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Proposed Regulations Regarding Notification of Bullying or Retaliation, 603 CMR 49.00

To:Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
Date:June 11, 2010

An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools (Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2010), was signed into law on May 3, 2010. It created a new statute, G.L. c. 71, §37O, which requires each school district, charter school, non-public school, approved day or residential school, and collaborative school to develop and implement a plan to address bullying prevention and intervention. The plan must cover ten required elements, including procedures for students and others to report bullying and retaliation to school authorities and procedures for schools to respond, investigate, and take disciplinary action as appropriate. A copy of the law is enclosed for your information.

One of the required elements of the school's bullying prevention and intervention plan concerns notification to parents/guardians and, under certain circumstances, to law enforcement. The statute directs the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to promulgate regulations relating to the principal's duties under this element, specifically:

  • notification to the parent or guardian of the victim and the perpetrator of a report of bullying or retaliation, of the school's procedures for investigating the report, and of the action the school will take to prevent further bullying, and
  • notification to law enforcement of bullying or retaliation, when the perpetrator's conduct may result in criminal charges.

The law further provides that the Board must promulgate the regulations by September 30, 2010.

In addition to the statutory requirement to promulgate regulations in the narrow area of notification, the anti-bullying law requires the Department to publish a model bullying and intervention plan, a report of cost effective resources for professional development of staff members, and, by June 30, 2011, guidelines for social and emotional learning curricula. Since the law was enacted in May, the Department has received informal input from constituents and anti-bullying experts in all of these areas. Over the next couple of months we will continue working with the education community, parent/student advocacy groups, the Massachusetts Aggression Resource Center at Bridgewater State College, the Attorney General's office, the Massachusetts District Attorneys' Association, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Mental Health, and others so that we can produce guidance that will be useful to schools before the start of the 2010-2011 school year.

I recommend that the Board vote to solicit public comment on the proposed regulations. We plan to accept public comment through August 25, 2010, and then bring the regulations back to the Board for a final vote at the meeting on September 21, 2010.

Associate Commissioner John Bynoe and Attorney Dianne Curran of our legal staff will be present at the Board meeting to answer your questions.


An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools, Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2010
Proposed regulations, 603 CMR 49.00
Motion to solicit public comment

Last Updated: June 18, 2010
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