NYS Dignity For All Students

  1. Pursuant to the provisions of the N.Y.S. Dignity for all Students Act (“DASA”), the State of New York declared it to be the policy of the state to afford all students in public schools an environment free of discrimination and harassment. The purpose of the Act was to further foster civility in public schools and to prevent and prohibit conduct which is inconsistent with each school’s educational mission. It was also designed to raise awareness and increase sensitivity to “relations of people of different races, weights, national origins, ethnic groups, religions, religious practices, mental or physical disabilities, sexual orientations, genders, and sexes.”

    The Dignity for all Students Act requires that no student shall be subject to harassment or bullying 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, or sex by school employees or students on school property or at a school function.

    The Act prohibits acts of harassment, bullying or discrimination directed at students that:

    • -Interferes with a student’s educational performance, opportunities, or benefits

    • -Interferes with a student’s mental, emotional, or physical well-being

    • -Causes a student to fear for their safety

    • -Causes a physical injury to a student (or would be expected to cause a physical injury)

    • -Causes emotional harm to a student
      In addition to acts that might occur on school property and/or at a school function, the Act further prohibits an action or statement that occurs off school property that creates a risk of substantial disruption in the school environment (or could foreseeably create such a risk), and is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation, or abuse might negatively affect and/or impact a student in a school setting.

      The focus of the Act was to require school districts to take more aggressive action to eliminate harassment and bullying in the school environment, to include cyber bullying, that is, harassment using an electronic device. In addition, the Act requires each school district to incorporate a progressive model of student discipline that includes “measured, balanced, and age-appropriate remedies and procedures.

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