DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS ACT (DASA)
Dear Parents / Guardians,
In 2010, New York State passed the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA). This law went into effect on July 1, 2012 and protects students from harassment, discrimination and bullying by other students or school employees. It provides that no student shall be subjected to discrimination based on his or her actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, weight (or other physical features), sexual orientation, gender identity, or biological sex. DASA explicitly states that bullying, taunting, and intimidation on the protected grounds listed above are all forms of harassment; however, it is not limited to those categories. DASA regulations have since been updated to reflect cyberbullying.
Harassment under DASA is defined as the creation of a hostile environment by:
¨ Repeated conduct or 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
¨ Conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for their physical safety.
In response to this new law, and following the recommendation of the NYS School Boards Association, Sayville Public Schools has reviewed its policies related to student conduct and social-emotional learning. In reviewing the policies, it became clear that the District already had strong procedures in place to deal with these issues. The required updates were made and the Board of Education approved them in the spring. They are now included in the Board Policies as well as the Code of Conduct for students. These documents can be found on the school website on the Board of Education page under the Navigation Bar.
Dignity Act Coordinators have been appointed in each building. They are the building principal and the school social worker and they have been specially trained. The process for filing a grievance is available on the school website through the Curriculum page under the Navigation Bar heading DASA.
Dignity Act Training has been given to all employees and will continue throughout the school year. Instruction will be given to students regarding this act. The District will also continue to deliver its curriculum to promote civility and citizenship through classroom activities, materials, and other age-appropriate resources. As is always the case, a partnership between home and school is essential.
Please visit the school website at sayvilleschools.org and follow the instructions above for updated information.
Dr. Christine Criscione