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New MA law gives suspended, expelled students options

Students who have been suspended or expelled from Massachusetts schools will now have more support to stay on track with their education thanks to a new law signed last week.

The law, which goes into effect in July 2014, requires that school districts provide options for their suspended or expelled students like referrals to alternative schools, access to online academic materials, and offers of tutoring.

According to a Boston Globe report on the law, school districts will be required to report the number of days each student is suspended or expelled during the school year to the state. School officials say this will allow the state to better investigate racial and ethnic disparities in these punishments.

The Massachusetts Elementary Principals Association called the legislation “unrealistic in many ways,” citing that school administrators do not have time or resources to collect work for students who have been put out of school. However, the state’s Elementary and Secondary Education commissioner, Mitchell Chester, says the law is necessary because “we shouldn’t be washing our hands of school-aged youth by expelling them.”

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