For Immediate Release - March 20, 2014

Statement by AG Coakley Regarding Senate Passage of Anti-Bullying Law Update

BOSTON – In an effort to enhance the state’s existing bullying prevention law, the Senate today passed An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools, filed by Attorney General Martha Coakley, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and Representative Alice Peisch. Having been a tireless advocate for the landmark 2010 law as well as these updates, AG Coakley released this statement:

“This update to the anti-bullying law allows us to better measure the effectiveness of our efforts to protect children and create safe, supportive environments for those who are especially vulnerable to bullying, such as LGBT students and students with disabilities. We want to thank Senate President Therese Murray, Chairman Stephen Brewer, and lead sponsor Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz for their continued leadership on this issue and applaud the Senate for passing this bill. We look forward to this bill making it to the Governor’s desk.”

The bill was based largely on recommendations developed by a special commission chaired by AG Coakley, and includes the following:

  • annual reporting of bullying incident data to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and a student survey assessing the climate and prevalence, nature, and severity of school-based bullying, so that policy makers and administrators can more effectively evaluate the effectiveness of anti-bullying efforts; and
  • a provision requiring that school bullying prevention plans recognize that certain enumerated categories of students may be more vulnerable to becoming targets of bullying, and outline steps that schools will take to support these students.

Last year, AG Coakley testified in support of the common sense updates, and last month the House voted 143-4 in favor of the legislation. After the bill receives final approval from the House and Senate it will go to Governor Patrick to be signed into law.

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