CREATING SAFER SCHOOLS: Massachusetts legislature considers bill to protect students from bullying

Massachusetts bill targets elimination of bullying in public schoolsAccording to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center, bullying is a tragically widespread phenomenon, with 30% of U.S. teens—some 5.7 million—estimated to have either been a target of bullying, been a bully themselves, or both. And Women’s Educational Media reports that almost one out of six of children in grades six through ten are bullied each year—roughly 3.2 million children.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is taking this issue seriously. Channel 5 News in Boston today reported that three high school students from Everett, Massachusetts, appeared before the Massachusetts Legislature to recount their own personal experiences with the impact of bullying.

State Senator Jarrett Barrios is currently sponsoring a bill, Senate Bill No. 301, which would require every public school in the Commonwealth to institute a “safe school plan” as part of an overall coordinated effort to combat bullying, which would include the implementation of procedures for protecting students from bullying, a bullying reporting mechanism, and the development and publication of a formal statement prohibiting bullying. The full text of the bill can be viewed here.

A number of web sites offer information, resources, advice, and support on bullying and bullying prevention. These include:

  • Stop Bullying Now, created especially for kids and teens.
  • Massachusetts Citizens for Children.
  • Bullying Online, a site based in the U.K.
  • The Canadian-based www.bullying.org
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