Dignity for All Students Act
The Dignity for All Students Act, or DASA, was signed into law on Sept. 13, 2010 and took effect on July 1, 2012. This legislation amended State Education Law by creating a new Article 2 – Dignity for All Students. DASA 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 are responsible for collecting and reporting data regarding material incidents of discrimination and harassment.
DASA Frequently Asked Questions
What is The Dignity Act?
The Dignity for All Students Act (The Dignity Act) was signed into law by former Governor David A. Paterson in September 2010, to protect all students in New York public schools from harassment, discrimination and bullying by other students or school employees.
When did the Dignity Act become effective?
The Dignity Act became effective on July 1, 2012.
Who is protected under this legislation?
Identified in the legislation are those who are subjected to intimidation or abuse based on actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex. The Act explicitly states that bullying, taunting and intimidation are all forms of harassment.
How does The Dignity Act define “harassment?”
Harassment is defined as “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.
Why is The Dignity Act necessary?
The Dignity Act provides a response to the large number of harassed and stigmatized students skipping school and engaging in high risk behaviors by prohibiting discrimination in public schools and establishing the basis for protective measures such as training and model policies. The Dignity Act takes a major step in creating more nurturing environments in all our schools.
What does The Dignity Act require schools to do to meet this mandate?
- Develop policies intended to create a school environment that is free from discrimination or harassment.
- Develop guidelines for school training programs to discourage discrimination or harassment that are designed to:
- Raise awareness and sensitivity of school employees to potential discrimination or harassment and;
- Enable employees to prevent and respond to discrimination or harassment.
- Develop guidelines relating to the development of non-discriminatory instructional and counseling methods and require that at least one staff member be trained to handle human relations issues.
Does Broadalbin-Perth meet these requirements?
Yes. One employee in every school building has been designated as a DASA coordinator, and has been trained in methods to respond to human relations in the areas of race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practices, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex.
Where can I find more information about the Dignity Act?
Visit the New York State Education Department website or contact the DASA coordinator at your child’s school for more information.