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Bullying Prevention & Intervention Plan

Name Position
Michael Watson Academic Principal
Robert Watt CVTE Principal
Heather Larkin Director of Guidance & Pupil Personnel Services
Erin Ptaszenski Director of special Education
Helder Angelo Director of Curriculum/ ELL Services & Professional Development
Robert Pimental Vice Principal -grades 11/12
Jeffery Caron Vice Principal -grades 9/10
Ryan Methia Athletic Director
Lael St. Tripp School Adjustment Counselor/ McKinney- Vento and Foster Care Liaison
Officer LeeAnn Fisher School Resource Officer (SRO)
Shane Texeira Security Team

Introduction/Leadership

Priority Statement
The Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School’s School Committee,
administration and staff believes that preventing bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment and/or
retaliation is critical for creating and maintaining a safe, secure and positive school climate and
culture, which in turn supports high level learning, increases school engagement, respects the
rights of all individuals and groups, and purposefully builds community. The School Committee
expects that all members of the school community will treat each other in a civil manner and
with respect, regardless of differences.
We recognize that certain students may be more vulnerable to becoming targets of bullying,
harassment or teasing based on actual or perceived characteristics including race, color, religion,
ancestry, national origin, sex, socioeconomic status, homelessness, academic status, gender
identity or expression, disability, or by association with a person who has or s perceived to have
one or more of these characteristics. The district will identify the steps it will take to create a
safe, supportive environment for vulnerable populations in the school community, and provide
all students with the skills, knowledge, and strategies to prevent or respond to bullying,
harassment, teasing or retaliation.

Public involvement in developing the plan
As required by M.G.L. c. 71, 370, this Bullying Prevention & Intervention Plan was developed
in consultation with school staff, administrators, community representatives, parents/guardians
and students. Parents have further opportunities to comment on the
development/revision/implementation of the Plan via school council meetings, SEPAC, Possip,
school-based meetings, etc. In addition, the school committee reviews the plan each year or more
frequently and there will be notice and public comment period before the Plan is adopted by the
school committee or equivalent authority.

Assessing needs and resources
This Plan is Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech’s blueprint for enhancing our capacity to prevent
and respond to issues of bullying within the context of other safe and healthy school
culture/climate initiatives. As part of the planning process and with input from families and staff,
the district:
• Assessed the adequacy of current practices and programs by reviewing current policies
and practices relative to previous/amended legislation.
• Reviewed available data on bullying and various behavioral incidents in our district.
• Assessed the available resources including curricula, programs and behavioral health
services currently available and used by the district.

This “mapping” process will assist the district in identifying resource gaps year to year and the
most significant areas of need. Based on this information the district has revised policies,
procedures, and data collection; establish or enhanced partnerships with community agencies,
including law enforcement; and set priorities for improving curricula and training resources.
Further needs assessment will focus on identifying vulnerable populations and “hot spots” in
school buildings, on school grounds, on school buses, and in remote online learning platforms
through the analysis of incident reports. This data will analyzed by vice-principals and other
administrators on a regular basis. Information gathered will inform decision-making for
enhancing prevention strategies including, but not limited to: adult supervision, professional
development, age-appropriate/non-discriminatory curricula and in-school support services.
At least once every four years, beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, the district will
administer a Department of Elementary & Secondary Education developed student survey to
assess school climate and the prevalence, nature and severity of bullying in our schools.

Planning and Supervision
The following district leaders will be responsible for the stated tasks under the district’s Bullying
Prevention & Intervention Plan:
1. Receive reports on bullying, harassment, retaliation: Security, Vice-Principals, School
Counselors
2. Collect district data regarding bullying, harassment, retaliation: Security, SIS
Coordinator
3. Review and monitor the process for recording and tracking incidents and accessing
information related to targets and aggressors: Security, Vice-Principals
4. Plan for ongoing professional development that is required by law: Professional
Development Coordinator, Vice-Principals
5. Plan supports that respond to the social/emotional needs of the targets and aggressors:
Director of Guidance, School Counselors
6. Choose and implement the curricula the district will use: Curriculum Director, Athletics
Director, Academic Principal
7. Update/revise policies and protocols under the Plan: Bullying Prevention & Intervention
Committee, Special Education Director, Civil Rights Coordinator
8. Amend student and staff handbooks and codes of conduct: Handbook Committee,
Academic Principal, CVTE Principal
9. Review/update the Plan every two years: Bullying Prevention & Intervention Committee

