Rep. Walter F. Timilty, along with many of his colleagues in the House of Representatives, voted Friday in favor of legislation that builds on the 2010 landmark anti-bullying legislation. The House voted 143-4.
Specifically, this legislation establishes new reporting measures and recognizing certain demo graphic groups as being more susceptible to bullying.
The legislative fine-tuning is designed to increase the efficacy of the original legislation, which prohibited bullying and cyber-bullying, and required schools to establish related programs. This bill creates a data collection and reporting mechanism that will assist educators, administrators and legislators identify trends. This will thereby provide all concerned parties with the ability to respond appropriately.
“We, in Massachusetts have tremendous public school,” said Timilty. “This legislation will provide our schools with a frame work to gauge the impact of the important 2010 legislation.”
Provisions of the bill are based on recommendations developed by a special commission and include the following:
• Schools must annually report bullying data to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and submit aggregate data on bullying to the Attorney General and Legislature;
• DESE is required to inform parents about its Problem Resolution System and the process for seeking assistance or filing a claim;
• School bullying prevention plans must recognize that certain enumerated categories of students may be more vulnerable to becoming targets of bullying.