From Massachusetts General Law c. 71, §370 (emphasis mine):
(g) A member of a school staff, including, but not limited to, an educator, administrator, school nurse, cafeteria worker, custodian, bus driver, athletic coach, advisor to an extracurricular activity or paraprofessional, shall immediately report any instance of bullying or retaliation the staff member has witnessed or become aware of to the principal or to the school official identified in the plan as responsible for receiving such reports or both. Upon receipt of such a report, the school principal or a designee shall promptly conduct an investigation. If the school principal or a designee determines that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the school principal or designee shall (i) notify the local law enforcement agency if the school principal or designee believes that criminal charges may be pursued against a perpetrator; (ii) take appropriate disciplinary action; (iii) notify the parents or guardians of a perpetrator; (iv) notify the parents or guardians of the victim, and to the extent consistent with state and federal law, notify them of the action taken to prevent any further acts of bullying or retaliation; and (v) inform the parents or guardians of the victim about the department’s problem resolution system and the process for seeking assistance or filing a claim through the problem resolution system.
From the Public Schools of Brookline Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan, December 30, 2013 (some emphasis mine). There is more in the plan, I am highlighting parts here:
C. Responding to a Report of Bullying or Retaliation
Upon receiving a report of bullying or retaliation, the Headmaster/Principal/Superintendent/School Committee or designee, with the assistance of appropriate support staff, takes prompt steps to assess the need to restore a sense of safety to the alleged target(s), along with those who report, witness, provide information in an investigation of, or have reliable information about, bullying or retaliation. The Headmaster/Principal/Superintendent/School Committee or designee also takes steps to protect these individuals from possible further bullying or retaliation. Responses to promote safety may include, but not be limited to, creating a personal safety plan; pre-determining seating arrangements for the target and/or the aggressor in the classroom, at lunch, or on a transportation vehicle; identifying a staff member who will act as a “safe person” for the target; and altering the aggressor’s schedule and access to the target. The Headmaster/Principal/Superintendent/School Committee or designee takes additional steps to promote safety during the course of and after the bullying or retaliation investigation, as necessary.
2. Obligations to Notify Others
a. Notice to Parents or Guardians
Upon receipt of a report of bullying or retaliation, the Headmaster/Principal/Superintendent/School Committee or designee shall promptly notify the parents/guardians of the alleged target(s) and aggressor(s) of the report. The Headmaster/Principal/Superintendent/School Committee or designee shall also periodically update the parents/guardians of the alleged target(s) and aggressor(s) during the investigation. Notice to parents/guardians under this section shall be in the primary language of the home and consistent with the confidentiality requirements of the Plan. …
The Headmaster/Principal/Superintendent/School Committee or designee investigates all reports of bullying or retaliation and, in doing so, will consider all available information known, including the nature of the allegation(s) and the ages of the students involved. Specifically, the Headmaster/Principal/Superintendent/School Committee or designee shall complete the investigation within a reasonable amount of time, not to exceed 15 school days following the date of the report. …
- E. Determination
The Headmaster/Principal/Superintendent/School Committee or designee makes determinations based upon all of the facts and circumstances. If, after an investigation, the Headmaster/Principal determines that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the Headmaster/Principal/Superintendent/School Committee or designee will take steps reasonably calculated to stop the prohibited conduct, prevent its reoccurrence, and ensure that the target(s) is/are not restricted in participating in school or in benefiting from school activities.
Specifically, the Headmaster/Principal shall:
- Determine what remedial action is required, if any;
- Determine what responsive actions and/or disciplinary action is necessary, including, when appropriate, consultation with support staff to identify any underlying social or emotional issue(s) that may have contributed to the bullying or retaliation, and assess the level of need for additional social skills development or referral to one or more of the resources identified in the Plan; and
- In the event of a staff member, the administrator will consult with the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources to determine the appropriate course of action.
- Notify the parents/guardians of the target(s) and the aggressor(s) of the determination and of the procedures for responding to the bullying or retaliation; and
- Notify the parents/guardians of the target(s) of the action to be taken to prevent further bullying or retaliation.
NOTE: This is just an abbreviated version from the bullying plan. See the Public Schools of Brookline Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan for a full list of actions.