Student and Family Support (SFS)

Rethinking Discipline Initiative

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (Department) goal is to assist in the reduction of inappropriate or excessive use of long-term suspension and expulsion, including disparate rates of suspension and expulsion for students with disabilities and/or for students of color. Since June 2016, the Department has worked with over 30 identified schools/districts to provide a range of supports including technical assistance and professional development opportunities through a Professional Learning Network. This web page outlines a number of Massachusetts specific and federal resources related to school climate and alternatives to discipline.

Student Discipline Resources and Information

Federal Resources and Information

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Addressing the Root Causes of Disciplinary Disparities: An Educator's Action Planning Guide — from the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments
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Rethink School Discipline: Resource Guide for Superintendent Action — from the U.S. Department of Education
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Guiding Principles: A resource Guide for improving School Climate and Discipline
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Parent checklist: The U.S. Department of Education, America Achieves, the National Council of La Raza, the National Parent Teacher Association, and the United Negro College Fund has released a parent checklist with questions and resources that parents and caregivers can use to help ensure their children are getting the education they deserve.
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Supportive School Discipline — Communities of Practice
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School Climate Discipline Guidance Package
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National Child Traumatic Stress Network
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CDC's Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study

Last Updated: February 19, 2021

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

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.