BPS Bullying Prevention Hotline: (617) 592-2378
Superintendent Johnson’s Message to Families
The effort to stop and prevent bullying continues to grow. The Boston Public Schools are leading the way with what we believe is the most comprehensive anti-bullying plan in the nation. Anti-bullying legislation now exists in 49 states, including Massachusetts. Today, educators are professionally and legally responsible for stopping and preventing bullying.
The entire BPS community works hard every day to ensure students accelerate their academic achievement, and the safety and well-being of our students is a top priority. Bullying affects a student’s ability to focus on learning and to succeed in the classroom and beyond. Bullying is a concern to all of us who work with children and young adults. We are too often reminded of the tragic impact that bullying can have on students in Massachusetts and around the country. We in the Boston Public Schools are engaged in proactive, innovative, and educationally sound strategies to prevent bullying.
To help our efforts, Mayor Thomas M. Menino established an Anti-Bullying Hotline for the City of Boston: 617.592.2378. While we strongly encourage you and your child to report instances of bullying to administrators and staff at school, we also understand that families, and students in particular, may feel more comfortable calling the hotline in some instances. While it is essential that all reported instances are treated with the utmost seriousness, we also believe that proactive measures are critical to prevention.
In addition to the hotline, the BPS leadership team has worked collaboratively with Safety Services, Cyber Safety Campaign, and Education Development Center to actively develop a variety of educational initiatives. These proactive activities include professional development for school personnel, workshops for parents, classroom and schoolwide bullying prevention education, and resources for school personnel and parents.
On this page you’ll find many helpful tools and resources:
- Information that may help you recognize if your child is being bullied,
- Ideas for how to help your child prevent or stop bullying, and
- Ways to ensure that all students become helpful bystanders in bullying situations.
Thank you for your continued partnership in ensuring that our students always treat others with respect and have the knowledge, skill, and confidence to succeed in college, career, and life.
Carol R. Johnson
- Resources: Read the BPS Anti-Bullying plan as approved by the Boston School Committee in December, 2010.
BPS Bullying Prevention and Intervention Activities
Guides, Online Professional Development, Trainings, Support, Programs
The Bullying Prevention and Intervention Initiative is a joint effort between Boston Public Schools and Bullying Prevention and Research Institute (BPRI) at Education Development Center, Inc.
Guides for School Personnel and Parents
This guide prepares parents, guardians, and school personnel to talk with students about bullying. It provides strategies for working together to respond effectively to bullying and to create a bullying-free environment.
This guide helps prepare parents and guardians of children with disabilities to talk with their children about bullying. It provides strategies for responding effectively when children are bullied and for including these strategies in children’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).
This guide provides the IEP Team with critical information for addressing the issue of bullying for students on an IEP. It includes: (1) Information on bullying legislation and its relevance for students with disabilities; (2) Parents’/guardians’ rights and expectations about bullying prevention and intervention for students with an IEP, including questions parents may use to prepare for IEP Team meetings; and (3) School personnel’s roles and responsibilities for helping students with disabilities who are on an IEP develop social and emotional skills for bullying prevention and intervention.
This guide helps teachers integrate important messages about bullying prevention into their everyday instruction. It helps teachers generate ideas for instruction that will help students in grades K–12 learn about the issues of bullying and bullying prevention. It provides short sample activities, adaptable for elementary, middle, and high school, in the subject areas of English Language Arts, World and U.S. History, Current Events, and Life Sciences.
This guide provides the program rationale, goals, and description along with the specific information on program structure, staffing, and procedures for implementation. This is a unique bullying prevention and intervention program that provides skills and strategies for all students—bullies, victims, and bystanders. A Supplementary Facilitator’s Manual includes detailed lesson plans for eight weekly sessions.
Online Professional Education Modules
Available for school personnel on mybps.org (Coming soon)
(1) Creating a School Climate for Bullying Prevention
An online professional education module to help school personnel meet the requirements of state legislation and their school’s individual bullying prevention plan. It includes an overview of bullying prevention and intervention, outlines the specific responsibilities of school personnel, and provides critical information about bullying prevention strategies and best practices.
(2) Bullying Prevention and Students with Disabilities
An online professional education module that highlights the unique challenges of bullying involving students with disabilities and prepares school personnel to address bullying in an increasingly inclusive school population. It provides: (1) whole-school, targeted student group, and individualized intervention strategies to prevent and address bullying involving students with and without disabilities; and (2) appropriate strategies for addressing bullying in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan.
Saturdays for Success
An 8-session skills-building program for students on Saturday mornings at the BPS Counseling and Intervention Center (developed through BPS/EDC partnership). Program is for students referred for bullying (as an educational alternative to suspension), students referred for victimization, and selected peer leaders. The program provides targeted counseling, intervention sessions, and group dynamic and enrichment activities that nurture friendships, develop social and emotional skills, and actively involve students in applying bullying prevention strategies.
Eyes on Bullying
A skills-building program that parents, childcare professionals, and teachers can use with children and youth in schools, afterschool programs, childcare centers, families, and community organizations. Developed at Education Development Center. The Eyes on Bullying Toolkit is available for download at www.eyesonbullying.org. Also offered: Trainings and workshops for parents and school personnel, and staff at afterschool, youth, and childcare programs
BOSTON vs BULLIES
This anti-bullying initiative by The Sports Museum and the Boston sports community features athletes from all of Boston's professional sports teams. Visit BOSTON vs BULLIES to see athletes share their stories and provide kids with ways to stand strong against bullying. You’ll also find tools, tips, and guidance to help kids prevent and stop bullying in our community. Join the BOSTON vs BULLIES team and stand strong against bullying.
