Massachusetts Anti-Bullying Laws

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

In this lesson, we will learn about some of the many Massachusetts laws regarding bullying and behaviors similar to bullying. While one law is specifically anti-bullying, there are others on the books that are related and can apply to similar cases.

Anti-Bullying Laws

While there are currently no federal laws that deal specifically with bullying, every state in the United States has passed legislation that is designed to combat and hopefully eliminate bullying in schools. Depending on a number of factors, including when the legislation was passed, there can be quite a bit of variation in the specifics of the laws. This lesson will focus on the specific statutes in the state of Massachusetts.

This state has numerous different anti-bullying laws. Anti-bullying laws are designed to stop or punish the aggressive verbal, written, and/or physical intimidation tactics of aggressors that try to create a real or perceived power imbalance.

School Bullying

Massachusetts General Laws chapter 71, section 370 covers bullying in schools. It defines bullying (including cyber bullying) as the repeated use by one or more students or members of the school staff of a physical act or verbal, written, or electronic expression that results in one or more of the following:

  • Physical and/or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim's property.
  • The victim being put in a situation of reasonable fear of harm to him or herself or to his or her property.
  • The infringement on the rights of the victim at school.
  • The creation of a hostile school environment for the victim.
  • The disruption of the education process or orderly operation of a school.

The concept of cyberbullying is further delineated in this law to include the use of technology or any electronic communication means for the purposes of bullying. This means using any kind of sign, signal, written message, sound, image, data or information (intelligence) that is transmitted at least in part by wire, radio, electromagnetic, or light-based technologies.

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