Training & Professional Development

Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech is committed to providing meaningful and ongoing professional
development for all staff. The Plan reflects the requirements under M.G.L. c.71 370, by providing
ongoing professional development to all staff, including but not limited to, educators,
administrators, counselors, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic
coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities and paraprofessionals.

Annual staff training the Plan
Training on the Plan will occur for all staff, in conjunction with the mandated annual special
education and civil rights training prior to September 30th each year. The training will include an
overview of bullying, harassment and retaliation definitions, the steps educators must take to report
a behavioral incident that may be determined to be bullying, harassment or retaliation, the steps
the principals or their designees will follow upon receipt of a report of bullying, harassment or
retaliation. Staff members hired after September 30th are required to participate in school-based
training by the principal/designee during the school year in which they are hired. All staff will
sign-off on participation in the training.
Additional areas of training will be provided based on needs and concerns identified by district
staff. While bus drivers are trained through their employer, Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech
encourages all bus drivers to attend an annual training facilitated by the district.

On-going Professional Development
The goal of professional development is to establish a common understanding of tools necessary
for staff to create a school climate that promotes safety, civil communication, and respect for
differences. Professional development will build the skills of staff members to prevent, identify
and respond to bullying. As required by M.G.L. c. 71, 370, the content of district wide professional
development will be informed by research and will include information on:
• Developmentally (or age-) appropriate strategies to prevent bullying;
• Developmentally (or age-) appropriate strategies for immediate, effective interventions to
stop bullying incidents;
• Information regarding complex interaction and power differential that can take place
between and among an aggressor, target, and witnesses to the bullying;
• Research findings on bullying, including information about specific categories of students
who have been shown to be particularly at risk for bullying in the school environment;
• Information on the incidence and nature of cyberbullying; and
• Internet safety issues as they relate to cyberbullying.
Professional development will also address ways to prevent and respond to bullying, harassment
or retaliation for students with disabilities that must be considered when developing students’
Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). This will include a particular focus on the needs of
students with autism or students whose disability affects social skills development.
Additional areas identified by the school or district for professional development include:
• Promoting and modeling the use of respectful language;
• Fostering an understanding of and respect for diversity and difference;
• Building relationships and communication with families;
• Constructively managing classroom behaviors;
• Using positive behavioral intervention strategies;
• Applying constructive disciplinary practices;

• Teaching students skills including positive communication, anger management and
empathy for others;
• Engaging students in school or classroom planning and decision-making; and
• Maintaining a safe and caring classroom for all students.

Written notice to staff
The district will provide all staff with an annual written notice of the Plan by publishing
information about it, including sections related to staff responsibilities.

Access to Resources & Services

A key aspect of promoting positive school climates is ensuring that the underlying emotional needs
of targets, aggressors, families, and others are addressed.

Identifying Resources
Currently the district has/uses the following resources for providing information, counseling and
other services for targets, aggressors, and their families.
• Guidance Counselors
• School Adjustment Counselors
• Special Education Liaisons
• Security Team
• School Resource Officer (SRO)
• Therapeutic groups: Social Skills, Anger Management, Support Groups
• Class presentations
• Referrals to Child & Family Services
• Referrals to the New Bedford Woman’s Center, local clinicians, New Bedford Crisis
Center, and other community-based organizations.
• GNBVT Student Mentors
Special considerations for counseling and other services
The district will access personnel/agencies such as the following to help provide linguistically and
culturally appropriate counseling and other services to ELL Students, Students with Disabilities,
Homeless, Foster, GLBTQ or other High-Needs/Medicaid Eligible Students and their families
impacted by bullying:
• ELL Teachers/Liaisons
• Immigrants Assistance Center
• SPED Teachers/Liaisons
• Southeastern Massachusetts Education Collaborative (SMEC)
• Child & Family Services Therapeutic Services
• New Bedford Crisis Center
• SouthCoast Behavioral Health
• McKinney-Vento Liaison
• Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)
• GLBTQ Club Advisor