All Staff Trainings (2 hours)
This training provides all school personnel with an overview of bullying prevention and intervention. It meets the requirements of the state’s Bullying Prevention and Intervention Law. These all staff trainings have been conducted in almost every school throughout the district.
New-Hire Teacher Bullying Prevention Training (2 hours)
This training provides all new-hire teachers during their orientation with critical information about bullying prevention strategies and best practices, and highlights the basic elements of the Massachusetts Bullying Prevention and Intervention Law.
In-Depth School Personnel Training (18 hours)
This is focused, in-depth training for selected school personnel in each school. Upon completion of this training, participants become Bullying Intervention Specialists in their school. They also receive NoBully Solution Team coaching certification.
NoBully Solution Team® Trainings
This training prepares BPS school personnel to become skilled implementers and certified trainers of a non-punitive programmatic intervention strategy. This strategy empowers students to work with a group of their peers along with an adult facilitator to proactively and effectively stop the bullying of one of their peers.
On-going support in implementing each school’s Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan as mandated by the requirements of the BPS and state legislation. This includes an overview of the state bullying prevention and intervention law, the specific responsibilities of school personnel, and critical information about bullying prevention and intervention strategies and best practices.
Bullying Prevention Workshop for Parents of Students with Disabilities
This workshop (sponsored by the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee) provides parents with effective strategies they can use with students with disabilities to prevent, respond to, and stop bullying.
A Bullying Reporting System
A systematic reporting system for incidents of bullying
The Bullying Prevention Hotline: 617.592.2378
A dedicated cell phone for school personnel and parents to talk with the BPS bullying prevention expert about important issues, questions, and concerns
The Boston Public Schools Cyber Safety Campaign is a student-developed campaign to promote safe and healthy Internet use. This site contains numerous resources, including those featuring the popular Cyber Safety Heroes, which can be downloaded for free or ordered for use in the classroom and at home.
This site includes:
- Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan
- General Department Updates and Information
- Laws and Regulations
- Evidence Based Programs, Curricula, and Practices
- Parent Information
- Resources from State Agencies
- Additional Resources
- Definition of Bullying
- Social Emotional Learning
- For more information
This Federal government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services provides information from various government agencies on what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying.
Bullying / Cyber bullying Definition and Prohibition:
Bullying occurs where there is, or is perceived to be, an imbalance of power, i.e. social, emotional, cognitive, age, size, gender. Bullying is defined as 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 victim that:
- causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim’s property;
- places the victim in reasonable fear of harm to himself or of damage to his property;
- creates a hostile environment at school for the victim;
- infringes on the rights of the victim at school; or
- materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.
Cyber-bullying is bullying through the use of technology or any electronic means. including the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons, through either the creation of a web page or blog in which the creator impersonates another person or the distribution or posting of information online if these acts create any of the conditions listed above. State law prohibits bullying:
- at school and at all school facilities;
- at school-sponsored or school-related functions, whether on or off school
- on school buses and school bus stops;
- through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, licensed or used by a school; and
- at non-school-related locations and through non-school technology or electronic devices, if the bullying affects the school environment.
Retaliation related to Bullying:
State law prohibits retaliation against a person who reports bullying provides information during an investigation of bullying, or who is a witness to or has reliable information about bullying. Disciplinary action could include in-school intervention, suspension in or out of school, referral to the SMART Boston program, referral to the Counseling and Intervention Center, and/or expulsion.
False Accusations of Bullying
A student who knowingly makes a false accusation of bullying will be subject to disciplinary action as defined by the BPS Code of conduct. BPS is currently updating the Code of Conduct and will include this is that version.
Procedures for students, staff, parents, guardians and others to report bullying or retaliation include anonymous reporting through the Bully Hotline 617-592-2378, and filing a Bullying Incident Report either through the Hotline or the school directly.
- No disciplinary action shall be taken against a student solely based on an anonymous report but an investigation will ensue.
Upon receipt of the report, within 48 hours the administrator will notify the parent (of the victim) of the complaint. An investigation will be completed and findings and action plan will be developed within 1 school week. During this time parents of the victim and the perpetrator will be notified and consequences for the behavior will be addressed.
Services for the perpetrator could include but are not limited to Sections 5 and 7 of the Code of Conduct: contracting, student support resources, detention, loss of school privileges, long-term adjustment of class schedule, probation, restitution, denial of school-provided transportation, long-term suspension, disciplinary transfer, alternative program placement or expulsion.
Additional bullying specific interventions could include: in-school bullying prevention and intervention training for individuals and classes, referral to the Counseling and Intervention Center, the BPS Saturdays for Success Program or the SMART Boston Program, individual counseling and criminal charges if appropriate.
Services for the victim could include but are not limited to: safety plan, regular check in, identification of adults whom the victim trusts, safety transfer, Operation Homefront referral, referral to the BPS Saturdays for Success Program, in-school counseling as needed or requested.
The District requires annual bullying prevention and intervention training for all school staff, including lunch monitors, bus drivers, teachers, administrators and all other itinerant staff as well as on-going professional development. The professional development requires that each school have at least 2 staff trained as Bullying Intervention Specialists. The training includes (i) developmentally appropriate strategies to prevent bullying incidents; (ii) developmentally appropriate strategies for immediate, effective interventions to stop bullying incidents; (iii) information regarding the complex interaction and power differential that can take place between and among a perpetrator, victim and witnesses to the bullying; (iv) research findings on bullying, including information about specific categories of students who have been shown to be particularly at risk for bullying in the school environment; (v) information on the incidence and nature of cyber-bullying; and (vi) internet safety issues as they relate to cyber-bullying.