Skip To Main Content

December 19, 2023 Minutes

george school
December 19, 2023 Minutes



Brockton, Massachusetts        Brockton School Committee Meeting        December 19, 2023


A meeting of the Brockton School Committee was held this evening at the George M. Romm Little Theatre of Brockton High School at six o'clock.  These minutes contain a summary of the meeting and lists items that were under discussion.


Mrs. Judy Sullivan, Mr. Jared Homer, Mrs. Kathleen Ehlers, Vice-Chair, Mrs. Cynthia Rivas Mendes,

Mr. Tony Rodrigues, Ms. Asack, Mr. Timothy Sullivan (via phone), Mayor Robert F. Sullivan, Chair


Also Present

Dr. James F. Cobbs, Acting Superintendent of Schools, Cabinet Members




Mayor Robert F. Sullivan, School Committee Chair, called the meeting to order at 6:02p, and read the following to the record, followed by a salute to the flag: 

Welcome to the meeting of the Brockton Public School Committee this is the agenda that will be discussed this evening, please note that the hearing of visitors is included, if you have a statement or question please give your name to the secretary.

In addition to attending, the public can view this meeting via television on Comcast Channel 8 and 1071HD Version and online via this link:

Mayor Sullivan then took roll call to establish a quorum.

Mrs. Sullivan (Here)

Mr. Homer (Here)

Mrs. Ehlers, Vice-Chair (Here)

Mrs. Rivas Mendes (Here)

Mr. Rodrigues (Here)

Ms. Asack (Here)

Mr. T. Sullivan (via phone) (Here)


Mayor Robert F. Sullivan, Chair (Here)





There was one Hearing of Visitor.

Ms. Faith Tobon a Brockton Resident and Teacher spoke about 10-years of data (DESE) at Brockton High School, and student issues regarding cell phones.

Superintendent’s Report
































A.      Recognitions

·         Outgoing Vice-Chair School Committee Member

·         Outgoing School Committee Members


Mrs. Rivas Mendes motioned to move the order of Recognitions before Executive Session (VII).

Seconded by Mr. Rodrigues.

Mayor Sullivan took roll call.

Mrs. Sullivan – Yes

Mr. Homer - Yes

Mrs. Ehlers, Vice-Chair - Yes

Mrs. Rivas Mendes -Yes

Mr. Rodrigues - Yes

Ms. Asack - Yes

Mr. T. Sullivan (via phone) - Yes


Mayor Robert F. Sullivan, Chair - Yes


The motion passed unanimously.

B.      Teaching & Learning

Chapter 222 Presentation (Attorney Paige Tobin)

Attorney Paige Tobin presented a PowerPoint on Update on Discipline Law 37H ¾.

Some points shared were:

· Current Foundations of Student Discipline

o Student handbook/school policy

o Constitutional Law

o State Law

A student must be given due process either procedural due process meaning did we follow our policies and procedures as set out in state law and our student handbook and substantive due process, which is the decision that we’re making for this student fair and consistent with prior decisions.

· Overview of 37H 3/4 :  The “Catch-All” of Discipline Law

· Purpose of Changing § 37H ¾

Effective November 8, 2022 changes specific to (b), that requires schools to focus not so much on discipline and suspensions out of school but to focus more on:

· Re-engagement & Restorative Justice

· Documentation

· Change in Decision-Maker’s Role

The Law:  Any principal… when deciding the consequences for the student, shall consider ways to re-engage the student in the learning process; and shall not suspend or expel a student until alternative remedies have been employed and their use and results documented, following and in direct response to a specific incident or incidents,

The exceptions:

· Unless specific reasons are documented as to why such alternative remedies are unsuitable or counterproductive, OR

· in cases where the student’s continued presence in school would pose a specific, documentable concern about the infliction of serious bodily injury or other serious harm upon another person while in school.

· Alternative remedies may include but shall not be limited to: (i) mediation; (ii) conflict resolution; (iii) restorative justice; and (iv) collaborative problem solving.

