Massachusetts has garnered the unique distinction of being one of the first U.S. states to have a statute on bullying in schools. According to this statute, found in Chapter 71, Section 37O of Massachusetts General Law, bullying is defined 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: (i) causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim’s property; (ii) places the victim in reasonable fear of harm to himself or of damage to his property; (iii) creates a hostile environment at school for the victim; (iv) infringes on the rights of the victim at school; or (v) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. For the purposes of this section, bullying shall include cyber-bullying.”
Lyons & Rogers, LLC, advises and represents Boston public school districts and districts throughout the state in complex issues related to this law and its corresponding educational regulations. When a parent files a complaint in response to the alleged bullying or harassment of his or her child, our lawyers are fully equipped to guide school administration through the necessary legal protocol. We also assist clients with developing state-approved bullying prevention and intervention plans that comprise specific procedural components.
When either the alleged aggressor or alleged victim is a member of a protected class or a student with special needs, Lyons & Rogers, LLC, counsels schools on special due process rights and procedures. Our attorneys are highly experienced in helping clients navigate gray areas of the law, particularly in bullying cases tied to special education, Title IX or Section 504 issues.