Commission: Mass. Schools Should Report Bullying Data

A commission headed by Attorney General Martha Coakley is pressing Massachusetts lawmakers to require that all schools collect and report annual bullying data as part of the state's effort to prevent the harassment of students.

"We could make some specific recommendations based on concrete data, as opposed to making proposed amendments to the law before we had a sense of the scope of the problem," commission member Michael Long, of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, said.

The commission is also recommending that schools acknowledge that some categories of students are particularly vulnerable to harassment and that schools encourage the involvement of parents to stop or resolve incidents of bullying.

The recommendations follow the passage last year of a new state law prohibiting bullying on school property and outlawing cyberbullying through email or social media networks.

Long says the bullying data will help gauge whether the law is working.

The law was prompted by the suicides of two students said to be the victims of intense bullying — 11-year-old Springfield resident Carl Walker-Hoover in 2009 and 15-year-old Phoebe Prince, a recent Irish immigrant who was targeted at South Hadley High School.

With reporting from The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This program aired on June 30, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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