Guidelines have been released in Massachusetts following the passing of the anti-bullying law signed in May.
The Massachusetts law, signed by Governor Deval Patrick, was brought in following the suicides of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince and 11-year-old Carl Walker-Hoover. Both of these young school students took their own lives having suffered relentless bullying by fellow students.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education now requires any instance of bullying to be reported to the parents of the students, and the police in certain instances.
Officials believe that these guidelines will help school districts to combat bullying. Each district has to submit a copy of their bullying prevention and intervention plans to the State by December 31.
Rep. Martha Walz, co-chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Education and author of the anti-bullying legislation said “The release of this model plan is an important step toward changing school climates and fostering an environment of respect, but the important work of implementation remains ahead of us…The true success of this model plan will be measured in how well schools successfully prevent bullying.”
A national expert on bullying, Barbara Colorosso said the plan was one of the best that she had ever seen. She sees it as a comprehensive plan that puts the safety of the students at the forefront.
Colorosso's only criticism is its definition of bullying as "repeated" harassment. She made the point that being called a "slut" or any derogatory name should be enough to warrant a reprimand.