor's degree in nursing, a minimum of two full years of employment as a registered nurse in a clinical nursing setting, completion of an orientation program, and a passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills test. For licensure as a registered nurse, a candidate must have completed a state accredited program of registered nursing, possess a bachelor's degree, and pass a board approved examination according to General Law 112.74 (no date available).

Professional Development: None specified.

Student-to-Nurse Ratio: General Law 71.53 (no date available) requires there to be one or more nurses at each school.

Requirements for Non-Certified Personnel to Administer Medication
     Last Updated: 6/18/2008

Pre-service Requirement: None specified.

Professional Development: None specified.

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Requirements for School Counselors
     Last Updated: 6/23/2008

Pre-service Requirement: An initial license, per General Law 71.38G (2004) and 603 CMR 7.11 (2004), requires a master's degree in counseling, subject matter knowledge in 13 specified areas dependent on grade level being licensed for (either Pre-K-8 or 5-12), a 450 hour practicum in an educational setting, and a passing score on the Communications and Literacy Skills test.  

Professional Development: Per General Law 71.38G (2004), relevant professional development plan that meets board requirements for subject matter knowledge and teaching skills is required to be completed every 5 years for re-certification.

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: None specified.

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Requirements for School Psychologists
     Last Updated: 6/27/2008

 Pre-service Requirement: An initial license, per General Law 71.38G and 603 CMR 7.11 (2004), requires at least a master's degree in school psychology, approved by the National Association of School Psychologists, an advanced practicum of 1200 hours, 600 of which must have been in a school setting, and a passing score on the Communications and Literacy Skills test. 

Professional Development: Per General Law 71.38G (2004), relevant professional development plan that meets board requirements for subject matter knowledge and teaching skills is required to be completed every 5 years for re-certification. 

Student-to-Psychologist Ratio: None specified.

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Requirements for School Social Workers
     Last Updated: 7/9/2008

Pre-service Requirement: An initial license, per General Law 71.38G and 603 CMR 7.11 (2004), requires a master's degree in social work or counseling, course work and clinical experience in nine specified areas, a 900 hour practicum, 450 of which must have been working with children, adolescents, and families in an educational setting, and a passing score on the Communications and Literacy Skills test.

Professional Development Per General Law 71.38G (2004), relevant professional development plan that meets board requirements for subject matter knowledge and teaching skills is required to be completed every 5 years for re-certification.

Student-to-Social Worker Ratio: None specified.

 

Requirements for Food Service Personnel
     Last Updated: 7/14/2008

Pre-service Requirement: None specified.

Professional Development: None specified.

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Requirements for Athletic Coaches
     Last Updated: 7/19/2008

Pre-service Requirement: None specified.

Professional Development: None specified.

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Health Promoting Environment
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Wellness Policies
     Last Updated: 11/26/2011

Additional Accountability Requirements: HB4459 (2010) requires each School Wellness Advisory Council to review and evaluate the school district wellness policy every three yeas. Requirements for the review are outlined in the statute.

Additional Content Requirements: HB4459 (2010) allows the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to promulgate regulations and minimum standards to provide guidance for School Wellness Advisory Committees. Specific recommendations for the regulations are outlined in the statute.

Guidance Materials: The state Department of Education funds and collaborates with the John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition to operate an online policy development resource center. The state also gathers local wellness policies through the John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition through a voluntary basis submission process.

Other: None.

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School Meals Program
     Last Updated: 11/26/2011

Food Services: No state policy addressing school meals specifically. However, HB4459 (2010) requires the Department of Public Health to develop guidelines that apply to all competitive food and beverages sold at school. It also requires the Department of Education to review the "Chefs in Schools" program of Boston Public Schools to identify other schools where the program could be implemented.

Adequate Time to Eat: No state policy.

School Breakfast: General Law Chapter 69, Section 1c  (no date available) requires breakfast in public schools considered "in severe need" and where more than 50 percent of students have applied for free and reduced lunch.