The following staff and service providers may assist in the development of safety plans (with
parent/guardian input) for students who have been targets of bullying, harassment or retaliation,
or may offer education and/or intervention services for students exhibiting bullying behaviors.
School staff will consult and refer families to outside agencies as necessary. School staff will assist
families in accessing appropriate and timely services. If consent is obtained, school staff will
collaborate with outside providers.
• School administrators
• Guidance Counselors
• School Adjustment Counselors
• School Psychologist
• School Nurse
• School Security
• School Resource Officer

Students with Disabilities (SWD)
As required by M.G.L. c. 71B, 3, as amended by Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2010, when the IEP
Team determines that a student has a disability that affects social skills development or that the
student may participate in or is vulnerable to bullying, harassment or teasing because of his/her
disability, the Team will consider what should be included in the IEP to develop the student’s skills
and proficiencies to avoid and respond to bullying, harassment or teasing. It will be the
responsibility of the Team Chairperson of each Special Education Team to ensure this topic is
addressed by the Team.

Referrals to Outside Services
The established protocol for referring students and families to outside services is consistent
throughout the district. If a student or family is identified for outside services, a referral is made to
by the Guidance Counselor to the School Adjustment Counselor (SAC) for further assessment.
The SAC will facilitate a plan of action and begin the referral process to outside agencies and
obtain necessary releases of information to maintain communication with outside service
providers.

Policies/Procedures for Reporting and responding to Bullying,
Harassment and Retaliation

Reporting bullying, harassment or retaliation
Reports of bullying, harassment or retaliation may be made by staff, students, parents/guardians,
or others and may be oral or written. Oral reports made by a student to a staff member shall be
recorded in writing and by that staff member. All staff are required to report immediately to the

building principals, security team or other administrator any instance of bullying, harassment or
retaliation the staff member becomes aware of or witnesses. Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech has
developed an Incident Reporting Form which is accessible in the Security office, on the website,
and under the staff’s public folder files for staff to access. Oral or email reports by a
parent/guardian are also acceptable.
Use of an Incident Reporting Form is not required as a condition of making a report. The school
or district will: 1) include a copy of the Incident Reporting Form in the beginning of the year
packets for students and parents or guardians; 2) make it available in the school’s main office,
the counseling office, the school nurse’s office, and other locations determined by the principal
or designee; and 3) post it on the school’s website. The Incident Reporting Form will be made
available in the most prevalent language(s) of origin of students and parents or guardians.
At the beginning of each school year, the school or district will provide the school community,
including, but not limited to, educators, administrators, school nurses, cafeteria workers,
custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities, paraprofessionals,
students, and parents or guardians, with written notice of its policies for reporting acts of
bullying and retaliation. A description of the reporting procedures and resources, including the
name and contact information of the principal or designee, and the superintendent or designee
when the principal or the assistant principal is the alleged aggressor, will be incorporated in
student and staff handbooks, on the school or district website, and in information about the Plan
that is made available to parents or guardians.
Reports made by students, parents or guardians, or other individuals who are not school or
district staff members, may be made anonymously. The school or district will make a variety of
reporting resources available to the school community including, but not limited to, an Incident
Reporting Form, a voicemail box, a dedicated mailing address, and an email address.

Reporting by Staff
A staff member will report immediately to the principal or designee, or to the superintendent or
designee when the principal or the assistant principal is the alleged aggressor, or to the school
committee or designee when the superintendent is the alleged aggressor when he/she witnesses
or becomes aware of conduct that may be bullying or retaliation. The requirement to report as
provided does not limit the authority of the staff member to respond to behavioral or disciplinary
incidents consistent with school or district policies and procedures for behavior management and
discipline.

