Bullying Prevention and Intervention
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Scroll down the page for more information, or select any of the following categories to be brought directly to that point on this page.
- Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan
- General Department Updates and Information
- Laws and Regulations
- Evidence Based Programs, Curricula, and Practices
- Parent Information
- Resources from State Agencies
- Additional Resources
- Definition of Bullying
- Social Emotional Learning
- USDE Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Bullying Prevention Resources
- For more information
1. Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan:
The Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan has been updated to reflect Chapter 86 of the Acts of 2014, which amended G.L. c. 71, §370, the anti-bullying statute, and was signed into law on April 24, 2014. G.L. c. 71, §370, as amended, requires school districts, charter schools, approved private day or residential schools, and collaborative schools to "recognize" in their bullying prevention and intervention plans that certain enumerated categories of students may be more vulnerable to being targets of bullying based on actual or perceived differentiating characteristics. Such districts and schools must also include in the plan the specific steps they will take to support these vulnerable students and provide all students the skills, knowledge and strategies they need to prevent or respond to bullying or harassment. Under the new law, school districts, charter schools, approved private day or residential schools, and collaborative schools must notify parents and guardians of targets of bullying of the availability of the Department's problem resolution system and assist these parents and guardians in understanding the problem resolution process. Chapter 86 also addresses the data reporting and collection obligations of school districts, charter schools, approved private day or residential schools, and collaborative schools, requiring them to collect and report the following data to the Department: 1) the number of reported allegations of bullying or retaliation; 2) the number and nature of substantiated incidents of bullying and retaliation; 3) the number of students disciplined for engaging in bullying or retaliation, and 4) other information required by the Department. Additionally, Chapter 86 requires school districts, charter schools, approved private day or residential schools, and collaborative schools, to administer a Department-developed student survey at least once every four years to assess ."school climate and the prevalence, nature and severity of bullying in schools." The law also authorizes school districts, charter schools, approved private day or residential schools, and collaborative schools to adopt an anti-bullying seal to represent its commitment to bullying prevention and intervention. Also note that we have posted two versions of the model plan, one of which contains new language highlighted in yellow for easy reference
School districts and other covered entities must amend their Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan to conform to the new requirements.
The following information and resources may be useful for schools/districts when creating and updating local Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plans.
BPIP Model Plan no highlights
BPIP Model Plan highlighted
Checklist that can be used at the local level to track if all legislatively required elements are included in the local plan.
Appendix A: Sample Bullying Prevention and Intervention Incident Reporting Form
Guidance on Notifying Parents when a Student has been Bullied Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity/Expression: Implementation of 603 CMR 49.05
Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2011-2: Bullying Prevention and Intervention
Addressing the Needs of Students with Disabilities in the IEP and in School Bullying Prevention and Intervention Efforts.
While not required updated plans can voluntarily be submitted via the Security Portal's Bullying Prevention and Invention Plan DropBox* or via email to . firstname.lastname@example.org
*Entities required to submit Plans may submit information through the new DropBox designed for this purpose, local Directory Administrators must assign the superintendent or his/her designee the "Bullying Prevention and Invention Plan DropBox" role in the Security Portal's Directory Administration area. Once that is done, the superintendent or designee can sign into the portal and see that DropBox listed under DropBox Central. Schools without a Directory Administrator should contact the Department's data collection group at 781-338-3282.
2. General Department Updates and Information:
Commissioner's Memo: Bullying and Harassment - Office of Civil Rights
Commissioner's Memo: Implementation Timelines for Bullying Prevention and Intervention Planning
Commissioner's Memo: Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O
Commissioner's Memo: Bullying Prevention and Intervention in Public and Non-Public Schools
3. Laws and Regulations:
4. Evidence Based Programs, Curricula, and Practices
The law directs the Department to compile, post, and periodically update a list of bullying prevention and intervention resources, evidence-based curricula, best practices and academic-based research. Please note that the list of programs and the links to NREPP as well as other sites are provided as resources for schools and districts. School and district leaders have discretion to select evidence-based curricula and other resources that are not on the list. Local education officials should determine which bullying prevention curricula and strategies are most appropriate for each school and grade they oversee, taking into account students' developmental stages, community contexts, and other factors.
At no time should this list be considered exhaustive, as other evidence-based curricula, programs and practices may exist that are not posted here. In addition, evidence-based programs and practices that address school climate and culture, as well as students' social and emotional wellbeing, may not have been evaluated for bullying prevention effectiveness, but should be considered as part of a district's approach to creating safe and healthy learning environments.
The following bullying prevention and intervention programs, curricula, and practices are research/evidence based, as identified by the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands at EDC, at the request of the Department. Additional items will be posted over the next few weeks and months.
Other organizations that have identified evidenced based bullying prevention and intervention efforts include (but are not necessarily limited to) the following:
5. Parent Information:
Complaints regarding a school or district not responding appropriately to bullying allegations may be investigated through the Program Quality Assurance (PQA) Services: Problem Resolution System.
