Dignity for All Students Act
The Dignity for All Students Act
New York State’s Dignity for All Students Act (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, harassment, and bullying on school property, a school bus and/or at a school function. The Dignity Act was signed into law on September 13, 2010 and takes effect on July 1, 2012.
The Dignity for All Students Act states:
"No student shall be subjected to harassment by employees or students on school property or at a school function; nor shall any student be subjected to discrimination based on a person's actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity or expression), or sex by school employees or students on school property or at a school function."
The intent of the Dignity for All Students Act (Dignity Act) is to provide all public school students with an environment free from discrimination and harassment, as well as to foster civility in public schools. The Dignity Act also focuses on prevention of harassment and discriminatory behaviors through the promotion of educational measures meant to positively impact school culture and climate. Among the Dignity Act’s provisions, is the requirement that all public school districts (districts) and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) include provisions in their Codes of Conduct prohibiting the discrimination and harassment against students by students and/or school employees on school property or at a school function, as well as provisions for responding to acts of discrimination and harassment against students by students and/or school employees. The Dignity Act upholds New York State’s commitment to provide safe and orderly schools for its students.
The Dignity Act emphasizes the importance of tolerance and respect for others by students and staff alike. Therefore, all members of the school community, including essential partners such as superintendents, school board members, parents, students, teachers, principals/administrators, counselors, support staff and other school personnel have particularly important roles to play in its implementation.
In the Marcus Whitman Central School District, we aspire to maintain a climate of mutual respect and dignity for all students regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex, which will strengthen students’ confidence and promote learning.
The Code of Conduct for each building clearly outlines measured, balanced, and age appropriate responses to the discrimination and harassment of students on school property, including school functions, with remedies and procedures focusing on intervention and education. The response to any infraction would have the goals of correcting the problem behavior, preventing another occurrence of the behavior, and protecting the target of the act. Additionally, school districts in New York State may take action when students engage in off-campus conduct that would foreseeably interfere with or disrupt the work and discipline of the school as part of a comprehensive approach to intervening to prevent harassment and cyber bullying.
Further information about the Dignity for All Students Act can be found at:http://www.p12.nysed.gov/dignityact/resourceguide.html