Bullying, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 71, §370, means the repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a target that:
(a) causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target’s property;
(b) places the target in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself or damage to his or her property;
(c) creates a hostile environment at school for the target;
(d) infringes on the rights of the target at school; or
(e) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. Bullying shall include cyberbullying.
~MA DESE 603 CMR 49.03

“Repeated”

  • If it happens just once, it is NOT bullying. Twice, maybe. More than that, yes, it is bullying.

“written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture …”

  • If is is a note, and email, a letter, written on a locker, a desk, in writing of any form
  • If it is said, screamed, whispered, sang, verbally taunted …
  • If it is texted, iMessaged, Tweeted, im’d, commented on a blog, posted on Facebook, …
  • If there is a punch, kick, push, unwanted touching, inappropriate touching, …
  • If it is a gesture such as showing the middle finger, or other offensive actions …

Causes one or more of the following …

(a) causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target’s property;

  • If it causes physical pain, bruises, tripping, falling, …
  • If it causes torn clothing, missing items, broken items, …
  • If it causes anxiety, depression, confusion, lack of focus ..

(b) places the target in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself or damage to his or her property;

  • If it causes fear of physical pain, bruises, tripping, falling, …
  • If it causes fear of torn clothing, missing items, broken items, …

(c) creates a hostile environment at school for the target;

  • “Hostile environment”, a situation in which bullying causes the school environment to be permeated with intimidation, ridicule or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the student’s education. (MA General Law Part I/TITLE XII/CHAPTER 71/Section 370)

(d) infringes on the rights of the target at school;

  • Civil Rights, human rights, right to an education … (more below)

(e) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.

  • If it causes classes, lunch room, recess, etc. to operate differently

Bullying shall include cyberbullying.

  • Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.
  • Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.

From the Public Schools of Brookline Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan, December 30, 2013 (emphasis mine):

Bullying and retaliation are prohibited:

  • On school grounds and property immediately adjacent to school grounds; at a school sponsored or school-related activity, function, or program whether on or off school grounds; at a school bus stop, on a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased, or used by the Public Schools of Brookline; or through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, leased, or used by the Public Schools of Brookline; and
  • At a location, activity, function, or program that is not school-related, or through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by the Public Schools of Brookline, if the bullying creates a hostile environment at school for the target, infringes on the target’s rights at school, or materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.

Retaliation against a person who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying is also prohibited.