What is considered bullying?
Bullying is defined as the repeated use of a written, verbal, or electronic communication, or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, by one or more students directed at another student that has the effect of:
- Causing physical or emotional harm to the other student or damage to his or her property;
- Placing the other student in reasonable fear of harm to him or herself or of damage to his or her property;
- Creating a hostile environment at school for the bullied student;
- Infringing on the rights of the other student at school; or
- Materially and substantially disrupting the education process or the orderly operation of a school.
- Cyber-bullying is bullying through the use of technology or any electronic means, and includes the distribution of electronic communications or the posting of electronic material that may be accessed by one or more persons.
Bullying on and off school premises:
In accordance with Massachusetts Law Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2010, An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools, bullying is prohibited in any form:
- At school and at all school facilities;
- At school-sponsored or school-related functions, whether on or off school grounds;
- On school buses and at school bus stops;
- Through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, licensed or used by a school; and
- At non-school-related locations and through non-school technology or electronic devices, if the bullying affects the school environment.
- Retaliation against a person who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or who is a witness to or has reliable information about bullying is prohibited.
Bullying prevention tips:
To stop bullying as soon as it occurs, all school staff are required to promptly report bullying when they witness or become aware of it. A school principal or his designee must immediately investigate and take appropriate disciplinary action. Tips for students and parents to stop bullying:
- Tell the bully to stop his behavior, or walk away if you can.
- Report incidents of bullying to an adult who has the power to intervene.
- Take a stand! Empowering bystanders to intervene to stop bullying when they see it has been shown to have the greatest effect on reducing incidents of bullying.
For more information on bullying and bullying prevention for students and adults, please visit these website resources.