6. Resources from State Agencies:
Berkshire County District Attorney's Office:
Direct from the Field: A Guide to Bullying Prevention , by Laura Parker-Roerden, David Rudewick and Donald Gorton: A Joint Project of the Governor's Task Force on Hate Crimes, the Massachusetts Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:
Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General:
Guide to Civil Rights in School
Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries posts links to state laws and other resources on bullying and cyberbullying
7. Additional Resources:
Keeping Students with Disabilities Safe from Bullying The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued guidance to educators and stakeholders on the matter of bullying of students with disabilities. This guidance provides an overview of school districts' responsibilities to ensure that students with disabilities who are subject to bullying continue to receive free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Anti-Defamation League: A World of Difference Institute, A Classroom of Difference addresses diversity issues in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school communities
Center for Disease Control Measuring Bullying Victimization, Perpetration, and Bystander Experiences: A Compendium of Assessment Tools
Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
The Cyberbullying Research Center is dedicated to providing up-to-date information about the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of cyberbullying among adolescents.
CyberSmart! Cyberbullying Package, under partnership with National School Board Association's Technology Leadership Network
Federation of Children with Special Needs, article Vulnerable Targets: Students with Disabilities and Bullying
The Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Steering Committee have developed a site to share information the federal government has prepared to help prevent and address bullying in communities.
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network: Anti-Bullying Resources
Jane Doe Inc. Voices for Change: The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence - Seek Support and Safety
Massachusetts Advocates for Children works to ensure that children affected by family violence succeed in school. The Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI) activities include outreach to parents and professionals, coalition building, policy analysis and report writing, case advocacy, and legislative and administrative advocacy
Medline Plus: Bullying, a service of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health
Mental Health America's Factsheet: Bullying and Gay Youth
National Criminal Justice Reference Service, U.S. Department of Justice, Internet Safety Information
National School Safety Center
Pacer Center, National Center for Bullying Prevention
Resources on discrimination and harassment
STRYVE: Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere
U.S. Department of Education Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Stop Bullying Now Campaign
8. Definition of Bullying:
"Bullying" for the purposes of requirements related to Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2010 legislation is defined as the following:
The repeated use by one or more students [aggressor(s)] of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a target that: (i) causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target's property; (ii) places the target in reasonable fear of harm to him/herself or of damage to his/her property; (iii) creates a hostile environment at school for the target; (iv) infringes on the rights of the target at school; or (v) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. For the purposes of requirements related to this law, bullying shall include cyber-bullying. See section 5 of the legislation for more details on the definition of cyber-bullying and more.
9. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Guidelines for the Implementation of Social and Emotional Learning Curricula K-12
The following websites include information and materials that may be useful for development and implementation of SEL at the school and district level. Please also see the Department’s SEL in Massachusetts page for additional information and resources.
Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning. The Center is focused on promoting the social emotional development and school readiness of young children birth to age 5.
CNY Social Emotional Learning Institute. The Institute supports programming for whole school communities by helping educators meet the highest standards of social and emotional learning and educational achievement.
Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL): Safe and Sound, an Educational Leader's Guide to Evidence Based social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Programs. Also from CASEL: Connecting Social and Emotional Learning with Mental Health , guidance that addresses the implementation of social emotional development in schools while promoting the mental health of all students.
Edutopia focuses on what works in education and is dedicated to improving the K-12 learning process.
National School Climate Center, National School Climate Standards . The National School Climate Center promotes positive and sustained school climate: a safe, supportive environment that nurtures social and emotional, ethical, and academic skills.
The Office of Special Education Programs. Reducing the Effectiveness of Bullying in Schools . This school based center give schools capacity-building information and technical assistance for identifying, adapting, and sustaining effective school-wide disciplinary practices.
Rutgers Social Emotional Learning Lab. The group's primary focus is school-based social and emotional learning, and its projects address SEL research and assessment, educator preparation, and policy development.
Social Development Research Group, University of Washington: Social Emotional Learning Assessment Measures for Middle School Youth . This resource identifies valid, reliable and useable school-wide assessments for social/emotional well-being of youth and helps schools and districts identify tools that could be useful in determining the success of programs.
University of Arkansas. The College of Education and Health Professions focuses on teacher development and skill training in Social Emotional Learning for age 3-5 year olds.
University of Illinois at Chicago: Social Emotional Learning Research Group. The group's primary focus is school-based social and emotional learning, and its projects address SEL research and assessment, educator preparation, and policy development.
10. USDE Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Bullying Prevention Resources
A 2013 dear colleague letter and enclosure by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) clarifying that when bullying of a student with a disability results in the student not receiving meaningful educational benefit under IDEA, the school must remedy the problem, regardless of whether the bullying was based on the student's disability.
A 2010 dear colleague letter by OCR which elaborated on potential violations when bullying and harassment is based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability.
A 2000 dear colleague letter by the OCR and OSERS, which explained that bullying based on disability may violate civil rights laws enforced by OCR as well as interfere with a student's receipt of special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
A fact sheet for parents on schools' obligations under federal law to address bullying. The fact sheet is also available in Spanish.
Visiting the federal Web site, StopBullying, which provides useful information on bullying prevention and remedies.
Seeking help from OCR. The office investigates complaints of disability discrimination at schools. To learn more about federal civil rights laws or how to file a complaint, contact OCR at 800-421-3481 (TDD: 800-877-8339), or . email@example.comFill out a complaint form.
11. For more information:
For more information or assistance, please contact: