Boston Public Schools approves new policy on sharing student information with law enforcement

BOSTON — Boston Public Schools have a new policy on how much student information it shares with law enforcement.

The school committee unanimously approved the new guidelines Wednesday night.

>> Policy regarding preparing and sharing student incident reports and other student information with the Boston Police Dept.

The school board vote comes 3 years after an East Boston High student was deported to El Salvador when a school police officer filed an incident report including the student’s immigration status and allegedly misidentified him as a gang associate without evidence of a criminal record.

The new policy restricts types of conduct reported to the police like misdemeanor crimes that don’t involve weapons and it eliminates the practice of creating intelligence reports on students.

Incident reports can never include a student’s immigration status or ethnicity.

“I think students are going to be able to go to the school without thinking the police are going to profile them, just because they’re Latino. Just because of how they look like,” said Patricia Montes of Centro Presente.

The new policy does require school police notify administrators when an incident report is filed, but advocates including Janelle Dempsey from Lawyers for Civil Rights say the new policy doesn’t give BPS enough control over the information it does report.

>> BPS Failure to Adhere Press Release on School Policing Data

“There is still concerns that the policy as written would not have prevented the deportation of the East Boston student that brought this all about,” said Dempsey.

While the Boston schools are looking to limit the information it shares with the Boston Police, the Boston police are being called out for failing to share student arrest information with DESE.

A coalition of youth advocates and attorneys found statewide under-reporting by police departments and school districts in violation of the Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2018.

Cities like Springfield, Worcester, and Lowell didn’t provide any data at all.

Matt Cregor, from the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee, says Boston only reported six student arrests between 2018-2019 when a Boston Globe report had the tally at 114.

“We don’t really understand, despite all this debate about the role of police in our society and our schools what police are doing when they’re in the very presence of our school children," said Cregor.

We reached out to the Boston Police Department for comment and have not heard back.

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