Tell Your State Senator: Schools Must Be Safe, Welcoming, and Supportive for All Students

The Massachusetts Senate Committee on Ways and Means recently released its FY23 budget proposal, and there are several important amendments that can help advance equitable access to educational opportunity.

Amendments #645 and #646, filed by Senator Chandler, would allocate $600,000 to support public schools and school districts in transitioning to safety models that do not rely on stationing police in schools, including implementing restorative justice practices and engaging students in the development of school safety plans. Research has shown that while having police in schools DOES NOT improve school safety (particularly with respect to preventing school shootings), police presence in schools HAS been tied to greater numbers of suspensions, lower graduation rates, and lower college enrollment rates. Police in schools also fuel long-standing racial inequities in education – in Massachusetts, Black and Latinx students represent 27% of all students, but 64% of all arrests.

Similarly, Senator DiDomenico’s amendment #673 would increase funding for safe and supportive schools, helping expand and improve strategies and tools so all students are empowered to succeed in school.

Amendment #824, filed by Senator Crighton, would ensure limited English proficient parents and students are provided with competent interpretation services at school. Too often, inadequate interpretation can leave limited English proficient parents misinformed and feeling powerless to fully participate in their child’s academic progress. This amendment would help protect the civil rights of limited English proficient parents and stop the inappropriate use of children as stand-in interpreters.

Together, these amendments will help disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline, address disparities in education, and create safe, welcoming, and supportive school environments for all students. In the wake of the many disruptions and traumas students have endured throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that we fight for all of these amendments to be included in the FY23 state budget.

We’ve already started a message for you – click “Start Writing” above to add your own details and urge your State Senator to co-sponsor Senate budget amendments #645, #646, #673, and #824. If your Senator has already co-sponsored all four of these Senate budget amendments, please thank them for their support.