Reporting by Students, Parents or Guardians, and Others
The school or district expects students, parents or guardians, and others who witness or become
aware of an instance of bullying or retaliation involving a student to report it to the principal or
designee, or superintendent or designee when the principal or assistant principal is the alleged
aggressor. Reports may be made anonymously, but no disciplinary action will be taken against
an alleged aggressor solely on the basis of an anonymous report. Students, parents or guardians,
and others may request assistance from a staff member to complete a written report. Students
will be provided practical, safe, private, and age-appropriate ways to report and discuss an

incident of bullying with a staff member, or with the principal or designee, or superintendent or
designee when the principal or assistant principal is the alleged aggressor.

Anonymous Reporting:
• Send an email to reportbullying@gnbvt.edu
• Leave a message with Security at (508) 998-3321 ext. 272
• Mail Information to:
o Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School
Attn: Security Office
1121 Ashley Blvd.
New Bedford, MA 02745

Reporting in Person:
• Complete an Incident Report Form in the Security Office with Mr. Texeira –
shane.texeira@gnbvt.edu (Ext. 272)
• Talk with your Vice Principal in the Security Office:
o Mr. Pimental – 9/10 Grade – Robert.pimental@gnbvt.edu (Ext. 381)
o Mr. Caron- 11/12 Grade – Jeffrey.caron@gnbvt.edu (Ext. 277)

RESPONDING TO A REPORT OF BULLYING, HARASSMENT OR RETALIATION

Allegations of Bullying by a Student

Safety
Before fully investigating the allegations of bullying or retaliation, the principal or designee will
take steps to assess the need to restore a sense of safety to the alleged target and/or to protect the
alleged target from possible further incidents. Responses to promote safety may include, but not
be limited to, creating a personal safety plan; pre-determining seating arrangements for the target
and/or the aggressor in the classroom, at lunch, or on the bus; identifying a staff member who
will act as a “safe person” for the target; and altering the aggressor’s schedule and access to the
target. The principal or designee will take additional steps to promote safety during the course of
and after the investigation, as necessary.
The principal or designee will implement appropriate strategies for protecting from bullying or
retaliation a student who has reported bullying or retaliation, a student who has witnessed
bullying or retaliation, a student who provides information during an investigation, or a student
who has reliable information about a reported act of bullying or retaliation.

Obligations to Notify Others

a. Notice to parents or guardians. Upon determining that bullying or retaliation has
occurred, the principal or designee will promptly notify the parents or guardians
of the target and the student aggressor of this, and of the procedures for
responding to it. There may be circumstances in which the principal or designee
contacts parents or guardians prior to any investigation. Notice will be consistent

with state regulations at 603 CMR 49.00.

b. Notice to Another School or District. If the reported incident involves students
from more than one school district, charter school, non-public school, approve
d private special education day or residential school, or collaborative school, the
principal or designee first informed of the incident will promptly notify by
telephone the principal or designee of the other school(s) of the incident so that
each school may take appropriate action. All communications will be in
accordance with state and federal privacy laws and regulations, and 603 CMR
49.00.

c. Notice to Law Enforcement. At any point after receiving a report of bullying or
retaliation, including after an investigation, if the principal or designee has a
reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the
aggressor, the principal will notify the local law enforcement agency. Notice will
be consistent with the requirements of 603 CMR 49.00 and locally established
agreements with the local law enforcement agency. Also, if an incident occurs on
school grounds and involves a former student under the age of 21 who is no
longer enrolled in school, the principal or designee shall contact the local law
enforcement agency if he or she has a reasonable basis to believe that criminal
charges may be pursued against the student aggressor.

In making this determination, the principal will, consistent with the Plan and with applicable
school or district policies and procedures, consult with the school resource officer, if any, and
other individuals the principal or designee deems appropriate.

Investigation
The principal or designee will investigate promptly all reports of bullying or retaliation and, in
doing so, will consider all available information known, including the nature of the allegation(s)
and the ages of the students involved.
During the investigation the principal or designee will, among other things, interview students,
staff, witnesses, parents or guardians, and others as necessary. The principal or designee (or
whoever is conducting the investigation) will remind the alleged student aggressor, target, and
witnesses of the importance of the investigation, their obligation to be truthful and that retaliation
against someone who reports bullying or provides information during a bullying investigation is
strictly prohibited and will result in disciplinary action.
Interviews may be conducted by the principal or designee, other staff members as determined by
the principal or designee, and in consultation with the school counselor, as appropriate. To the
extent practicable, and given his/her obligation to investigate and address the matter, the
principal or designee will maintain confidentiality during the investigative process. The principal
or designee will maintain a written record of the investigation.

