The Massachusetts State Legislature has unanimously approved a state law cracking down on bullying in what advocates say will be called Phoebe's law after the young Irish girl who committed suicide after being bullied.

The bill now goes to the governor for signature.

The bill requires school employees to report all instances of bullying and demands that principals investigate them.

"Bullying is not new. Bullying has been with us from time immemorial. But what has changed is that it appears to be more pervasive, more destructive," said Senator Robert O'Leary, Senate chairman of the Education Committee.
"We're going to send out a message that this kind of behavior is not acceptable and the community needs to deal with it," O'Leary said.

The proposal passed unanimously on a 38-0 vote.

Representative Martha Walz, House chairwoman of the Education Committee, said the bill was "very strong legislation that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of children in our state."

"This is a day that we can be proud we have done something positive – to eradicate bullying and to demonstrate to this commonwealth and to the nation that bullying will no longer be tolerated," stated Representative John Scibak, whose district includes South Hadley, where the death of Irish schoolgirl Phoebe Prince drew international attention to bullying.

The bill also is in memory of 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover of Springfield, who also committed suicide after being bullied.

Governor Patrick Deval is said to be ready to sign the measure as soon as it reaches his desk. A spokeswoman said it was a 'top priority.'