Education Law: Bullying

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In light of recent incidents involving bullying in schools in Massachusetts and all over the country, Governor Patrick signed an Anti-Bullying bill into law on May 3, 2010, making Massachusetts the 42nd state to pass such a law. This law has quickly become known as one of the strictest anti-bullying laws in the country and now applies to school districts, charter schools, non-public schools, approved private day or residential schools, and collaborative schools.

Victims of Bullying

Schools across the state are implementing this law, and children on both ends of the spectrum are affected by it. Despite the passing of the law, children are still being bullied on school grounds, over the internet, and at school and non-school related events. Our firm assists victims and parents whose children are victims of school bullying because we want all students to feel safe in and out of school.

Students Accused of Bullying

On the other hand, some students are being treated unfairly because schools are enforcing the law and the school’s bullying prevention plan for the first time. In response to this development, our firm also assists students who may be unnecessarily labeled as a “bully” by the school and/or the respective parents.

Special Education Students and Bullying

The law also provides additional protection for Special Education students by allowing schools to incorporate necessary safeguards against bullying directly into the student’s IEP. Because Special Education students are often the targets of bullying and harassment in schools, this law now allows for the child’s IEP to include strategies that address each student’s individual needs.

Protecting Your Rights

Although the purpose of the Anti-Bullying law is to prevent bullying in schools, the law creates various potential legal issues for all those involved. These issues not only affect the schools but extend to victims of bullying, the persons accused of bullying, and the respective parents.  If your child is being bullied or you are in dispute with the school over an alleged bullying incident, contact our office and one of our attorneys will assist you.