Procedures for investigating reports of bullying and retaliation will be consistent with school or
district policies and procedures for investigations. If necessary, the principal or designee will
consult with legal counsel about the investigation.

Determinations
The principal or designee will make a determination based upon all of the facts and
circumstances. If, after investigation, bullying or retaliation is substantiated, the principal or
designee will take steps reasonably calculated to prevent recurrence and to ensure that the target
is not restricted in participating in school or in benefiting from school activities. The principal or
designee will: 1) determine what remedial action is required, if any, and 2) determine what
responsive actions and/or disciplinary action is necessary.
Depending upon the circumstances, the principal or designee may choose to consult with the
students’ teacher(s) and/or school counselor, and the target’s or student aggressor’s parents or
guardians, to identify any underlying social or emotional issue(s) that may have contributed to
the bullying behavior and to assess the level of need for additional social skills development.
The principal or designee will promptly notify the parents or guardians of the target and the
aggressor about the results of the investigation and, if bullying or retaliation is found, what
action is being taken to prevent further acts of bullying or retaliation. All notice to parents must
comply with applicable state and federal privacy laws and regulations. Because of the legal
requirements regarding the confidentiality of student records, the principal or designee cannot
report specific information to the target’s parent or guardian about the disciplinary action taken
unless it involves a “stay away” order or other directive that the target must be aware of in order
to report violations.
The principal or designee shall inform the parent or guardian of the target about the Department
of Elementary and Secondary Education’s problem resolution system and the process for
accessing that system, regardless of the outcome of the bullying determination.

Responses to Bullying
Teaching Appropriate Behavior Through Skills-building
Upon the principal or designee determining that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the law
requires that the school or district use a range of responses that balance the need for

accountability with the need to teach appropriate behavior. M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O (d) (v). Skill-
building approaches that the principal or designee may consider include:

▪ offering individualized skill-building sessions based on the school’s/district’s anti-
bullying curricula;

▪ providing relevant educational activities for individual students or groups of students, in
consultation with guidance counselors and other appropriate school personnel;
▪ implementing a range of academic and nonacademic positive behavioral supports to help
students understand pro-social ways to achieve their goals;

▪ meeting with parents and guardians to engage parental support and to reinforce the anti-
bullying curricula and social skills building activities at home;

▪ adopting behavioral plans to include a focus on developing specific social skills; and
▪ making a referral for evaluation.

Taking Disciplinary Action
If the principal or designee decides that disciplinary action is appropriate, the disciplinary action
will be determined on the basis of facts found by the principal or designee, including the nature
of the conduct, the age of the student(s) involved, and the need to balance accountability with the
teaching of appropriate behavior. Discipline will be consistent with the Plan and with the
school’s or district’s code of conduct.
Discipline procedures for students with disabilities are governed by the federal Individuals with
Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), which should be read in cooperation with state
laws regarding student discipline.
If the principal or designee determines that a student knowingly made a false allegation of
bullying or retaliation, that student may be subject to disciplinary action.

Promoting Safety for the Target and Others
The principal or designee will consider what adjustments, if any, are needed in the school
environment to enhance the target’s sense of safety and that of others as well. One strategy that
the principal or designee may use is to increase adult supervision at transition times and in
locations where bullying is known to have occurred or is likely to occur.
Within a reasonable period of time following the determination and the ordering of remedial
and/or disciplinary action, the principal or designee will contact the target to determine whether
there has been a recurrence of the prohibited conduct and whether additional supportive
measures are needed. If so, the principal or designee will work with appropriate school staff to
implement them immediately.

Responding to a Report of Bullying by School Staff
Safety
Before fully investigating the allegations of bullying or retaliation, the principal or designee will
take steps to assess the need to restore a sense of safety to the alleged target and/or to protect the
alleged target from possible further incidents; when the principal or assistant principal is the
alleged aggressor, or to the school committee or designee when the superintendent is the alleged
aggressor.