Food Allergies: No state policy.  However, the state does offer a policy guidance document for local school districts, Managing Life Threatening Food Allergies (2002).

Farm-to-SchoolHB4459 (2010) establishes a preferrential purchasing program for local produce by state agencies. It also requires the department of agricultural resources to collect data including, but not limited to:

  • Public school districts and other educational institutions currently purchasing locally grown farm products, as well as school districts or other educational institutions not yet preferentially purchasing locally grown farm products,
  • The type of farm products public schools wish to purchase;
  • Farms interested in selling locally grown farm products to public schools or other educational institutions,
  • The types of locallygrown farm products available,
  • The names and contact information of farmers and farm organizations marketing the locally grown farm products.
  • The name of the procurement contact person at each public school district; (2) a list of public school districts that feature locally grown foods on their published cafeteria menus,
  • A list of public school districts that have school garden or greenhouse projects and those public school districts that include local agriculture in their curricula, and
  • A list of public school districts that include serving locally grown foods in their wellness policies as a strategy to encourage healthy student meals.
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Competitive Foods in School
     Last Updated: 9/29/2014
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HB4459 (2010) requires the Department of Public Health to develop regulations for all competitive foods and beverages sold on school grounds up to 30 minutes before the beginning of the school day or 30 minutes after the end of the school day. In the case of vending machines, however, the regulations apply at all times. The regulations may make reasonable exceptions for booster sales, fundraising and concession stands during the school day. The Department of Public Health must conduct a review of the regulations every 5 years and report the findings to the legislature. The report must include: (1) An assessment of success in implementing the regulations, (2) Challenges and barriers experienced in implementation (3) Changes in revenue received from reimbursable school meals and competitive food sales, (4) Changes in student participation in school meals, (5) recommendations for improvement of guidelines.

As a result of HB4459 (2010), the Public Health Council issued  Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages in Public Schools. The standards are as follows:

The standards define competitive foods are defined as those foods and beverages provided (1) school cafeterias, offered as a la carte items, (2) school buildings, including classrooms and hallways; (3) school stores; (4) school snack bars; (5) vending machines; (6) concession stands; (7) booster sales; (8) fundraising activities; (9) school-sponsored or school-related events; and (10) any other location on school property.  The competitive food standards do not apply to competitive foods and beverages sold on school grounds up to 30 minutes before the beginning or 30 minutes after the end of the school day. This exception does not apply to vending machines, however, which must comply at all times. The standards also require that all public schools make plain potable water readily available to all students during the day at no cost to the students and offer fresh fruit and non-fried vegetables for sale at any location where food is sold (except non-refrigerated vending machines and those dispensing only beverages. Schools may not use fryolators in the preparation of competitive foods and are required to make nutrition information available for students for non-prepackaged competitive foods and beverages (excluding fresh fruits or vegetables and foods or beverages sold during the school day at booster sales, concession stands and other school-sponsored  or school-related fundraisers and events).

Beverages

  • Juice: 100% fruit or vegetable juice with no added sugar, no more than 4 oz
  • Milk and Milk Substitutes:  Fat free or low-fat (1% or less), no more than 8 oz and 22 grams of sugar per 8 oz
  • Water: No added sugars, sweeteners or artificial sweeteners, but may contain natural flavorings and/or carbonation
  • Beverages with added sugar or sweeteners:  Any beverages with added sugar or sweeteners not already prohibited in section 225.200 will be phased out by August 1, 2013; provided, however, that a public school may provide or sell flavored milk or milk substitutes that contain the same amount or less sugar than plain fat-free or low-fat milk.   
  • Other Beverages:  No beverages other than juice, milk, milk substitutes and water may be sold or provided. 

