Understanding the Dignity
for All Students Act
The board of education and the staff of Ilion
Central School believe that every child deserves to learn in a safe
environment. That means more than simply keeping our buildings in good
repair and free of hazards—it also means protecting our students from
any and all discrimination and bullying.
As part of that commitment, our teachers and
administrators routinely receive training to help them recognize and
prevent inappropriate behaviors. We teach anti-bullying and tolerance
as a regular part of our ongoing PreK-12 character education program.
But the world is changing. Bullies are no longer
limited to the playground or the cafeteria. Computers and smartphones
enable students to harass others at any hour of the day and from anywhere.
A newly enacted law, the New York State Dignity for
All Students Act (DASA), places even greater emphasis on our
responsibility to protect students from any form of discrimination,
harassment, or bullying. We must now work to prevent and prohibit any
discrimination or harassment that interferes with our schools’
What is different under DASA?
Under federal law Americans are protected from
discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, and
Beginning July 1, 2012, New York expanded that law
to read, “No student shall be subjected to harassment by employees or
students on school property or at a school function; nor shall any
student be subjected to discrimination based on a person’s actual or
perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group,
religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender
identity, or sex by school employees or students on school property or
at a school function.”
The law, also requires, that beginning July 1,
2013, districts prohibit cyberbullying, even off school property.
The Ilion Board of Education voted to not wait
until 2013 and added the cyberbullying requirement to school policy
What is harassment?
Harassment is any physical behavior or verbal
threat, intimidation, or abuse that interferes with the victim’s
educational performance or mental, emotional, or physical well-being.
This also includes anything that might cause a student to fear for his
or her safety.
What is the district doing differently?
Has amended its policies to include the
changes in the District Code of Conduct.
Is establishing guidelines for employee
training programs to raise awareness and to enable employees to
prevent and respond to discrimination or harassment.
Is training at least one person in each
school to help counsel and address any problems that might arise in
Is assigning one person in each
building to receive and investigate claims of harassment or bullying,
ensure school employees report any harassment or bullying, take needed
steps to end the harassment, and regularly report data and trends to
Will annually provide parents,
students, and staff with a plain language summary of the district’s
anti-bullying policies and procedures.
Will maintain current versions on the
policies on the district website.
How will the district handle cyberbullying?
Under the law, the school district must address:
Any bullying that takes place on school grounds
or at any school-sponsored event (sporting event, field trip,
Any bullying or cyberbullying—regardless of
where it occurs—if there is reason to believe it will disrupt the
school environment or might reach school property.
Example: A student discovers her boyfriend has
been secretly dating another student. In anger she confronts
the girl in the parking lot of a local restaurant and
threatens to "get her." That night, the student sends several
Facebook messages with a similar warning.
Although these events took place off school grounds, the
school must investigate and take appropriate action because
there is a good chance this conflict will spill over into
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is the use of texting, computer
messaging, or any form of electronic communication to harass or bully