Obligations to Notify Others

a. Notice to parents or guardians. Upon determining that bullying or retaliation has
occurred, the principal or designee will promptly notify the parents or guardians
of the target and the student aggressor of this, and of the procedures for
responding to it. There may be circumstances in which the principal or designee
contacts parents or guardians prior to any investigation. Notice will be consistent
with state regulations at 603 CMR 49.00.
b. Notice to Another School or District. If the reported incident involves students
from more than one school district, charter school, non-public school, approve
d private special education day or residential school, or collaborative school, the
principal or designee first informed of the incident will promptly notify by
telephone the principal or designee of the other school(s) of the incident so that
each school may take appropriate action. All communications will be in
accordance with state and federal privacy laws and regulations, and 603 CMR
49.00.
c. Notice to Law Enforcement. At any point after receiving a report of bullying or
retaliation, including after an investigation, if the principal or designee has a
reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the
aggressor, the principal will notify the local law enforcement agency. Notice will
be consistent with the requirements of 603 CMR 49.00 and locally established
agreements with the local law enforcement agency.

Investigation
The principal or designee (or the superintendent or designee when the assistant principal is the
alleged aggressor, or to the school committee or designee when the superintendent is the alleged
aggressor) will investigate promptly all reports of bullying or retaliation and, in doing so, will
consider all available information known, including the nature of the allegation(s) and the ages
of the students involved.
During the investigation the principal or designee (or the superintendent or designee when the
assistant principal is the alleged aggressor, or to the school committee or designee when the
superintendent is the alleged aggressor) will, among other things, interview students, staff,
witnesses, parents or guardians, and others as necessary.
The authority responsible for conducting the investigation will remind the alleged student
aggressor, target, and witnesses of the importance of the investigation, their obligation to be
truthful and that retaliation against someone who reports bullying or provides information during
a bullying investigation is strictly prohibited and will result in disciplinary action. The
investigator will maintain a written record of the investigation. Procedures for investigating
reports of bullying and retaliation will be consistent with school or district policies and
procedures for investigations. If necessary, the principal or designee will consult with legal
counsel about the investigation.

Determinations
The principal or designee (or the superintendent or designee when the assistant principal is the
alleged aggressor, or to the school committee or designee when the superintendent is the alleged
aggressor) will make a determination based upon all of the facts and circumstances. If, after
investigation, bullying or retaliation is substantiated, the principal or designee will take steps
reasonably calculated to prevent recurrence and to ensure that the target is not restricted in
participating in school or in benefiting from school activities. The principal or designee will: 1)
determine what remedial action is required, if any, and 2) determine what responsive actions
and/or disciplinary action is necessary.
The principal or designee (or the superintendent or designee when the assistant principal is the
alleged aggressor, or to the school committee or designee when the superintendent is the alleged
aggressor) will promptly notify the parents or guardians of the target and the aggressor about the
results of the investigation and, if bullying or retaliation is found, what action is being taken to
prevent further acts of bullying or retaliation. All notice to parents must comply with applicable
state and federal privacy laws and regulations. The principal or designee shall inform the parent
or guardian of the target about the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s
problem resolution system and the process for accessing that system, regardless of the outcome
of the bullying determination.

Collaboration with Families 

Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech believes that anti-bullying efforts will be most effective when
the school engages and collaborates with students’ families. Resources for families and
communication with them are essential aspects of effective collaboration. The district will
inform parents/guardians about the bullying prevention and intervention plan and curricula used
by the school including:
• The effects of bullying on all involved;
• The importance of online/social media safety and the effects of cyberbullying

A. Parent education and resources. The district will offer education information for parents
and guardians that are focused on the parental components of the anti-bullying curricula
and any social skills building curricula used by the school. The information will be
offered in collaboration with the PTO/PTA, School Councils, Special Education Parent
Advisory Council, or similar organizations. Information flyers and social media posts
may also be provided to parents and the public throughout the year.