Food

  • Calories: May not exceed 200 calories/item (except a la carte entrées, which may not exceed NSLP entrée items 
  • Fat: No more than 35% of total calories, except as provided in 105 CMR 225.200
  • Saturated Fat:  No more than 10% of total calories, except as provided in 105 CMR 225.2
  • Exceptions to fat and saturated fat include up to 1 ounce of nuts, nut butters, seeds, or reduced fat cheese.
  • Trans Fat: Must be trans-fat free.
  • Sugar: No more than 35% of total calories from total sugars. Exceptions include  non-fat or low-fat yogurt, including drinkable yogurt, with a a maximum of 30 grams of total sugars per 8 ounces and  100% fruit with no added sugar.
  • Sodium: No more than 200 mg per item. Exceptions include a la carte entrees (480 mg sodium limit)
  • Grains: All bread and other grain-based products must be whole grain
  • Artificial sweeteners: No food or beverage may contain an artificial sweetener.
  • Caffeine: No food or beverage may contain more than trace amounts of caffeine.

 

Fundraising Exemptions:

As of July 1, 2014, all fundraisers must meet USDA's Smart Snacks standards.

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Physical Activity Other Than Physical Education
     Last Updated: 12/20/2010

General Physical Activity Requirement: No state policy.

Recess or Physical Activity Breaks: No state policy requiring or recommending recess.

Recess Before Lunch: No state policy.

Walking/Biking to School
: No state policy.

Organized Sports
     Last Updated: 12/28/2010

Interscholastic Athletics: No state policy.

Concussion and Sports-Related Head Injury: General Law Chapter 111 Section 222 (2010) requires the Department of Education to direct the division of violence and injury prevention to develop a head injury safety training program in which all public schools and any school subject to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules shall participate. Participation in the program shall be required annually of coaches, trainers and parent volunteers for any extracurricular athletic activity; physicians and nurses who are employed by a school or school district or who volunteer to assist with an extracurricular athletic activity; school athletic directors; directors responsible for a school marching band; and a parent or legal guardian of a child who participates in an extracurricular athletic activity.  The training program must include (1) training in recognizing the symptoms of potentially catastrophic head injuries, concussion and injuries related to second impact syndrome and (2) safety rules and regulations, including information regarding post-concussion participation, and symptoms and consquences of a concussion.

General Law Chapter 111 Section 222 (2010) prohibits a student that has become unconscious during a practice or competition been diagnosed with a concussion by a medical professional from returning to practice or competition or participating in any extracurricular activity until they provide written authorization from a licensed medical provider. It also states that coaches, trainers or volunteers for extracurricular athletic activity may not encourage or permit a student engage in any unreasonably dangerous athletic technique that unnecessarily endangers the health of a student, including using a helmet or any other sports equipment as a weapon.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED): No state policy.

Safe and Drug-Free Schools
     Last Updated: 11/26/2011

603 CMR 26.08 (no date available) requires all school handbooks and codes of conduct to include a nondiscrimination policy that affirms the schools' non-tolerance for harassment and investigative procedures for such complaints and disciplinary measures. The handbook must be distributed annually to students, parents, and school personnel.

Fighting/Gangs: No state policy.

Weapons: General Law 71.37H (no date available) requires school district policies on the code of student conduct to include disciplinary measures to be taken for the possession or use of weapons. Furthermore, all student handbooks must contain provisions that state, "Any student is found on school premises or at a school-sponsored or school-related events, including athletic games, in possession of a dangerous weapon may be subject to expulsion from the school or school district by the principal."

General Law 71.37L (no date available) requires all school department personnel to report in writing to their immediate supervisor any incident involving a student possessing or using a dangerous weapon on school premises at any time. Supervisors must then file said report with the superintendent of the school, who then must file copies of the report with the local chief of police, the department of social services, the office of student services or its equivalent, and the local school committee.

Drugs & Alcohol: General Law 71:37H requires school district policies on the code of student conduct to include disciplinary measures to be taken for the possession or use of illegal substances. The principal of public school is also given authority to expel a student for use or possession of a controlled substance.

