GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)- Massachusetts is taking steps to strengthen the state’s anti-bullying law. 22news found out what’s in the new bill, and how it could impact schools.
In 2010 Massachusetts approved a law designed to crack down on bullying and cyber bullying. Now the legislature is looking to improve that law by adding new elements of prevention. The Massachusetts House approved a stronger, updated anti-bullying bill Wednesday.
The new bill goes a step further than the 2010 law by requiring schools to document bullying incidents and conduct student surveys to better asses the prevalence and severity of bullying in schools.
The bill will also require schools to create prevention plans that recognize students who are vulnerable to bullying. That includes students of the LGBT community and students that might be targeted because of race, religion, or socio economic status.
One mother told 22news the law is a good thing, but it’s sad that there’s a need for one. Unique Harris said, “It hurts me that the world is not enough of a community that we can’t protect people without laws. Like we can’t just say you know talk to me about why you’re hurt talk to me about why you’re hurt instead of hurting someone else.”
Not everyone agrees there should be a law for bullying in schools. One teenager said creating laws might not be the best approach to the bullying issue. “We should just be teaching compassion. Kids shouldn’t be hating each other for things that aren’t in their control. Maybe to be just a little bit more understanding and not criminalize them for doing something that kids just do, said Ryan Chapdelaine.
Several people told 22news that bullying isn’t anything new, but the presence of social media has added a new platform for intimidation. That bill will go to the State Senate for approval.