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Mass. Gov. Signs Sweeping Anti-Bullying Bill

This article is more than 9 years old.

Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill cracking down on school bullies and requiring teachers to report bullying to principals.

The bill signed Monday was passed after the suicides of two students said to be victims of intense harassment.

Sirdeaner Walker of Springfield called the bill a watershed moment. Her 11-year-old son, Carl Walker-Hoover, hanged himself at home last year. Walker said he had been tormented by classmates.

"We need to teach our children the simple message of respect for all," Walker said. "This is not about criminalizing bullying but about preventing bullying through education."

In January, 15-year-old Phoebe Prince killed herself after allegedly being bullied at South Hadley High School. A group of classmates have pleaded not guilty in connection with her death.

The new law prohibits bullying on school property and outlaws cyberbullying. It doesn't punish teachers who witness bullying and don't make a report.

All but six states and Washington, D.C., have passed anti-bullying laws.

This program aired on May 3, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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