General Law 272:40A (no date available) prohibits the sale, distribution, or delivery of alcohol in any public school building or premises. Violators may be imprisoned up to 30 days and fined up to $100. 

Collaboration with Law Enforcement: No state policy..

Bullying, Harassment and Hazing
     Last Updated: 5/17/2011
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Bullying/HarassmentGeneral Laws Chapter 71 (2010) defines bullying as “the repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a victim that: (i) causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim’s property; (ii) places the victim in reasonable fear of harm to himself or of damage to his property; (iii) creates a hostile environment at school for the victim; (iv) infringes on the rights of the victim at school; or (v) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.” The statute prohibits bullying on school grounds, property immediately adjacent to school grounds, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, function or program whether on or off school grounds, at a school bus stop, on a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased or used by a school district or school or through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, leased or used by a school district or school. In addition, it prohibits bullying at a location, activity, function or program that is not school-related, or through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased or used by a school district or school, if the bullying creates a hostile environment at school for the victim, infringes on the rights of the victim at school or materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. It also prohibits retaliation against those reporting or providing information about bullying incidents.

General Law 71 (2010) requires each school district, charter school, non-public school, approved private day or residential school and collaborative school to develop, adhere to and update a plan to address bullying prevention and intervention in consultation with teachers, school staff, professional support personnel, school volunteers, administrators, community representatives, local law enforcement agencies, students, parents and guardians.  The plan must be updated at least biennially. Requirements of the plan are outlined in the statute. The Department of Education developed the Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan (2010) as guidance for the districts. Each school district must annually provide written notice of the relevant student-related sections of the plan to students and parents, and the entire written plan to staff. The plan must also be posted on the website of each school district or school. Each school principal or the person who holds a comparable position shall be responsible for the implementation and oversight of the plan at his school. Staff are required to immediately report any instances of bullying or retaliation they have witnessed or become aware of to the principal or named school official in charge of the plan. Additional requirements upon report of an incident are outlined in the statute. Further, the statute includes guidance for bullying incidents involving students from multiple districts and students who have graduated but are still under age 21. The statute requires the Department of Education to periodically review school districts, charter schools, approved private day or residential schools and collaborative schools to determine whether the districts and schools are in compliance with this act.

General Law 71B Chapter 3 (2010) requires that whenever the evaluation of the IEP team indicates that a child has a disability that affects social skills development or that the child is vulnerable to bullying, harassment or teasing because of the child’s disability, the IEP shall address the skills and proficiencies needed to avoid and respond to bullying, harassment or teasing.

Chapter 265 Section 43 of the General Laws states that whoever willfully and maliciously engages in a knowing pattern of conduct or series of acts over a period of time directed at a specific person which seriously alarms or annoys that person and would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and (2) makes a threat with the intent to place the person in imminent fear of death or bodily injury, shall be guilty of the crime of stalking and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years or by both such fine and imprisonment. This includes acts of “cyberbullying.”

Chapter 71 Section 18 (2010) establishes a commission for the purpose of making an investigation and study relative to bullying and cyber-bullying. The commission must report to the general court the results of its investigation and recommendations, along with drafts of legislation necessary to carry out the recommendations.

CyberbullyingGeneral Laws Chapter 71 (2010) defines “Cyber-bullying” as bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, which shall include, but shall not be limited to, any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications, instant messages or facsimile communications. Cyber-bullying shall also include (i) the creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person or (ii) the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages, if the creation or impersonation creates any of the conditions enumerated in clauses (i) to (v), inclusive, of the definition of bullying.  Cyber-bullying shall also include the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons, if the distribution or posting creates any of the conditions enumerated in clauses (i) to (v), inclusive, of the definition of bullying.

The statute prohibits bullying, whose definition including cyberbullying. Each school district must develop a plan to address bullying prevention and intervention, including cyberbullying. The plan must include professional development for staff that addresses information on the nature and incidence of cyberbullying and internet safety issues as they relate to cyberbullying. In addition, every public school providing computer access to students must have a policy regarding internet safety measures to protect students from inappropriate subject matter and materials that can be accessed via the internet and must notify parents or guardians of the policy. 

