GLAD authored an amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Doe v. Hopkinton Public Schools, a case which challenges the inclusion of “emotional harm” in the definition of bullying in Massachusetts’ anti-bullying statute as overly broad and vague. 

GLAD’s brief demonstrates that the definition of emotional harm is well-established and recognized in both law and medicine and presents established medical and social science findings on the severe negative consequences of emotional harm from bullying. The brief also highlights the disproportionate impact emotional harm from bullying has on stigmatized groups including LGBTQ+ youth. 

The brief asserts that the inclusion of emotional harm in Massachusetts’ anti-bullying law provides clarity for students, school staff and parents about one of the principal consequences of bullying, and that it is vitally important to the law’s objectives – to protect youth from the impacts of bullying and establish schools’ responsibility for prevention, identification, and remediation.

GLAD’s brief was joined by the Anti-Defamation League.