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2007- Massachusetts produced a guide for parents and educators, Direct From the Field: A Guide to Bullying Prevention. The guide includes a section on cyberbullying intervention and prevention, contains definitions, statistics and key points for school districts to consider when addressing the issue in their policies.
2010- Governor Patrick signed a bill called “An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools” which urged school districts to create and implement strategies to prevent bullying and to address bullying promptly when it does occur. This was targeted towards both public schools and private schools. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education made changes immediately which started with the 2010-2011 school year.
2010- In the same “An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools” bill signed by Governor Patrick, language was put forth to institute “internet safety policies” in each public school so that districts could limit inappropriate materials and subject matter that students could access. The legislation was put in place with public schools in mind, but DESE strongly urged private schools to adopt similar policies.
2013- Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill called “An Act Establishing Commonwealth Virtual Schools” creating the virtual school system and setting forth regulations regarding virtual schools. Some regulations include that the enrollment of these schools must not be more than 2% of the total public school population, which is around 19,000 students. Similarly, there must be no more than 10 virtual schools in operation at a time.
2014- Massachusetts was one of the original 17 states included in the Future Ready Schools Initiative that focuses on aligning instructional best practices with local technology and digital learning plans in the Department of Digital Learning. They offer personalized learning experiences for all students and provide highly trained teachers. Phase 1 of the Initiative started in 2015.
2014- After amendments to Section 37O of Chapter 71 in Massachusetts General Law, schools are now required to develop age appropriate instruction on bullying prevention and integrate these lesson plans into curriculum. Schools also need to develop an anti-bullying policy addressing prevention and consequences of bullying as well as including provisions for ongoing professional development for all staff members. It also states that cyber bullying is prohibited through the use of private electronic devices if it creates a hostile school environment for the victim, infringes on their rights or disrupts their education.
Enough Abuse Campaign
The Enough Abuse Campaign provides adults and communities the opportunity to learn how to put an end to the silence that surrounds child sexual abuse.
Harvard University Berkman Center for Internet and Society
The Berkman Center is designed to explore and understand cyberspace by being equipped with faculty, students, fellows, and entrepreneurs to do the research.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
The MA DOE provides users with information regarding the educational system and the agencies that are involved.
Massachusetts Family Institute
Massachusetts Family Institute aims at working towards strengthening family and Judeo-Christian values and also providing support services for families on a wide range of topics.
Massachusetts Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
The ICAC led by the MA State Police provides training for law enforcement, educators, and parents in order to keep children safe on the Internet with collaboration from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Mass Media Literacy
Mass Media Literacy seeks to bring comprehensive media literacy education to Massachusetts.
Mass Media Now
Media Literacy Now is a group that pushes for legislation regarding bringing media literacy into classroom curriculums.
Office of the Attorney General, State of Massachusetts
The Attorney General provides resources regarding topics like social interactions online, computer and online privacy, and there is also tips on bullying and cyberbullying.
Treadwell Library at the Massachusetts General Hospital
The Treadwell Library at the Massachusetts General Hospital provides books and articles for Internet safety, but also resources on teaching classes, hosting fairs, and the materials that go with those.
Sex, Gadgets, and the Constitution- A Look at the Massachusetts Sex Offender GPS-Tracking Statute (2015)N. Corsaro
This article examines the use of electronic monitoring of dangerous sexual offenders in Massachusetts who have been paroled.
The Enough Abuse Campaign: Building the Movement to Prevent Child Abuse in Massachusetts (2011)D. Schober, S. Fawcett, J. Bernier
This case study is a comprehensive look at the Enough Abuse Campaign in Massachusetts, an organization designed to stop child abuse.
Cyberbullying & Bullying in Massachusetts: Frequency & Motivations (2008)E. Englander
This study analyzes the responses from college freshmen about high school and K-12 teachers about the frequency and motivations regarding cyberbullying.
