Safe & Supportive Schools
Violence, Trauma, and Substance Abuse Prevention
Safe & Healthy Learning Environments prevent violence, trauma, and substance abuse by working collaboratively with school staff, students and parents, and by coordinating efforts with related federal, state and community efforts and resources. Information about select Department of Elementary and Secondary Education programs and supports can be accessed below, as can several related outside resources.
Recently, community tragedies such as the violence at the Boston Marathon and Sandy Hook Elementary are creating concerns and questions for our students, staff, and community. The Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center has posted links to a number of resources that will aid schools and district in Helping Youth and Children Recover From Traumatic Events.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE)
G.L. c. 71, as amended by sections 60 and 61 of Chapter 256 of the Acts of 2010, requires public schools to include in health education the topic of safe and healthy relationships with a focus on preventing sexual and domestic violence. Additionally, subject to appropriation, schools are required to implement specific policies and discipline codes that address teen dating violence in public schools. This guidance contains recommendations for developing such policies and discipline codes.
Bullying Prevention and Intervention and Social and Emotional Learning
Massachusetts Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)
Behavioral Health and Public Schools (BHPS) Framework and Assessment Tool
BHPS Task Force Final Report
The ESE Trauma Sensitive Schools website provides general information about trauma, the Safe and Supportive Learning Environments grant program, and links for external resources. Trauma Sensitive Schools provide an environment that addresses the educational and psycho-social needs of students who have experienced trauma. Trauma may be caused by circumstances including, but not limited to, family violence, community violence, war, and homelessness.
The Safe Schools Program for Gay and Lesbian Students was founded in 1993 by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. Responding to evidence indicating increased levels of suicidality and other risk behaviors among gay and lesbian students, the Safe Schools Program provides a range of services designed to help schools implement Chapter 76, Section 5 (the Massachusetts Student Anti-Discrimination Law), the State Board of Education's Recommendations on the Support and Safety of Gay and Lesbian Students, and the Access to Equal Educational Opportunity Regulations (603 CMR 26.00). For further information on making schools safe for gay and lesbian students, please refer to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education document Gay/Straight Alliances: A Student Guide.