The Dignity Act was signed into law on September 10, 2010 by the New York State Legislature and went into effect on July 1, 2012. It requires school districts to develop and implement policies and procedures to appropriately address any incidents of alleged harassment or bullying that occur in their schools. The District will strive to create an environment free of discrimination and harassment and will foster civility in the schools to prevent and prohibit conduct which is inconsistent with the District’s educational mission.
Reports and Investigations of Discrimination and Harassment
The District will investigate all complaints of harassment and discrimination, whether formal or informal, and take prompt corrective measures, as necessary. It is important that students and parents promptly report to the school when they first become aware of concerns about harassment or bullying.
The district has appointed a staff member in the K-6 and another in the 7-12 to act as “Dignity Act Coordinators”. They have been specifically trained to handle reports of alleged incidents.
The Coordinators are:
The Investigators are:
The district will also be training all staff members to raise staff awareness and sensitivity of harassment and discrimination directed at students that are committed by students or school employees on school property or at a school function. We are also looking at ways to integrate instruction in grades Kindergarten through 12 to include a component on civility, citizenship and character education.
What is Bullying? A government website titled Stop Bullying defines it as:
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
• An Imbalance of Power: Kids 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.
• Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Bullying also can happen online or electronically. Cyberbullying is when children or teens bully each other using the Internet, mobile phones or other cyber technology. This can include:
• Sending mean text, email, or instant messages
• Posting nasty pictures or messages about others in blogs or on Web sites
• Using someone else’s user name to spread rumors or lies about someone
Resources specific to the Dignity for All Students Act: