Hopkins Academy

The Massachusetts Anti-Bullying Law

In News on December 2, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Jeremiah Hyslip 2014

Bullying. That word has been thrown around for a long time, but what does it really mean? Section Five of the new Massachusetts anti-bullying law defines it as “the repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a victim that: 1. causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim’s property; 2. places the victim in reasonable fear of harm to himself or of damage to his property; 3. creates a hostile environment at school for the victim; 4. infringes on the rights of the victim at school; or 5. materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.” The law says that bullying should be prohibited at any school-related place. That includes school grounds, any property next to school grounds, any school-sponsored or school-related event, or on any vehicle owned, leased, or used by a school. Bullying is also prohibited at any non-school-related location, activity, function, or program. Finally, the big one: cyber-bullying, which is explained in very vivid detail in the law. Cyber-bullying, under the law, is prohibited anywhere. Bullying is being taken pretty seriously, seeing as how there are some serious consequences. For example, if someone were to constantly follow and bully a specific person over a period of time, or threaten that person, causing fear, then that person “shall be guilty of the crime of stalking and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years or by both such fine and imprisonment.” Bullying in that manner is not as uncommon as you think. The Massachusetts anti-bullying law was passed on May 3, 2010 in the Massachusetts House 140 to 0. It just goes to show how serious the government is about the issue.

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