On August 24th, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released new guidance and a model bullying prevention plan to assist schools and districts in crafting their own strategies to respond to and prevent bullying in schools. School districts are required to file their plan with the DESE by December 31, 2010.

The model plan is:
The model plan is a tool to assist school districts understand the requirements of the law and includes a description of the required elements of each district's unique bullying prevention plan, including procedures for students and others to report bullying and retaliation to school authorities and procedures for schools to respond, investigate, and take disciplinary action as appropriate.

The model plan is not:
The model plan is not a "one-size fits all" document. Schools/ school districts still must take into account the unique needs of their community and should consider the DESE model as a guidance tool only. The law requires each district to collect and assess the data relative to school climate, including incidences of bullying, and to engage in a process which includes the input of students, staff, parents, law enforcement and the overall greater community as they develop strategies to prevent and respond to bullying.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education also has information and resources on their website, http://www.doe.mass.edu/bullying/.