Anti-bullying bill: Massachusetts takes a step further

Massachusetts has been attempting to address the growing problem of schoolyard bullying and cyber-bullying. In 2010, the state senate passed an anti-bullying and cyber-bullying law which closely followed the suicide of Phoebe Prince in South Hadley. The bill has recently been updated with amendments to increase protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and students with disabilities. This bill is a huge step forward for the state in a world where bullying takes place on many different arenas.

Massachusetts fights bullying

The bill contains several provisions that empower schools and urge them to take preventive measures. It also encourages school authorities to intervene when they notice a student being bullied or cyber-bullied. The state is making sure schools are following this anti-bullying bill.

An aspect of the bill that had been under fire by lawmakers for quite some time was the reporting requirements that the bill demanded. The bill requires school administrators to notify parents of victims and of perpetrators of incident and contact law enforcement, if criminal charges should be sought in a bid to answer the question as to how to stop cyber-bullying and bullying in schools. However, it is the requirement that the schools report cases of bullying to the state that has come in for some criticism. Some fear that this requirement might prevent school authorities from aggressively addressing bullying problems for fear of being penalized by what is happening in their schools.

The update

The new update answers all that. The state senate recognizes certain people in the society as more vulnerable and introduces a new reporting system. The update requires the state to build a new data collection system and a reporting mechanism in order to recognize new trends and take an action proactively.

Schools would be required to report bullying data annually to state education officials. The combined data would be passed on to the attorney general and lawmakers. The bill is now on its way to Massachusetts State Senate for approval.

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