Dignity for All Students Act
New York State's Dignity for all Students Act (Dignity Act) went into effect July 1, 2012.
The Dignity Act seeks to provide the State’s public elementary and secondary school students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting and harassment (which includes bullying) on school property, a school bus and/or at a school function.
The Dignity Act also amended Section 801-a of New York State Education Law regarding instruction in civility, citizenship, and character education by expanding the concepts of tolerance, respect for others and dignity to include: an awareness and sensitivity in the relations of people, including but not limited to, different races, weights, national origins, ethnic groups, religions, religious practices, mental or physical abilities, sexual orientations, gender identity, and sexes. The Dignity Act further amended Section 2801 of the Education Law by requiring Boards of Education to include language addressing The Dignity Act in their codes of conduct.
Additionally, under the Dignity Act, schools will be responsible for collecting and reporting data regarding material incidents of discrimination and harassment.
More information is located at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/dignityact/
The Dignity Act implementation at BSCSD
1. Code of Conduct: The BSCSD code of conduct was amended by counsel to include the terms and definitions needed to be compliant with the Dignity Act. The revised code was adopted by the Board of Education on July 11, 2012 and is annually revised and adopted as appropriate. The code of conduct is available via the link at the left as well as from any building main office. The Code (as well as the Dignity Act) will be reviewed with students during the first week of school.
2. Dignity Act Coordinator: Each building has at least one staff member designated as a Dignity Act Coordinator. The Dignity Act Coordinator is available to handle issues of human relations and to respond to issues of discrimination and harassment.
3. Instruction in civility, citizenship and character education: Current programs have been expanded the concepts of tolerance, respect for others and dignity to include: an awareness and sensitivity to discrimination or harassment and civility in the relations of people of different races, weights, national origins, ethnic groups, religions, religious practices, mental or physical abilities, sexual orientations, genders and sexes. These themes will be integrated throughout the curriculum in age appropriate ways at all grade levels.
DEFINITIONS AND REPORTING
The Dignity Act prohibits discrimination and harassment of students by staff and other students defined as: the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student's educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well-being; or conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety; such conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse includes but is not limited to conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse based on a person's actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex.
Bullying is a form of harassment. According to the US Department of Education bullying generally involves the following characteristics:
An imbalance of power: Children who bully use their power, such as physical strength access to embarrassing information or popularity, to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
The Intent to Cause Harm: The person bullying has a goal to cause harm.
Repetition: Bullying behaviors generally are repeated and happen over time.
Reporting: School staff members will continue to report incidents of harassment by filling out the building behavior referral form. Harassment (and all other misbehavior) should be reported immediately to a building administrator. Students are encouraged to tell a parent or staff member if they are being harassed at school. Building administrators will follow up on all reports, investigate and react appropriately. Material Incidents of discrimination and harassment will be reported as required to NYSED.
If you know of a student currently being harassed on school grounds or at a school function please report it by clicking on the "Report an Incident" icon below:
Links for more information and resources:
American Psychological Association- How parents, teachers and kids can take action to prevent bullying
Stop Bullying. Gov- Provides information from federal government agencies on how kids, teens, young adults, parents, educators and others in the community can work together to prevent or stop bullying.
Sesame Street-Resources for parents of younger children. Includes video's and questions to help foster discussion regarding bullying and the treatment of others.
Mobile APP- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) new mobile app provides parents, caretakers, and teachers with important bullying prevention information, and can help get the conversation started between parents/caregivers and children about bullying in as little as 15 minutes a day
Code of Conduct:
The Board of Education annually reviews the District Code of Conduct, and is available via the link at the left or in our schools. Please contact your child's building principal if you have questions about the Code.