Students have the right to be safe and free from bullying, harassment, and discrimination at school. Anyone can be bullied and anyone can be a bully: students, teachers, administrators, staff, or parents.
New York State’s Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) was established to provide a school envirogment free of discrimination and harassment. DASA also focuses on the prevention of harassment and discriminatory behaviors through the promotion of educational measures meant to positively impact school culture and climate. The act also requires all schools to investigate, discipline, and mediate acts of bullying.
DASA defines bullying and harassment as the creation of a hostile environment by:
- abuse, and/or
- cyberbullying, that:
(a) 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;
(b) reasonably causes or could reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety;
(c) reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause physical injury or emotional harm to a student; or
(d) occurs off school property and creates or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment, where it is foreseeable that 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:
- sex/ gender,
- national origin,
- religion/religious practices,
- disability, and
- sexual orientation.
If your child is avoiding school or extracurricular activities, appears anxious or afraid, is unhappy, has injuries, or has experienced a gradual decline in school performance, bullying may be a factor.
Do you suspect your child is being bullied? Here’s what you should do:
- Talk to the principal, a teacher, or an administrator to express your concerns;
- Follow up in writing to summarize your conversation;
- Complete and submit a DASA complaint form: (click here for sample complaint form)
- it must be in writing,
- you should be as specific as possible, and
- email or hand-deliver the complaint directly to the DASA coordinator for your child’s school.
Every school has its own designated DASA coordinator and every school district has a DASA coordinator to oversee the entire district. Your school district’s website
will have a list of all the DASA coordinators in the district and their contact information. The full Dignity for All Students Act, along with updates, and comprehensive list of resources is available on the NYSED website.