Advocates: Schools sending kids — many with special needs – home without hearings

Massachusetts schools are skirting a state law meant to curb suspensions by quietly sending students — many of them with special needs — home early without properly recording the absences.

News Story (Massachusetts)

Kathleen McKiernan
Boston Herald
October 5, 2016

Tags: Schools: Discipline, Schools: Special Education

Organizations mentioned/involved: Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS)


“Over the past two years, I have represented over 100 students — more than 90 percent have experienced ‘partial day’ suspensions,” said Elizabeth McIntyre, an attorney for Greater Boston Legal Services who represents students with special needs. “The new law makes it clear that this practice is illegal.”

A law that went into 
effect in July 2014 called for schools to keep kids in the classroom, and when their behavior does merit a suspension, to provide them with homework so they can keep on studying. The law represented a huge change from prior zero-tolerance policies that gave students no recourse or access to curriculum if they were suspended.

Now, school administrators are obligated to hold a hearing with the students and their parents to discuss the suspension.