New Requirement – What Must Be Documented

· Use and Results of Alternative Remedies

· Specific Reasons Why Alternative Remedies Are Unsuitable or Counterproductive, OR

· Why Student’s Continued Presence Poses a Specific, Documentable Concern About the Infliction of Serious Bodily Injury or Other Serious Harm Upon Another Person While in School.

Change in Decision-Maker’s Role:  The principal, headmaster, superintendent or person acting as a decision-maker shall also implement school- or district-wide models to reengage students in the leaning process.

Data Reported to DESE – The report shows it is working in Brockton, it shows the number of students who are disciplined 2021/2022 and 22/23 (throughout the district) and see that the numbers have gone down and in school suspension numbers have increased and out of school have decreased and is true with Brockton High  School suspension numbers have increased and out of school suspension numbers have drastically decreased which means the schools are using and implementing the changes to this law to try and keep students in school.


SC:  Where the numbers have fluctuated and looks as if we have done a better job, could the same mindset be said that we are not processing and putting all the documentation in place and have students in the classroom and in the hallways that actually shouldn’t be here?

PT:  Is unable to speak to that data and can only tell what the data is.  The purpose of the statue was to limit the out of school suspensions.

SC:  Is there something that the state gives funds to do restorative or is that on the district to make that a budget line?

PT:  Is not aware of extra funding but knows that there are resources on the state website.

Mayor Sullivan thanked Attorney Tobin.

C.      Update from City CFO, Mr. Troy Clarkson

Mayor Sullivan announced Mr. Troy Clarkson is unable to attend tonight’s meeting.  Mr. Clarkson notified Dr. Cobbs, Vice-Chair Ehlers and him.  Tomorrow night is a Special City Council meeting at 6:30p called by Council President in the Chambers relative to the FY23 School Budget.  Mr. Clarkson will be there and TJ Plant, Open Architect will join via zoom, school committee members can attend.


SC:  Are the school committee members able to attend if there is a quorum?

Mayor Sullivan mentioned School Committee members are able to attend, and it was cleared by Attorney Spatafore as School Committee members are not expected to speak.

Items to Refer to


There are no Items to Refer to Subcommittee.




Following the Mayors reading of the Consent Agenda Items (see below), Mrs. Sullivan made a motion to approve Consent Agenda items A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H as written, collectively.


The motion was properly seconded by Mrs. Ehlers. 

A. Approval of November 15, 2023 Audit Firm Selection Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

B. Approval of November 14, 2023 Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes                                         

C. Approval of October 17, 2023 Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes                                                              

D. Approval of October 3, 2023 Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes                                                                

E. Approval of the Ashley Cardoso Memorial Scholarship                                                                                                                                                                  

F. Approval of 2023-2024 Home Education Requests                                                                                                                                                                            

G. Request for Re-Authorization to Submit Proposal and Expenditure of Funds:                                           

· FY2024 Federal Farm to School Grant - $100,000

H.      Acceptance of Human Resources Notifications

· Appointments:  Certified Personnel

· Appointments:  Non-Certified

· Personal Actions:  Leaves of Absence, Resignations, Retirements                                                                                                                                                          

Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote.

Mrs. Sullivan – Yes

Mr. Homer - Yes

Mrs. Ehlers, Vice-Chair - Yes

Mrs. Rivas Mendes -Yes

Mr. Rodrigues - Yes

Ms. Asack - Yes

Mr. T. Sullivan (via phone) - Yes


Mayor Robert F. Sullivan, Chair - Yes

 The motion passed, unanimously.

Unfinished Business

Mr. Homer mentioned the Facilities Subcommittee was unable to meet and will prepare an idea of what the committee would have talked about and forward that to the members of the committee.