Hazing
: General Law 269.19 (no date available), enacted in 603 CMR 33.04 (no date available), requires secondary educational institutions to issue every student and recognized student group or organization a copy of General Laws 269.17 and 269.18 (no dates available). Each student group and organization must then distribute copies of said laws to their members and agree to comply with them. Secondary institutions must also report to the board of education that they have complied with this statute and adopted disciplinary policies for acts of hazing. General Law 269.17 makes hazing, defined within this law, a crime punishable by a fine up to $3,000 and/or up to one year's imprisonment. General Law 269.18 requires witnesses or those with knowledge of a hazing to report it to law enforcement if they are able to without imperiling themselves or others. Failure to do so is punishable by a fine up to $1,000.

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Crisis Management/Emergency Response
     Last Updated: 7/31/2008

Response & Management Plans: Section 363 of the FY02 state budget requires school superintendents to develop a multi-hazard evacuation plan for each school, which includes procedures for school crises, including plans and policies for maintaining a safe and orderly environment during a crisis and forming a crisis response team.

Reporting Incidents of Violence: General Law 71.37L (no date available) requires all school department personnel to report in writing to their immediate supervisor any incident involving a student possessing or using a dangerous weapon on school premises at any time. Supervisors must then file said report with the superintendent of the school, who then must file copies of the report with the local chief of police, the department of social services, the office of student services or its equivalent, and the local school committee. 603 CMR 26.08 (no date available) requires schools to develop and publish procedures for investigating and resolving complaints alleging discrimination or harassment.

Tobacco Use
     Last Updated: 11/22/2006

General Law 71.2A (no date available) states that it is unlawful for any primary or secondary public school student to use tobacco of any kind on school grounds during normal hours. General Law 71:37H (no date available) also prohibits the use of any tobacco product within school buildings, school facilities or on school grounds or buses by any individual including school personnel.

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Air Quality
     Last Updated: 5/20/2008

603 CMR 38:03 (no date available) requires that all capital instruction projects must implement containment procedures for dusts, gases, fumes, and other pollutants created during renovations/construction of a school building that are consistent with the "IAQ Guidelines for Occupied Buildings Under Construction."

The Massachusetts Department of Health and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommend that latex gloves not be used in food establishments due to severe allergic reactions in individuals sensitive to latex.

Pesticide Use
     Last Updated: 11/22/2006

Chapter 85 of the Acts of 2000, Section 11 prohibits the spraying of pesticides indoor or outdoor on school property while children are present. Written notification must be given to school staff, student, and their parents or guardians at least two working days before pesticides are applied and must also be posted prior to the pesticide application in a common area. The act further requires each school to adopt and implement an integrated pest management plan that covers both indoor and outdoor areas.

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Playground/Facility Safety
     Last Updated: 1/21/2006

No state policy.

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Student Services
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Screening for Health Conditions
     Last Updated: 11/26/2011

Vision and Hearing105 CMR 200.400 (1994) requires all public school students to have their vision and hearing tested annually.

Body Mass Index (BMI) Screening: 105 CMR 200.500 (2009) requires each school committe or board of health to adopt policies and procedures by June 30, 2010 to ensure that the BMI score and corresponding percentile is calculated for each student in grades 1, 4, 7 and 10. A report with the BMI percentile, along with explanatory materials, must be mailed or directly communicated to the parents or guardians.  Aggregate BMI results must be reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Parents or guardians must be provided with the opportunity to request, in writing, that their children not participate in the program. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health provides guidance in BMI Screening Guidelines for Schools (2009).

Chronic Health Conditions: No state policy.

