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Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill designed to build on the state's 2010 anti-bullying law by strengthening protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and students with disabilities.
Patrick called the new law "an important step toward ensuring that all young people are able to learn and thrive" in schools.
Patrick signed the bill during a State House ceremony Thursday. The law also creates new reporting measures for schools and recognizes certain populations as more vulnerable to bullying,
The 2010 law was designed to crack down on bullying and cyberbullying and require schools to establish anti-bullying programs.
The new law creates a data collection and reporting mechanism designed to help educators, administrators and legislators identify trends and respond to them.
Schools will also be required to report bullying data annually to education officials.