Education Research, Measurement and Evaluation Predictors of Technology Use for Elementary School Teachers in Massachusetts: a Multilevel SEM Approach (2007)H. Miranda
This dissertation researches technology use in elementary schools and the school administrators and policymakers about their implementation
Impact of the Living History Online Project on Students' Computer Use, Skills, Attitudes Toward Computer Technology and History Learning in Four Western Massachusetts Public Schools (2004)W. Li
This dissertation analyzes the impact of an online local history project on the students' thoughts on computer use, skills, and attitudes towards learning about history, by conducting pre and post surveys, class observations, and informal interviews.
Principal Behaviors that Influence Teacher Use of Technology in Massachusetts (2002)M.A. Martinez
This dissertation analyzes the behaviors of MA principals that contribute to the use of technology in classrooms by teachers.
This section contains details of the state’s laws as they relate to sexual offenses, children and the use of the Internet in the commission of criminal activity. Where possible, sentence details have been given, including whether an increased custodial penalty is imposed where the victim is a child.
- Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) Chapter 6, § 15NNNNN. No Name Calling Day. Declares the fourth Wednesday in January annually as No Name Calling Day to increase public awareness of the devastating effects of verbal bullying.
- MGL Chapter 71, § 93. Policy Regarding Internet Safety Measures for Schools Providing Computer Access to Students. States that every school providing computer access to students has to implement Internet safety measures protecting them from inappropriate content from the Internet. Parents and guardians must be notified of the policy.
- MGL Ch. 265, § 13B. Indecent Assault and Battery on Child under Fourteen. This section states that it is an offense to commit an indecent assault on a child under the age of fourteen. The crime is punishable by a period of imprisonment in a state prison not exceeding ten years, or in a house of correction for up to two and a half years.
- MGL Ch. 265, § 13H. Indecent Assault and Battery on Person Fourteen or Older. States that where the child is aged over fourteen then any indecent assault is punishable by a term of not more than five years’ imprisonment in a state prison, or up to two and a half years in a jail. Subsequent offenses are punished with a term not to exceed twenty years.
- MGL Ch. 265, § 13J. Assault and Battery Upon a Child. Decrees that the State will punish anyone who causes substantial bodily injury to a child under the age of fourteen by sentencing them to a maximum of fifteen years in the state prison or two and a half years in the house of correction. Where the injury is not substantial they face five years’ imprisonment (two and a half years in a house of correction). Where a parent allows this to occur, intentionally or recklessly, then they may be imprisoned for a maximum of five years.
- MGL Ch. 265, § 13L. Wanton or Reckless Behavior Creating a Risk of Serious Bodily Injury or Sexual Abuse to a Child; Duty to act. Describes the offense where a child, under the age of eighteen, is exposed to a risk of serious bodily injury or sexual abuse, a crime punishable by two and half years’ imprisonment. The guilty party must have been aware of the risk at the time.
- MGL Ch. 265, § 22A. Rape of Child. This section states that anyone who has sexual intercourse with a child under sixteen, compelling them by force or threat of bodily injury, is guilty of an offense and liable to a maximum term of life imprisonment.
- MGL Ch. 265, § 22B. Rape of a Child During Commission of Certain Offenses or by Use of Force. States, among other things, that anyone who rapes a child under the age of sixteen, and the offense results in substantial bodily injury or the infection of the victim with a sexually transmitted disease, an increased penalty of imprisonment in the state prison for a term between fifteen years up to life will apply. The same sentence applies if the rape was committed jointly by more than one person, the victim was gagged or bound, or was given drugs, alcohol or other controlled substances.
- MGL Ch. 265, § 22C. Rape of a Child Through Use of Force by Certain Previously Convicted Offenders. States that anyone who rapes a child under the age of sixteen, who has previously been convicted for certain offenses (such as indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of fourteen, rape of a child or assault with intent to commit rape of a child, to name a few) will be liable to imprisonment for a term ranging from 20 years up to life.
- MGL Ch. 265, § 23. Rape and Abuse of Child. States that where a person has sexual intercourse or abuses a child under the age of sixteen they shall be sentenced to a maximum of life in prison.
- MGL Ch. 265, § 23A. Rape and Abuse of a Child Aggravated by Age Difference between Defendant and Victim or by When Committed by Mandated Reporters. Covers the case where the offender is more than five years older than the victim, who is under the age twelve, or where the offender is more than ten years older if the victim is under sixteen. The penalty is imprisonment for ten years up to life.
