Background:Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2010, An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools, was signed into law on May 3, 2010 and took effect immediately. The law requires each school district, charter school, non-public school, approved private special education day or residential school, and collaborative school to develop and implement a plan to address bullying prevention and intervention. The statute directs the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to promulgate regulations addressing a principal's duties under one of the ten required elements of the bullying prevention and intervention plan, namely, notification to parents or guardians of the target and the aggressor of bullying or retaliation and the action taken to prevent further bullying, and notification to law enforcement of bullying or retaliation, when the aggressor's conduct may result in criminal charges. The law further provides that the regulations must be promulgated by September 30, 2010.
Most Recently Amended by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education: October 25, 2022
Aggressor means perpetrator of bullying or retaliation as defined in M.G.L. c. 71, §37O.
Approved Private Day or Residential School means a school that accepts, through agreement with a school committee, a student requiring special education pursuant to M.G.L. c. 71B, §10 and 603 CMR 28.09: Approval of Public and Private Day and Residential Special Education School Programs.
Bullying, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 71, §37O, means the repeated use by one or more students or by a member of a school staff including, but not limited to, an educator, administrator, school nurse, cafeteria worker, custodian, bus driver, athletic coach, advisor to an extracurricular activity or paraprofessional of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a target that:
(a) causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target's property;
(b) places the target in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself or damage to his or her property;
(c) creates a hostile environment at school for the target;
(d) infringes on the rights of the target at school; or
(e) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. Bullying shall include cyberbullying.
Charter School, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 71, §37O, means a Commonwealth charter school or Horace Mann charter school established pursuant to M.G.L. c. 71, § 89.
Collaborative School, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 71, §37O, means a school operated by an educational collaborative established pursuant to M.G.L. c. 40, §4E.
Cyberbullying, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 71, §37O, means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, which shall include, but not be limited to, any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications, instant messages or facsimile communications. Cyberbullying shall also include:
(a) the creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person, or
(b) the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages, if the creation or impersonation creates any of the conditions in 603 CMR 49.02: Bullying(a) through (e). Cyberbullying shall also include the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons, if the distribution or posting creates any of the conditions in 603 CMR 49.02: Bullying(a) through (e).
Hostile Environment, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 71, §37O, means a situation in which bullying causes the school environment to be permeated with intimidation, ridicule or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the student's education.
Local Law Enforcement Agency means a local police department.
Local Plan means the bullying prevention and intervention plan required to be developed under M.G.L. c. 71, §37O.
Parent means a student's father or mother, or guardian.
Principal means the administrative leader of a public school, charter school, collaborative school, or approved private day or residential school, or his or her designee for the purposes of implementing the school's bullying prevention and intervention plan.
Retaliation means any form of intimidation, reprisal or harassment directed against a person who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation about bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying.
School means an approved private day or residential school, collaborative school, or charter school.
School District, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 71, §37O, means the school department of a city or town, a regional school district or a county agricultural school.
Student Record has the meaning set forth in the Massachusetts Student Records Regulations, 603 CMR 23.02: Definition of Terms.
Target means a student victim of bullying or retaliation as defined in M.G.L. c. 71, §37O.
603 CMR 49.00: M.G.L. 71, §37O, as amended by St. 2013, c. 38, and St. 2014, c. 86.
Disclaimer: For an official copy of these regulations, please contact the State House Bookstore, at 617-727-2834 or visit Massachusetts State Bookstore.
Last Updated: November 4, 2022
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370
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