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Massachusetts law about bullying and cyberbullying

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on bullying and cyberbullying law in Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

Massachusetts regulations

603 CMR 33 Hazing reporting - secondary schools

603 CMR 49 Notification of bullying or retaliation

610 CMR 5 Hazing reporting - higher education

Selected case law

Cormier v. City of Lynn, 479 Mass. 35 (2018)
Even where a defendant city "could have and should have done more" to protect a student from bullying, and their inaction resulted in the child being severely injured during a bullying incident, the Mass. Tort Claims Act bars a suit against the city and its employees where they did not "originally cause" the situation.

Doe by and through Doe v. Hopkinton Public Schools, 490 F.Supp.3d 448 (D. Mass. 2020)
Neither school district's anti-bullying policy, nor the Massachusetts anti-bullying statute, which prohibited repeated speech or conduct directed at victim that caused physical or emotional harm or infringed upon victim's educational rights, were facially overbroad in violation of the First Amendment, absent showing that either the policy or the statute prohibited a substantial amount of protected speech or conduct.

Web sources

Bullying, Mass. Legal Services.
Compilation of Massachusetts bullying law resources

Bullying, UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools.
An extensive list of links to resources on bullying for teachers, parents, law enforcement, and anyone else interested in the topic. Great resource!

Direct from the field: a guide to bullying prevention, Mass. Dept. of Public Health
This 123-page publication has been provided to every school district in Massachusetts. The guide is intended to help schools develop bullying-prevention programs.

Model bullying prevention and intervention plan under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, Mass. Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education
"We recommend that districts and schools use this model plan as a blueprint for developing their own plans that align with their individual school climate initiatives and needs." Model plan is in both PDF and Word format.

Massachusetts students: what to do if you're being bullied, GLAD, March 2014
"If you are being bullied and your school is not protecting you, your school is not following the law." Despite the title, this publication doesn't provide "what to do" advice, but does provide a great summary of the law's key points.

Recommendations from the review of laws regarding bullying in Massachusetts: report to the Massachusetts General Court. Commonwealth of Massachusetts Commission to Review Statutes Relative to Implementation of the School Bullying Law, June 2011.
Provides 7 recommendations to improve bullying prevention efforts in the Commonwealth provides information from various government agencies on what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying and includes state by state guides.

Students' rights in Massachusetts, GLAD, February 2014
Questions & answers on discrimination in public schools on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression

Print sources

The authority of Massachusetts educators to combat bullying, cyber bullying & sexting on and off school property: the intersection of the school disciplinary code & the criminal justice system, by Patrick Michael Rogers. Commonwealth Police Service, 2010.

School bullying and harassment : a legal primer, by Richard W. Cole. NBI, Inc., 2012

School law in Massachusetts, by Rhoda E. Schneider, MCLE loose-leaf. Includes a sample anti-harassment policy for schools in Chapter 8. MCLE, 2020.

Working with children with special needs, section 5, MCLE, 2015



Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only


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Last updated: June 29, 2021