Mrs. Rivas Mendes mentioned the Accounts Review Subcommittee was not able to meet.  She suggests since  Mr. Troy Clarkson gives an update from the financial point to make Accounts Review a committee of the whole and provides an update every six weeks (purchase orders)

Mayor Sullivan agrees with Ms. Rivas Mendes as we have two new members as of January and the committee could entertain it.  

New Business

Discussion and Potential Vote:  Diversity, Race, Equity & Inclusion Subcommittee Meeting,    December 5, 2023

Mrs. Rivas Mendes discussed the Diversity, Race, Equity & Inclusion Vision and Mission.  The idea is for the next person moving on to understand how this committee started and what the purpose of this committee is and to ensure they have stakeholders, families and students present to collaborate with the EDI office.

The committee is recommending passing this policy as a professional development day.  The district requires all staff to have professional development and this puts it in writing.  It is important for the school committee to have professional development as EDI and anti-racism work is a learning path.  The subcommittee also decided that training should be provided on an annual basis by an external provider or when necessary, by our BPS EDI office. 

Mrs. Rivas Mendes motioned this policy Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and Anti-Racism.

Discussion on the motion:

Mrs. Sullivan asked is this a policy?

Mrs. Rivas Mendes mentioned the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion anti-racism is a policy.  The Diversity, Race, Equity & Inclusion subcommittee talks about why the committee was built, the vision and mission.

Mrs. Sullivan asked does the policy have to go through a policy adoption process (GB in the policy manual)?

Mrs. Rivas Mendes mentioned in the DREI they were able to skip that step and bring it straight to the committee of the whole, this policy is the committee of the whole.

Mr. Rodrigues motioned to adopt this policy effective today.

Mayor Sullivan noted there was a motion made and no second to Mrs. Rivas Mendes motion. 

Mr. Rodrigues revokes the motion.

Mr. Rodrigues seconds the motion.

Mayor Sullivan mentioned there was a motion made to accept this as presented by Mrs. Rivas Mendes and properly seconded by Mr. Rodrigues.

Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote.

Mrs. Sullivan – No                                              Mr. Homes – Yes                                                    Mrs. Ehlers – Yes

Mrs. Rivas Mendes – Yes            Mr. Rodrigues – Yes                                               Ms. Asack – Yes

Mr. Sullivan (via phone) – No                                                                                                                Mayor Sullivan, Chair – Yes

The motion passes.



Ms. Asack thanked Cradle to Crayons and everyone who helped assist in the coat drive this year.  She personally thanked the following:  Linda Pizzy, Felicia Charmers, Izzy Charmers, Jose Charmers, Isabelle Fernandes and Team, Remax Synergy (Remax family), Louis Martins, Olivero Lopes, Tony Rodrigues,

Mr. Ken Thompson and Facilities Department and Dr. James Cobbs.


Mrs. Rivas Mendes asked if she could go back to New Business to discuss back in January in the Organizational Meeting, where Mayor Sullivan bought up a great point about why we should move forward and like the City Council has a President every new year and do something similar in the School Committee side having a Vice-Chair every new year.  Mrs. Rivas Mendes asked if a motion could be made to move that forward as a vote that was brought up?


Mayor Sullivan mentioned we wouldn’t do that as it not being on the agenda and there will be two new members that will be sworn in on January 1, 2024 and the new members will comprise the body and the body will take a vote under the charter for the reorganization which will be the first official meeting.  Mayor Sullivan believes Attorney Spatafore and the solicitor will let us know if the meeting needs to be Wednesday based on the actual verbiage.


Mr. Rodrigues asked is that a policy on the City Council side?

Mayor Sullivan mentioned there is no written policy, the Council President is elected by the peers.


Mr. Rodrigues respectfully asked Mayor Sullivan to refrain from voting to avoid a tie and let the collective body select who the Vice-Chair is.

Mayor Sullivan mentioned he has voted the past four years and will vote again as it is important thing to do.