- MGL Ch. 265, § 23B. Rape and Abuse of Child by Certain Previously Convicted Offenders. States that anyone who rapes a child under the age of sixteen, having previously been convicted for certain offenses (such as indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of fourteen, rape of a child or assault with intent to commit rape of a child, to name a few) will be liable to imprisonment for a term ranging from fifteen years up to life.
- MGL Ch. 265, § 24B. Assault of Child; Intent to Commit Rape; Weapons. Sets a penalty of imprisonment for up to life for anyone who assaults a child under the age of sixteen with the intent to commit rape. Anyone over the age of eighteen who commits a subsequent offense under this section will be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of between five years to life. Where the offender was armed, the minimum penalty will increase to ten years in the state prison; a second offense is punishable by a minimum term of fifteen years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment.
- MGL Ch. 265, § 26C. Definition of “Entice”; Enticement of Child under Age 16. States that anyone who entices a child to enter, exit or remain in a particular place with the intent to commit certain of the above offenses is liable to be imprisoned in the state prison for not more than five years, or up to two and a half years in the house of correction and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
- MGL Ch. 265, § 43. Stalking; Punishment. This section states that it is an offense to intentionally engage in a course of conduct, directed at a specific person, designed to cause alarm or annoyance that would result in a reasonable person suffering emotional distress. Additionally threats must be made with the intent to place that person in fear of imminent death or bodily injury. The punishment for this is a maximum of five years in prison. The definition for “course of conduct” includes communication via electronic devices, e.g. the Internet, instant messaging or cell phones. A second or subsequent offense under this section is punishable by imprisonment for a term of between two and ten years.
- MGL Ch. 265, § 43A. Criminal Harassment; Punishment. States that where a person engages in a course of conduct aimed at one person and where a reasonable person would be caused substantial emotional distress they may be sentenced to two and a half years’ imprisonment and/or to a fine of up to $1,000. This includes communications via the Internet. A second or subsequent offense under this section is punishable by imprisonment in a house of correction for up to two and a half years, or in a state prison for up to ten years.
- MGL Ch. 269, § 14A. Annoying Telephone Calls or Electronic Communication. This section states that anyone who telephones or contacts another person by electronic communication repeatedly for the sole purpose of annoying, molesting or harassing that person or his/her family, or who uses indecent or obscene language in such communication, will be liable to a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment for up to three months.
- MGL Ch. 272, § 1. Enticing Away Person Under 16 for Marriage. Defines the crime of enticing an unmarried child of less than sixteen away from the home of their parents without consent for the purpose of a clandestine marriage. The maximum sentence of imprisonment is one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
- MGL Ch. 272, § 2. Enticing Away Person for Prostitution or Sexual Intercourse. States that a person may not entice another person away from their home, or the home of their parents, for the purpose of unlawful sexual intercourse. The sentence for which is up to three years in prison or up to one year in jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
- MGL Ch. 272, § 4. Inducing Person Under Eighteen to Have Sexual Intercourse. This section states that where a person of under eighteen years old is induced to have unlawful sexual intercourse the offender may be sentenced to a maximum of three years’ imprisonment, or jail for up to two and a half years, and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.
- MGL Ch. 272, § 4A. Inducing Minor Into Prostitution. Defines the offense of inducing a minor to become a prostitute, or to knowingly aid or assist such inducement, and states that it is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for three to five years, and a fine of $5,000. The prison sentence may not be reduced to less than three years, nor suspended, and the offender will not be eligible for parole, probation or furlough.
- MGL Ch. 272, § 4B. Living Off or Sharing Earnings of Minor Prostitute. States that anyone who lives, wholly or in part, from the earnings or proceeds of child prostitution, or shares in such earnings, proceeds or monies, will be liable to imprisonment in a state prison for a minimum term of five years and a fine of $5,000. The prison sentence may not be reduced to less than five years, nor suspended, and the offender will not be eligible for parole, probation or furlough.
- MGL Ch. 272, § 16. Open and Gross Lewdness and Lascivious Behavior. This section states that anyone who exhibits open and gross lewd and lascivious behavior may face up to three years’ imprisonment in a state prison, or up to two years in jail, or a fine of up to $300.
