A new regulation named the Dignity for All Students Act went
into effect July 1, 2012 in New York State. Its purpose is to
ensure that elementary and secondary public school students have
the right to attend school in an environment that is free of
discrimination, harassment and bullying, including cyberbulling.
York State Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) prohibits actions— such as aggression, threats, and intimidation— that interfere
with another student’s educational performance both at school
and district events, or outside of school property when the actions
create or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial
disruption within the school environment or where it is
foreseeable that the conduct might reach school property.
An important addition to the act is a
provision regarding cyber bulling. Cyber bulling includes any
electronically transmitted messages that are intended to harass,
bully, or discriminate against another student. This type of
bullying is prohibited and may be subject to disciplinary
consequences by the school, even if the incident happens outside
of school time and off of school grounds.
DASA creates a framework for sensitivity and diversity
training to promote a positive school environment. The
Act requires that at least one person at every school
be thoroughly trained to handle harassing behaviors that
may be related but not limited to a person’s actual or
perceived: race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic
group, religion, religious practices, disability, sexual
orientation, gender and sex.
Designated school professionals will be trained to act as
Anti-Bullying Coordinators for Middleburgh Central School
District and each building within the district.
MCSD’s roles and responsibilities include: prevention,
intervention, training, reporting and investigating by
the Dignity Act Coordinator as determined by New York
State Education Department’s Regulation and Dignity for
All Students Act.
The Act not only defines harassing and bullying behavior
but also offers regulations for intervention and
Key Definitions from DASA
Bulling is a hostile activity which harms or induces fear
through the threat of further aggression and/or creates
terror. Bullying may be premeditated or a sudden
activity. It may be subtle or easy to identify, done by
one person or a group. Bullying often includes the
1. Power imbalance -
occurs when a bully uses his/her physical or social power over a
2. Intent to harm - the
bully seeks to inflict physical or emotional harm and/or takes
pleasure in this activity.
3. Threat of further aggression
- the bully and the target believe the bullying will
4. Terror - when any
bullying increases, it becomes a “systematic violence or
harassment used to intimidate and maintain dominance.” (Barbara
Coloroso, The Bully, The Bullied & The Bystander, 2003)
There are at least three kinds of
bullying: verbal, physical and social/relational.
• Verbal bullying (which
can be delivered orally, electronically or in writing) includes
name calling, insulting remarks, verbal teasing, frightening
phone calls, violent threats, extortion, taunting, gossip,
spreading rumors, racist slurs, threatening electronic
communications (“cyberbullying”), anonymous notes, etc.
• Physical bullying
includes poking, slapping, hitting, tripping or causing a fall,
choking, kicking, punching, biting, pinching, scratching,
spitting, twisting arms or legs, damaging clothes and personal
property, or threatening.
• Social or relational bullying
includes excluding someone from a group, isolating, shunning,
spreading rumors or gossiping, arranging public humiliation,
undermining relationships, teasing about clothing, looks, giving
dirty looks, aggressive stares, etc.
The New York State Education Department
provides further guidance on bullying and cyberbullying
prevention on its
Dignity for All Students Act (§§10-18 of Education Law) defines
harassment as the creation of a hostile environment by conduct
or by verbal threats, intimidation or abuse, including cyberbullying, 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 his or her physical safety;
reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause
physical injury or emotional harm to a student; or occurs off
school property and creates or would foreseeably create a risk
of substantial disruption within the school environment, where
it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation, or
abuse might reach school property . The harassing behavior may
be based on any characteristic, including but not limited to a
person’s actual or perceived:
• national origin,
• ethnic group,
• religious practice,
• sexual orientation, or
• gender (including gender identity and expression).
• Gender identity is one’s self-conception as
being male or female, as
distinguished from actual biological
sex or sex assigned at birth.
• Gender expression is the manner in which a person represents
expresses gender to others, often through behavior, clothing,
activities, voice or mannerisms.
For purposes of this definition, the term
“threats, intimidation, or abuse” shall include verbal and
Hazing is an induction,
initiation or membership process involving harassment which
produces public humiliation, physical or emotional discomfort,
bodily injury or public ridicule or creates a situation where
public humiliation, physical or emotional discomfort, bodily
injury or public ridicule is likely to occur.