for All Students Act was signed into law on September 13, 2010.
This legislation amended State Education Law by creating a new
Article 2 – Dignity for All Students. 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
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.
Dasa brochure (pdf)
Dasa video for parents (YouTube)
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. Click on the video icon above to watch an informational video for parents.
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 new 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 South Colonie meet these new 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. South Colonie DASA coordinators as the school building principals listed in the right column above.
Where can I find more information about the Dignity Act?
Visit the New York State Education Department website or contact your child's principal for more information.