- MGL Ch. 272, § 28. Matter Harmful to Minors, Dissemination; Possession; Defenses. States that anyone who disseminates matter they know to be harmful to minors may be sentenced to up to five years in the state prison, or two and a half years in a jail, and/or a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 for a first offense, $5,000 to $20,000 for a second offense, and $10,000 to $30,000 for subsequent offenses. The section also states that a person who disseminates an electronic communication or possesses an electronic communication with the intent to disseminate is only guilty if he/she specifically intends to send the communication to a minor.
- MGL Ch. 272, § 29. Dissemination or Possession of Obscene Matter; Punishment; Defense. States that anyone who disseminates or possesses with intent to disseminate material considered to be obscene will be liable to up to five years’ imprisonment in a state prison, or two and a half years in a jail, and/or a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 for a first offense, $5,000 to $20,000 for a second offense, and $10,000 to $30,000 for any subsequent offense.
- MGL Ch. 272, § 29A. Posing or Exhibiting Child in State of Nudity or Sexual Conduct; Punishment. Defines the offense of coercing or encouraging (amongst others) any person under the age of eighteen to pose in a state of nudity for the purpose of photographing or recording. This is punishable by between ten and 20 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine between $10,000 and $50,000. It is also an offense to encourage, permit, entice, or coerce such child to engage in an act that depicts or represents sexual conduct for the purpose of reproduction in any visual material; the same penalties will apply.
- MGL Ch. 272, § 29B. Dissemination of Visual Material of Child in State of Nudity or Sexual Conduct; Punishment. This section states that where a person knowingly disseminates, or possesses with the intent to disseminate, material showing or describing a child under the age of eighteen in a state of nudity or engaging in sexual conduct they may be sentenced to between ten and 20 years in prison and/or a fine between $10,000 and $50,000 or three times the monetary gain derived from the offense, whichever is greater. For the purpose of this section, a minor is deemed incapable of consenting to any conduct for which the defendant is being prosecuted.
- MGL Ch. 272, § 29C. Knowing Purchase or Possession of Visual Material of Child Depicted in Sexual Conduct; Punishment. States that whoever knowingly purchases material containing images or descriptions of a child under eighteen engaging in actual or simulated sexual intercourse or sexual contact (amongst other acts) shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than five years in a state prison or two and a half years in jail, and/or a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 for a first offense and $5,000 to $20,000 for a second offense. For a third offense of this type the offender faces not less than ten years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000 to $30,000.
- MGL Ch. 272, § 35A. Unnatural and Lascivious Acts with Child Under 16. States that anyone who commits an unnatural and lascivious act with a child under sixteen faces a term of imprisonment not to exceed five years in the state prison or two and a half years in jail, or a fine of $100 to $1,000. Any adult who commits a second or subsequent offense will be liable to imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum of five years.
- MGL Ch. 272, §53A. Engaging in Sexual Conduct for a Fee; Engaging in Sexual Conduct with a Child Under 18 for a Fee; Penalties. States that anyone who pays, or offer or agrees to pay, any person with the intent to engage in sexual conduct with a child under the age of eighteen, will be liable to imprisonment in the state prison for up to ten years or in a house of correction for up to two and a half years.
- MGL Ch. 272, §98C. Libel; Groups of Persons; Defenses; Punishment; Prosecutions. Sets a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to one year for anyone who publishes any false written material with intent to maliciously promote hatred of any group of persons in the commonwealth because of race, color or religion.
- MGL Ch. 272, §105. Photographing, Videotaping or Electronically Surveilling Partially Nude or Nude Person or the Sexual or Other Intimate Parts of a Person Around the Person’s Clothing; Exceptions; Punishment. States that it is an offense to photograph, videotape or electronically surveil another person who is nude or partially nude, with the intent to secretly conduct or hide such activity, in a place where they can reasonable expect privacy without their knowledge or consent. The offense is punishable by imprisonment for up to two and a half years, and/or a maximum fine of $5,000. The dissemination of such visual images without consent of the depicted is punishable by imprisonment for two and a half to five years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.