For Immediate Release - April 16, 2014

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

BOSTON – Following final passage by the Legislature of An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools, which updates the state’s existing bullying prevention law, AG Coakley released the following statement:

“We commend the Legislature for passing these important updates to our anti-bullying law. These changes will allow us to better protect kids that are especially vulnerable to bullying, including our LGBT students and children with disabilities, and to measure the effectiveness of our anti-bullying efforts. In particular, I would like to thank Senate President Murray, Speaker DeLeo, co-sponsors Senator Chang-Diaz and Representative Peisch, and MassEquality and the Anti-Defamation League for their steadfast commitment to combating bullying in our schools. We are hopeful that the Governor will sign this bill into law.”

The bill, filed by AG Coakley, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and Representative Alice Peisch, 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;
  • 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. In February, the House voted 143-4 in favor of the legislation, followed by the Senate voting 37-1 in support. After receiving final approval from the House and Senate earlier this month, the bill is now before Governor Patrick.

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