For Immediate Release - January 24, 2011

Attorney General Coakley to Hold Commission Hearings on Legislative Order to Make Recommendations on Bullying and Cyber-Bullying Laws

BOSTON - Attorney General Martha Coakley will hold two public hearings next month in her capacity as the Chair of the Special Commission created by the Legislature as a provision of the bullying prevention law. The Commission to Review Statutes Relative to Implementation of the School Bullying Law (The Commission) is charged with reviewing the Massachusetts General Laws and considering whether any laws need to be amended or created in order to more effectively address bullying and cyber-bullying.

On Monday, May 3, 2010, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a landmark anti-bullying bill for Massachusetts. Provisions of this new law include requirements for schools to create and implement bullying prevention plans and curricula. The bullying prevention law placed new restrictions on young people's use of any technology to bully another person. It also directed the Attorney General's Office to work with the Department of Early and Secondary Education, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and other agencies to develop the model plan and to identify the resources needed to create a school climate in which every student feels safe - in and out of school.

The law also gave responsibility to the Attorney General's Office to chair a multi-agency Commission. According to the statute, the Commission was charged with "the review of the General Laws to determine if they need to be amended in order to address bullying and cyber-bullying and to investigate parental responsibility and liability for bullying and cyber-bullying." The law also requires the Commission to "report to the general court the results of its investigation and study and its recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry out such recommendations on or before June 30, 2011."

The Attorney General's Commission has been meeting bi-monthly since June 2010 and has scheduled its next meetings to be public hearings to gather testimony from interested parties who wish to inform the Commission on whether new laws are necessary to address bullying and cyber bullying.


Upcoming Commission Hearings

WHO:
Attorney General Martha Coakley and the Commission on Bullying Prevention

WHAT:
Hearings to address potential changes to the General Laws and to review parental responsibility surrounding bullying and cyber-bullying.

WHERE:
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Gardner Auditorium, State House, Boston
2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, February 17, 2011
Western New England College School of Law
Moot Courtroom
1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01119
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.


The members of the Commission on Bullying Prevention are:

Martha Coakley, Chair, Massachusetts Attorney General
Michael Bellotti, Sheriff, Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association
David Capeless, Berkshire County District Attorney
Steve Clem, Executive Director, Association of Independent Schools in New England
Michael Long, General Counsel, Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents
Mary Lyons, Police Chief, Mattapoisett, MA Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association
Laura Salomons, School Committee Member, Sharon, MA, Massachusetts Association of School Committees

Written comments and requests to provide oral testimony may be submitted to Paul Heithaus by email at paul.heithaus@state.ma.us, or by phone at (617) 963-2910, or by fax at (617) 727-6016. Requests to provide oral testimony at the Boston Hearing must be received by February 2nd and requests to provide oral testimony at the Springfield Hearing must be received by February 9 th. Due to the time frame of the hearing, the number of persons providing oral testimony and the length of such testimony may be limited.

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