The signing ceremony for the anti-bullying bill was a politicians’ exercise in self-congratulation. Patrick left the role of grassroots activists unacknowledged and lavished praise on House Speaker DeLeo and, what’s worse, the school superintendents’ association. He was either being disingenuous or badly advised. Speaker DeLeo tried to gut the anti-bullying bill in March, but was thwarted by determined pushback by activists. The supers’ association has been the primary obstacle to passage of anti-bullying legislation for the better part of a decade. They continued to fight the bill to the end, but were overwhelmed by the public outcry over the Phoebe Prince suicide. They did succeed in stopping a private right of action against noncompliant school districts, and nearly succeeded in making the training optional (which it was before.)
In sum, the signing ceremony, instead of being about the targets of bullying, was about politics as usual.