Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) Parent Memo
The Dignity for All Students Act (The Dignity Act) went into effect on July 1, 2012. Its intent is to create more nurturing school environments free of discrimination and harassment of students by students and by school personnel. The Dignity Act defines harassment as “the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by 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; or 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…” New York Education Law § 11(7). Under the Dignity Act, harassment includes conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse based on a person’s actual or perceived:
• Ethnic group
• Religious practice
• Sexual orientation
The list of characteristics above is not exclusive- harassment may include conduct based on other characteristics as well. Also note that harassment may be based on actual or perceived characteristics, for example, a student’s perceived sexual orientation.
From the NYS Education Department’s Brochure on the Dignity Act:
Q: Who is protected by the Dignity Act?
A: All public elementary and secondary school students are protected by the Dignity Act.
Q: What does the Dignity Act prohibit?
A: The Dignity Act prohibits the harassment and discrimination of students by students and by school personnel.
Q: How does the Dignity Act relate to bullying and hazing?
A: Bullying and hazing are forms of harassment and discrimination.
Q: What physical spaces are covered by the Dignity Act?
A: The Dignity Act applies to behavior on school property (including athletic fields, playgrounds, and parking lots), in school buildings, on a school bus/vehicle, as well as at school-sponsored events or activities.
Q: How does the Dignity Act relate to the school’s Code of Conduct?
A: The Code of Conduct must be amended to reflect the prohibition of discrimination and harassment of students by students or staff-- in age appropriate plain language.
For more on the Dignity Act, see these resource websites:
If you have questions or concerns that are Dignity Act related, please contact the Dignity Act Coordinator for your school:
ALC: Lisa Strassner, ext. 13610
Berea Elementary: Katherine Gusmano, ext. 11647
East Coldenham Elementary: Alexandra Riker, ext. 12006
Montgomery Elementary: Melinda Sulzbach, ext. 14645
Walden Elementary: Diane Cassell-Smith, ext. 15645
Middle School: Catherine Heil, ext. 16241
High School: James Hession, ext. 17647
If you are unable to access this complaint form, please click here and request it in alternate form by email.