Amicus Brief

Doe v. Hopkinton Public Schools (U.S.C.A. 1st Circuit, 2021)

This case involves a legal challenge to Massachusetts’s anti-bullying statute — namely, that the “emotional harm” prong of the definition of bullying in M.G.L. c. 71, section 37O(a) is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague. ADL has been a key proponent of anti-bullying legislation in Massachusetts and accordingly joined an amicus brief, prepared by GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), to emphasize the vital importance of the emotional harm prong of the Massachusetts anti-bullying law and in particular (1) to bring to the Court’s attention the key medical and social science literature illuminating the consequences of emotional harm from bullying, which disproportionately and more severely impacts stigmatized groups, including LGBTQ+ youth; and (2) to clarify that the term “emotional harm” is a well-established and recognized concept in law and medicine, which, in the context of the language and requirements of M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, provides more than satisfactory notice of the statute’s prohibitions.