(Click here for the short answer, or keep reading …)
From Massachusetts General Law c. 71, §370 (emphasis mine):
(d)(1) Each school district, charter school, non-public school, approved private day or residential school and collaborative school shall develop, adhere to and update a plan to address bullying prevention and intervention in consultation with teachers, school staff, professional support personnel, school volunteers, administrators, community representatives, local law enforcement agencies, students, parents and guardians. …
(2) Each plan shall include, but not be limited to: (i) descriptions of and statements prohibiting bullying, cyber-bullying and retaliation, including procedures for collecting, maintaining and reporting bullying incident data required under subsection (k); (ii) clear procedures for students, staff, parents, guardians and others to report bullying or retaliation; (iii) a provision that reports of bullying or retaliation may be made anonymously; provided, however, that no disciplinary action shall be taken against a student solely on the basis of an anonymous report; …
From the Public Schools of Brookline Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan, December 30, 2013 (emphasis mine):
Reports of bullying or retaliation may be made by staff, students, parents/guardians, or others, and may be oral or written. Oral reports made by or to a staff member shall be recorded in writing. Staff members report immediately to the Headmaster/Principal/Superintendent/School Committee or designee any bullying or retaliation the staff member becomes aware of or witnesses. PSB [Public Schools of Brookline] has incident report forms available on its website for reporting, and encourages families to report incidents of bullying or retaliation.
Use of a Bullying Incident Report Form is not required as a condition of making a report. …
The Bullying Incident Report Form is available in the most prevalent language(s) of students and parents/guardians.
So what does that mean?
- You can anonymously report bullying or harassment or retaliation BUT there will be no repercussions for the aggressor, no discipline action taken, based on an anonymous report.
- You can report bullying or retaliation orally or in written form. That means, just telling the staff or administration about a bullying incident IS an official report. Mentioning it in an email IS an official report. Filling out the school district’s Bullying Incident Report Form IS an official report (whether or not you put your name on it).
- download and fill in the Bullying Incident Report Form
- hand deliver to the main office of the school, addressed to the Principal
- ask for a signed, date stamped copy of the report
- WAIT FOR THE signed, date stamped copy of the report
- if they will not sign and date stamp the report while you wait, take it back and bring it to Town Hall, 5th Floor and go to either the Deputy Superintendent for Student Service or to the Superintendent and request the same. They will absolutely do it.