Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Logo
Education Laws and Regulations

603 CMR 53.00

Student Discipline — Effective July 1, 2014


  • 53.01: Purpose and Scope
  • 53.02: Definitions
  • 53.03: Policies and Procedures
  • 53.04: Investigation of Disciplinary Incidents
  • 53.05: Alternatives to Suspension under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H¾
  • 53.06: Notice of Suspension and Hearing under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H¾
  • 53.07: Emergency Removal under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H¾
  • 53.08: Principal's Hearing under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H¾
  • 53.09: Superintendent's Hearing under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H¾
  • 53.10: In-School Suspension under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H¾
  • 53.11: Exclusion from Extracurricular Activities and School-Sponsored Events
  • 53.12: Disciplinary Offenses under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H or 37H½
  • 53.13: Education Services and Academic Progress under M.G.L. c. 71, §§ 37H, 37H½, 37H¾
  • 53.14: Student Suspension and Expulsion Data Collection and Reporting
  • View All Sections

Most Recently Amended by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education: September 19, 2023

53.01: Purpose and Scope

(1) The purpose of 603 CMR 53.00 is:

  1. (a) for those discipline offenses subject to M.G.L. 71, § 37H¾, as set forth in 603 CMR 53.01(2)(a), to limit the use of long-term suspension as a consequence for student misconduct until other consequences have been considered and tried as appropriate;

  2. (b) to promote engagement of a student's parent in discussion of the student's misconduct, and options for responding to it;

  3. (c) to assure that every student who is expelled or suspended, regardless of the reason for suspension or expulsion, has the opportunity to receive education services to make academic progress during the period of suspension or expulsion; and,

  4. (d) to keep schools safe and supportive for all students while ensuring fair and effective disciplinary practices.

(2) 603 CMR 53.00 sets forth, for all public preschool, elementary, and secondary schools and programs in Massachusetts, including charter and virtual schools:

  1. (a) at 603 CMR 53.03 through 53.11, the minimum procedural requirements applicable to the suspension of a student for a disciplinary offense other than:

    1. possession of a dangerous weapon;
    2. possession of a controlled substance;
    3. assault on a member of the educational staff; or
    4. a felony charge or felony delinquency complaint or conviction, or adjudication or admission of guilt with respect to such felony, if a principal determines that the student's continued presence in school would have a substantial detrimental effect on the general welfare of the school, as provided in M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H or 37H½;
  2. (b) the minimum requirements and procedures necessary to ensure that all students who have been suspended, in-school or out-of-school, or expelled, regardless of the type of offense, have an opportunity to make academic progress during their period of suspension, expulsion, or removal from regular classroom activities; and

  3. (c) requirements pertaining to school discipline data reporting and analysis.

Regulatory Authority:
M.G.L. c.69, s. 1B & c.71, s. 37H & 37H 3/4

For an official copy of these regulations, please contact the State House Bookstore, at 617-727-2834 or visit Massachusetts State Bookstore.

Last Updated: September 25, 2023

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.