Dignity For All Students Act (DASA)
Preventing and Addressing Bias-Based Harassment in Schools
The Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) took effect July 1, 2012 and was amended to include cyberbullying effective July 1, 2013.
Its purpose is to provide students with a school environment free of discrimination and harassment by peers and by school personnel. It applies to behaviors on school property, in school buildings, on a school bus, as well as at school-sponsored events or activities. Incidents of harassment and discrimination may include, but are not limited to, threats, intimidation or abuse 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), and sex. These eleven categories are referred to as protected classes.
The law includes provisions that will alter reporting, codes of conduct, professional development, and classroom instruction.
What is DASA?
The Dignity for All Students Act was established with the broad legislative intent to provide a school environment free of discrimination and harassment.
Prohibits harassment of students on school property or at school functions, and designates many forms of bullying as unlawful discrimination.
What is Bullying?
Bullying is defined as 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. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Cyberbullying is defined as bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.
Addressing Bullying is a Balancing Act, Our Goal is:
- To teach students that certain speech is inappropriate for school while teaching them respect for the First Amendment.
- To respect the legitimacy of students’ privacy, opinions, and ideas while creating a safe school environment for everyone.
- To establish high, but realistic, expectations for young people.
- Educators are not expected to “spy” on students’ out-of-school communications. Educational resources should not be used to seek out online communications that are inappropriate.
- But, educators should be willing to step in when cyber bullying affects a students’ ability to function in school.
Cyberbullying Amendment to DASA
The New York State Legislature passed an amendment to the Dignity for All Students Act to specifically address cyberbullying not only within schools but also incidents that occur off school property that could "foreseeably disrupt" the school environment. This amendment takes effect July 1, 2013.
A Comprehensive Approach to Bullying Prevention for Amherst Schools
- Character Education Program
- Culturally Responsive Teaching Program
- Teacher and Staff Education on Bullying
- Teachers, Counselors and Social Workers Mediation
- Use our Disciplinary Process – Code of Conduct
- Strong Supervision within the Building
- NYS Education Department Dignity for All Students Act website
- Cyberbullying Research Center
- Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention at SUNY/Buffalo
Windermere Boulevard School
Leslie Barr, social worker
Melissa Stasio, school counselor
Nicole Holler, assistant principal
Smallwood Drive School
Katie Marzocchi, assistant principal
Jennifer Noe, social worker
Amherst Middle School
Derek Kise, assistant principal
Pamela Primerano, social worker
Amherst Central High School
Patrick Kapperman, assistant principal
Daniela Wolfe, social worker