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Administration of Medications
     Last Updated: 11/23/2011

Staff Administration : General Law 71.54B (2002) requires the state department of public health to establish regulations governing the administration of medications in school settings. 105 CMR 210.003 (1994) mandates school committees (local boards of education), in consultation with their local boards of health, adopt policies and procedures governing the administration of prescription medications. These policies should include the designation of a supervising school nurse, response to a medication emergency, dissemination of information to parents and guardians, and procedures for the resolution of questions between parents and the school. This policy also allows schools to administer epinephrine by auto-injector in life-threatening situations during the school day. 105 CMR 210.005 (1994) requires the school nurse to ensure that there is a proper medication order from a licensed prescriber, and a written authorization by a parent or guardian that approves the administration of prescription medication by the school nurse or designated school personnel.

105 CMR 210.100 allows a public school or non-public school district to register with the Department of Education to allow trained personnel to administer an epinephrine auto-injector in a life-threatening situation during the school day when a nurse is not immediately available. Conditions for the administration are outlined in the statute. Administration may occur in before or after school programs administered by the school, special school events and schools-sponsored activities on weekends if approved in the school policy developed pursuant to 105 CMR210.100.

Self-Administration of Asthma Medication: 05 CMR 210.006 (1994) allows the self administration of medication by students that is consistent with school policy provided that the student, school nurse, and parent or guardian enter into an agreement specifying under which conditions prescription medication may be self-administered. General Law 71.54B further clarifies that school districts may not prohibit students with asthma or other respiratory diseases from possessing and self-administering prescription inhalers.

Self-Administration of Anaphylactic Medication 05 CMR 210.006 (1994) allows the self administration of medication by students that is consistent with school policy provided that the student, school nurse, and parent or guardian enter into an agreement specifying under which conditions prescription medication may be self-administered. 

Self-Administration of Diabetes Medication05 CMR 210.006 (1994) allows the self administration of medication by students that is consistent with school policy provided that the student, school nurse, and parent or guardian enter into an agreement specifying under which conditions prescription medication may be self-administered. General Law 71.54B further clarifies school district shall not prohibit a student with diabetes from possessing and administering a glucose monitoring test and insulin delivery system, in accordance with department of public health regulations concerning a student’s self-administration of a prescription medication.

Self-Administration of General Medication: 105 CMR 210.006 (1994) allows the self administration of medication by students that is consistent with school policy provided that the student, school nurse, and parent or guardian enter into an agreement specifying under which conditions prescription medication may be self-administered. Further, written authorization from a student's parent or guardian that allows self-administration of prescription medication is provided.  105 CMR 210.003 requires the school committee (local boards of education) or board of trustees to adopt policies and procedures governing the administration of prescription medications and self administration of prescription medications within the school system. 

Storage & Record-keeping: 105 CMR 210.003 mandates school committees (local boards of education), in consultation with their local boards of health, adopt policies for the documentation of the administration of prescription medications, storage of prescription medications, and reporting and documenting of medication errors.

Psychotropic Medications: General Law 71.54B states that "the department of public health shall promulgate regulations governing the administration of medications, including psychotropic medications to children in school settings".

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Counseling and Mental Health Services
     Last Updated: 8/13/2008

Requirement to Provide Services: 603 CMR 26.04 (no date available) states, "no materials, tests or procedures shall be employed for guidance purposes that discriminate and/or limit choices on the basis of sexual orientation". The Massachusetts Department of Education's Recommendations on the Support and Safety of Gay and Lesbian Students suggest school counseling services provide counseling and support groups for students and their families, addressing issues of particular concern for gay and lesbian students.

Identification of Students with Mental or Emotional Disorders: No state policy.

Substance Abuse: No state policy.

Suicide Prevention: No state policy.

HIV, STD, and Pregnancy Testing and Counseling: The State Board of Education's AIDS/HIV Prevention Education Policy (1991) [no link available] recommends all school committees consider making condoms available at the secondary school level.

