Massachusetts Legislation

School districts need guidance to bring athletics into the 21st century.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will and should provide that guidance.

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Massachusetts S. 247/H. 516
Jointly filed by Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Creem and Representative Kay Khan

An Act to Remodel Public School Athletics through Social Emotional Learning

Section 37O of chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2020 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting at the end thereof the following:–

(o) The department of elementary and secondary education shall publish, on or before June 30, 2024, guidelines for the implementation of social and emotional learning curricula in middle and high school athletic programs.

Such curricula shall include, but shall not be limited to, explicitly teaching students and coaches how to: (1) create safe, supportive and bias-free team cultures; (2) provide students age-appropriate leadership roles role in making decisions and carrying out responsibilities within the team framework, including empowering students to speak up and report behaviors that are contrary to a safe, supportive and bias-free culture; (3) formulate lessons and guidance that address hate, bias and negative behaviors to foster healthy, responsible norms on sports teams; (4) build and sustain positive relationships with others; and (5) develop such other skills that will assist them in overcoming physical, social, and emotional obstacles in athletic competition and in their lives, such as emotion management, conflict resolution, ethical decision-making, and problem-solving.

The guidelines shall be updated biennially. A school district shall consider the guidelines if it elects to integrate social emotional learning into its athletic programs. For purposes of this section, social and emotional learning shall mean the processes by which children acquire the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to recognize and manage their emotions, demonstrate caring and concern for others, establish positive relationships, make responsible decisions and constructively handle challenging social situations. The department of elementary and secondary education shall integrate the guidelines into the safe and supportive schools framework created pursuant to section 1P of chapter 69.