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Bullying Prevention and Intervention

Bullying Prevention and Intervention Updates
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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.

  1. Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan
  2. General Department Updates and Information
  3. Laws and Regulations
  4. Evidence Based Programs, Curricula, and Practices
  5. Parent Information
  6. Resources from State Agencies
  7. USDE Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Bullying Prevention Resources
  8. Definition of Bullying
  9. Social Emotional Learning
  10. 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.

While not required updated plans can voluntarily be submitted via the Security Portal's Bullying Prevention and Invention Plan DropBox* or via email to .

*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:

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 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.

Resources that have identified evidence 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 Problem Resolution System Office. Emails can be sent to or individuals can call 781-338-3700.

6. Resources from State Agencies:

7. 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 or . Fill out a complaint form.

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 or a member of a school staff [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)

Additional Resources:

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.
  • Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL): CASEL's mission is to make evidence-based SEL and integral part of education from preschool through high school.
  • 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.
  • Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development (SECD)Lab. The SECD Lab guides schools-based efforts on prevention, social and emotional learning, social decision making and social problem solving, violence prevention, and character development.
  • Search Institute partners with organizations to conduct and apply research that promotes positive youth development and advances equity.
  • The Social-Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts (SEL4MA) promotes and supports high-quality SEL in communities across Massachusetts.
  • 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. For More Information:

For more information or assistance, please contact:

The Office of Student and Family Support (SFS) via or 781-338-3010.

Last Updated: March 14, 2024

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