B. Notification requirements. Parents and guardians will be notified in writing at the start of
each school year about the student-related sections of the Bullying Prevention and
Intervention Plan via their child’s Student Handbook. The Plan, policies and forms will e
located on the district website and is made available in various languages.

Prohibition Against Bullying and Retaliation

Acts of bullying, which include cyberbullying, are prohibited:

(i) on school grounds and property immediately adjacent to school grounds, at a school-
sponsored or school-related activity, function, or program whether on or off schoolgrounds, at a school bus stop, on a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased, or used by
a school district or school; or through the use of technology or an electronic device
owned, leased, or used by a school district or school, and
(ii) at a location, activity, function, or program that is not school-related through the use of
technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by a school district
or school, if the acts create a hostile environment at school for the target or witnesses,
infringe on their rights at school, or materially and substantially disrupt the education
process or the orderly operation of a school.
Retaliation against a person who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation
of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying is also prohibited.
As stated in M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, nothing in this Plan requires the district or school to staff any
non-school related activities, functions, or programs.

Reporting bullying or retaliation

Chapter 86 of the Acts of 2014 amended Section 37O of chapter 71 of the General Laws to
include (g) (v): The Plan shall inform parents or guardians of the target about the Department’s
problem resolution system and the process for seeking assistance or filing a claim through the
problem resolution system. This information will be made available in both hard copy and
electronic formats:
Any parent wishing to file a claim/concern or seeking assistance outside of the district may do so
with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Problem Resolution System (PRS).
That information can be found at: https://www.doe.mass.edu/prs/ and emails can be sent to
compliance@doe.mass.edu or individuals can call 781-338-3700.

DEFINITIONS
The following definitions are directly from M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O.

Aggressor is a student or a member of a school staff who engages in bullying, cyberbullying, or
retaliation towards a student.

Bullying, as defined in M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, is the repeated use by one or more students or a
member of a school staff of a written, verbal, or electronic expression or a physical act or
gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a target that:
i. causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target’s property;
ii. places the target in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself or of damage to his or
her property;
iii. creates a hostile environment at school for the target;
iv. infringes on the rights of the target at school; or
v. materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of
a school.

Cyberbullying, is bullying through the use of technology or electronic devices such as
telephones, cell phones, computers, and the Internet. It includes, but is not limited to, email,
instant messages, text messages, and Internet postings. See M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O for the legal
definition of cyberbullying.

Hostile environment, as defined in M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, is a situation in which bullying causes
the school environment to be permeated with intimidation, ridicule, or insult that is sufficiently
severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of a student’s education.

Retaliation is any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassment directed against a student who
reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has
reliable information about bullying.

School Staff includes, but is not limited to, educators, administrators, counselors, school nurses,
cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities,
support staff, or paraprofessionals.

Target is a student against whom bullying, cyberbullying, or retaliation has been perpetrated.

Relationship to Other Laws

Consistent with state and federal laws, and the policies of the school or district, no person shall
be discriminated against in admission to a public school of any town or in obtaining the
advantages, privilege and courses of study of such public school on account of race, color,
religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, socioeconomic status, academic status, gender identity or
expression, physical appearance, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, developmental, or
sensory disability, or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of
these characteristics. Nothing in the Plan prevents the school or district from taking action to
remediate discrimination or harassment based on a person’s membership in a legally protected
category under local, state, or federal law, or school or district policies.

In addition, nothing in the Plan is designed or intended to limit the authority of the school or
district to take disciplinary action or other action under M.G.L. c. 71, §§ 37H or 37H1⁄2, M.G.L.
c. 71, §§41 and 42, M.G.L.c 76 § 5, or other applicable laws, or local school or district policies,
or collective bargaining agreements, in response to violent, harmful, or disruptive behavior,
regardless of whether the Plan covers the behavior.

Laws and Regulations:
• An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools (approved April 2014)
• An Act Relative to Bullying, Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2010, approved May 3, 2010
• Notification of Bullying or Retaliation Regulations (603 CMR 49.00)
• Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g and 34 CFR Part
99
• M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O (School Bullying Prohibited: Bullying Prevention Plans)
• Massachusetts Student Records Regulations, 603 CMR 23.00