Friday, March 21, 2014

Massachusetts Anti Bullying Act

The Massachusetts Senate passed H.3909, An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools, which updates the state's anti bullying laws to include specific protections for LGBT youth who are the most frequent targets of bullying. Governor Deval Patrick is expected to sign the bill that will continue to provide strong safeguards to improve school climates in Massachusetts. Kara Coredini MassEquality Executive Director stated, “This legislation is the critical next step in the Commonwealth’s historic & ongoing efforts to keep all students safe in schools. We are grateful to Senate President Therese Murray, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, Chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Education & lead Senate sponsor & Senator Stephen Brewer, Chairman of Senate Ways & Means, for being extraordinary champions of the bill throughout the process, & we applaud the Senate for passing it. We also thank Attorney General Martha Coakley for the instrumental role she played in identifying the need for this enhancement to protect LGBT youth & advocating for its swift passage. We look forward to the Governor signing this bill into law.” Attorney General Martha Coakley added, “This update to the anti-bullying law allows us to better measure the effectiveness of our efforts to protect children & create safe environments for those who are especially vulnerable to bullying, such as LGBT students & students with disabilities. We want to thank MassEquality & the Anti-Defamation League for their continued leadership on this issue and applaud the Senate for passing this bill. We look forward to this bill making it to the Governor’s desk.” At least 15 other states have implemented anti bullying laws that have explicit protections for LGBT youth in schools, which are necessary to ensure that harassment of LGBT students is not overlooked or disregarded.
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