State law requires each school committee and Commonwealth charter school board of trustees to adopt an emergency medical and behavioral response plan (MERP), update it as needed, and submit it to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) every three years. The law, M.G.L. c. 69, § 8A, was enacted in 2012. The statute was amended in 2022 to specify that emergency response plans must address behavioral health medical emergencies as well as medical emergencies and must include protocols for informing parents/guardians and reporting to DESE when schools contact police, EMTs, or other non-behavioral health personnel to respond to a behavioral health crisis.
Updated plans are to be submitted to the Department on or before September 1, 2024.
Superintendents should submit plans on behalf of their districts' schools and are encouraged to use the MERP DropBox in the Security Portal to do so. For the superintendent or designee to submit information through the MERP DropBox, a district-level directory administrator must assign that person the MERP DropBox role in that person's profile. If districts have any difficulty using the DropBox, they may email the plan(s) to DESE at MERP@doe.mass.edu . Before submitting their schools' plans, DESE is asking districts to name the file(s) according to the following convention: 8DigitSchoolCode_School Name_ DistrictName_Date. For example: 01650003_Beebe_MaldenPS_08-28-24. School and district names can be abbreviated. To confirm a school code, search for the school under "public schools" on Profiles. For assistance, please contact the Office of Student and Family Support via MERP@doe.mass.edu or (781) 338-3010.
Model Medical and Behavioral Emergency Response Plan — June 2023
Last Updated: September 14, 2023
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149
Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370
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