Immunity of Liability: General Law 258.9 (no date available) indemnifies public employees for injuries, death, or other losses caused by negligent or wrongful act or omission while acting within the scope of his or her employment.

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Immunization
     Last Updated: 5/18/2011

Detailed, current information about immunization requirements by state is maintained by the National Network for Immunization Information.  Select your state from the drop down box under Search for State Vaccine Requirements for School Entry."

ExemptionsGeneral Law 76.15 (no date available) allows for medical exemption from immunization requirements upon certification by a physician that he has personally examined the child and that, in his opinion, their physical condition is such that his health would be endangered by immunizations. The certification must be submitted at the beginning of each school year to the physician in charge of the school health program. If the physician in charge of the school health program does not agree with the opinion of the child's physician, the matter shall be referred to the department of public health, whose decision will be final. General Law 76.15 (no date available) also allows for religious exemption.  In the absence of an emergency or epidemic of disease declared by the department of public health, no child whose parent or guardian states in writing that vaccination or immunization conflicts with his sincere religious beliefs shall be required to present a medical exemption certificate in order to be admitted to school.

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Accommodation
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Staff with HIV
     Last Updated: 1/21/2006

No state policy.

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Students with HIV
     Last Updated: 1/21/2006

No state policy. However, the state does offer a voluntary policy guidance document for local school districts that addresses students with HIV, "Medical Policy Guidelines: Children and Adolescents with HIV Infection/AIDS in School Settings" (1991) [ no direct link available].

Pregnant or Parenting Students
     Last Updated: 1/21/2006

No state policy.

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Individual Health Plan for Students
     Last Updated: 1/21/2006

No state policy.

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Coordination/ Implementation
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Coordinating or Advisory Councils
     Last Updated: 10/2/2011

State level: General Law 15.1G (no date available) requires the establishment of an advisory council to the state board of education to focus on various areas, including comprehensive health education programs, and to make programmatic recommendations that fulfill the goals established by the board. The Interdisciplinary Health Education and Human Services Advisory Council, made up of health professionals, concerned representatives of the public and the public schools, and representatives of other state agencies, provides advice on legislation, regulations, and guidelines related to instituting comprehensive health education and services in the public schools.

SB2314 (2010) establishes a commission on school nutrition and childhood obesity for the purpose of making an investigation and study of childhood obesity and effective programs promoting proper nutrition and exercise for children. The requirements for the members of the commission are outlined in the statute.

The commission shall conduct a comprehensive review of programs promoting proper nutrition for children at each stage of development, both inside and outside of the school setting.

Local Level: General Law 71.38O (no date available) allows for local sex education advisory committees to provide advice to local school boards "concerning reading, visual aid and all other material pertaining to sex education. Said committee shall consist of eleven members, one of whom shall be a physician and seven of whom shall be parents of children attending a school of such city, town or regional school district."

SB4459 (2011) requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Public Health to promulgate regulations requiring all school districts to convene a School Wellness Policy Advisory Committee  to develop and to recommend to the superintendent of schools and school committee a school district wellness policy addressing school nutrition, nutrition education, and physical activity.

 

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School Health Program Coordinators
     Last Updated: 8/18/2008

State Level: No state policy.

Local Level: No state policy.

Confidentiality
     Last Updated: 8/21/2008

Student Health-Related Records:  603 CMR 23.05 (1995) places responsibility on school principals and other designated persons to maintain the privacy and security of all students' records, including students' health records. The state department of education maintains an online summary of regulations pertaining to student records

Student Health-Related Services: General Law 112.129A (no date available) states that "all communications between a licensed psychologist and the individuals with whom the psychologist engages in the practice of psychology are confidential". Similarly, General Law 112.135A (no date available) states that "all communications between a social worker employed in a state, county, or municipal governmental agency, and a client are confidential."

Limitations on Student Surveys
     Last Updated: 1/21/2006

No state policy. Massachusetts adheres to the federal regulations set forth in the federal Pupil Protection and Rights Act (PPRA).

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