Mayor Sullivan mentioned the City of Brockton was selected by the MSBA to do either a reimagine Brockton High School or a whole new Brockton High School.  The deadline date for the MSBA was originally December 27, 2023 under the eligibility period.  Last Wednesday, Vice-Chair Ehlers, Dr. Cobbs and he spent three hours on a MSBA call to respectfully ask for an extension, and it was granted to June 5, 2024.  He thanked this entire body as we all have the same mission to make Brockton High School the best high school in the Commonwealth.


Mayor Sullivan thanked UPS of Brockton Oakhill Way Teamsters; they collected a toy drive for the City of Brockton (Annual Mayor’s Toy Drive) collecting over 1,000 toys last week to City Hall to be given out along with Muscle Movement which is an Organization that donated to BPS (picked up by Mr. John Snelgrove ad City Hall).  If anyone in attendance or watching that knows of any children looking for something for the holiday season, please reach out to the mayor’s office.


Mrs. Rivas Mendes spoke about the EDI office during the DREI subcommittee making sure there is a

line item in the budget for family engagement.  Mrs. Rivas Mendes will forward the information to

Mrs. Campbell to forward to the members a sampling of districts that focus on equity and the structure that they have.


Mr. Rodrigues mentioned our Middle School students will be participating in the Discovery Justice with the mock trial tomorrow at the Brockton District Court.


Mayor Sullivan mentioned all of us are elected the same way and we don’t always agree but we have the eyes on the prize for the boys and girls of the Brockton Public Schools.  He thanked Dr. Cobbs and mentioned we are losing two members of this committee Cynthia and Jared and knows that both care about BPS and Kathy being the Vice-Chair this year.  He stated, “We are truly better working together,” and applaud both Cynthia and Jared for what they have done.



·         Outgoing Vice-Chair School Committee Member

·         Outgoing School Committee Members


Mayor Sullivan and Dr. Cobbs both presented a plaque to Mrs. Kathleen Ann Ehlers for her service a Vice-Chair during the 2022-2023 school year. (applause)


Mayor Sullivan and Dr. Cobbs both presented a plaque to Mrs. Cynthia Rivas Mendes for her service during the 2020-2023 school year. (applause)


Mayor Sullivan and Dr. Cobbs both presented a plaque to Mr. Jared Homer for his service during the 2022-2023 school year. (applause)


Mrs. Rivas Mendes and Mr. Homer both thanked everyone for the opportunity to serve with and dedication and willingness to continue to serve. 



Ms. Asack and Mr. Rodrigues both thanked Mrs. Rivas Mendes and Mr. Homer as it was a pleasure working with both of them.


Mayor Sullivan thanked Mrs. Rivas Mendes for her beautifully written speech.


Executive Session

Mayor Sullivan announced, “The Committee will enter Executive Session and read the following:


Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, s. 21(a)(2): To conduct strategy sessions in preparation for negotiations with nonunion personnel or to conduct collective bargaining sessions or contract negotiations with nonunion personnel – Brockton High School Principal


Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, s. 21(a)(2): To conduct strategy sessions in preparation for negotiations with nonunion personnel or to conduct collective bargaining sessions or contract negotiations with nonunion personnel - Acting School Business Office Manager


Mayor Sullivan asked for a motion to go into Executive Session.


Mrs. Sullivan motioned to enter Executive Session, seconded by Mrs. Rivas Mendes.


Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote:

Mrs. Sullivan – Yes

Mr. Homer – Yes

Mrs. Ehlers, Vice-Chair – Yes

Mrs. Rivas Mendes -Yes

Mr. Rodrigues – Yes

Ms. Asack – Yes

Mr. T. Sullivan (via phone) – Yes


Mayor Robert F. Sullivan, Chair – Yes

The motion passed unanimously.


The School Committee will not return to open session following this Executive Session.”


School Committee Members went into Executive Session at 7:20p.



Respectfully submitted,

Dr. James F. Cobbs

Acting Superintendent/Secretary

PowerPoint:  Update on Discipline Law 37H ¾ -Brockton Public Schools