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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1882         FILED ON: 1/17/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 454

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Alice Hanlon Peisch

_______________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to bullying in schools.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Alice Hanlon Peisch

14th Norfolk

Martha Coakley

One Ashburton Place Boston, MA 02108 -1518

Peter V. Kocot

1st Hampshire

Lori A. Ehrlich

8th Essex

Tom Sannicandro

7th Middlesex

Frank I. Smizik

15th Norfolk

Cheryl A. Coakley-Rivera

10th Hampden

Thomas M. Stanley

9th Middlesex

Brian R. Mannal

2nd Barnstable

Danielle W. Gregoire

4th Middlesex

Louis L. Kafka

8th Norfolk

Jonathan Hecht

29th Middlesex

Denise Andrews

2nd Franklin

Paul Brodeur

32nd Middlesex

Carl M. Sciortino, Jr.

34th Middlesex

Ann-Margaret Ferrante

5th Essex

Linda Campbell

15th Essex

Gailanne M. Cariddi

1st Berkshire

Paul R. Heroux

2nd Bristol

James T. Welch

Hampden

Michael Barrett

Third Middlesex

John W. Scibak

2nd Hampshire

Kenneth I. Gordon

21st Middlesex

Jason Lewis

 

Benjamin Swan

11th Hampden

Kay Khan

11th Middlesex

Denise Provost

27th Middlesex

Daniel B. Winslow

9th Norfolk

Elizabeth A. Malia

11th Suffolk

David Paul Linsky

5th Middlesex

James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester

Thomas P. Conroy

13th Middlesex

Jay R. Kaufman

15th Middlesex

Cory Atkins

14th Middlesex

Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex

Carlos Henriquez

5th Suffolk

Brian A. Joyce

Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth

Tackey Chan

2nd Norfolk

Martin J. Walsh

13th Suffolk

Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.

26th Middlesex

Denise C. Garlick

13th Norfolk

Jennifer E. Benson

37th Middlesex

Mary S. Keefe

15th Worcester

Josh S. Cutler

6th Plymouth

David M. Rogers

24th Middlesex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1882        FILED ON: 1/17/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 454

By Ms. Peisch of Wellesley, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 454) of Alice Hanlon Peisch and others relative to bullying in schools.  Education. 

 

[SIMILAR MATTER FILED IN PREVIOUS SESSION
SEE HOUSE, NO. 4063 OF 2011-2012.]


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

_______________

 

An Act relative to bullying in schools.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1. Section 37O of chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “retaliation”, in line 89, the following words:- “, including procedures for collecting, maintaining and reporting bullying incident data required under subsection (k)”.

              SECTION 2. Section 37O of said chapter 71 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby further amended in subsection (d) by striking out the third paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-

              Each plan shall include a statement recognizing that certain students may be more vulnerable to becoming targets of bullying, harassment, or teasing based on actual or perceived differentiating characteristics, including but not limited to race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, socioeconomic status, homelessness, academic status, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, pregnant or parenting status, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability, or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these characteristics. The plan shall include specific steps the district will take to create a safe, supportive environment for vulnerable populations in the school community, and provide all students with the skills, knowledge, and strategies to prevent or respond to bullying, harassment, or teasing. A school district, charter school, non-public school, approved private day or residential school or collaborative school may establish separate discrimination or harassment policies that include these or other categories of students. Nothing in this section shall alter the obligations of a school district, charter school, non-public school, approved private day or residential school or collaborative school to remediate any discrimination or harassment based on a person's membership in a legally protected category under local, state or federal law.

              SECTION 3. Section 37O of said chapter 71, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after subsection (j) the following subsections:-

              (k) Each school district, charter school, approved private day or residential school and collaborative school shall annually report bullying incident data to the department. Such data shall include, but not be limited to: (i) the number of reported allegations of bullying or retaliation; (ii) the number and nature of substantiated incidents of bullying or retaliation; (iii) the number of students disciplined for engaging in bullying or retaliation; and (iv) any other information as may be required by the department. Bullying incident data shall be annually reported to the department in a form and manner prescribed by the department,  in consultation with the attorney general, provided that the department may use existing data collection and reporting mechanisms to collect such information from school districts. The department shall analyze the bullying incident data and shall publish an annual report containing aggregate, statewide information on the frequency and nature of bullying in schools. The department shall file such annual report with the attorney general and with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives who shall forward the same to the chairs of the joint committee on education, the chairs of the joint committee on the judiciary, and the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means.

              (l) The department shall develop a student survey to assess school climate and the prevalence, nature and severity of bullying in schools. The student survey shall also assist in assessing the effectiveness of bullying prevention curricula and instruction developed and administered under subsection (c) of section 37O of chapter 71. The survey shall be administered by each school district, charter school, approved private day or residential school and collaborative school at least once every three years. The survey shall be designed to protect student privacy and allow for anonymous participation by students.

              The completed surveys shall be collected by the school official identified in the plan as responsible for receiving reports of bullying or retaliation, who shall review the student surveys in order to identify patterns of bullying and retaliation and to evaluate the effectiveness of the school’s bullying prevention and intervention efforts. All completed surveys shall be forwarded to the department. The department shall collect and analyze the student survey data in order to compare the survey results with the bullying incident data reported under subsection (k), identify  long-term trends and areas of improvement, and monitor bullying prevention efforts in schools over time.

              SECTION 4. The department of elementary and secondary education shall develop the student survey required under section 3 of this act within 6 months of the effective date of this act.

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