The goal of the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), which took effect July 1, 2013, is to provide students with a safe, supportive educational environment that is free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying. DASA states that no student shall be subjected to harassment or discrimination by employees or students on school property or at a school function based on their actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex.
Some of the law requirements include establishing anti-harassment and discrimination policies, creating school training programs and including a course in civility, citizenship and character education in the curriculum for every grade level.
District DASA Coordinators
Under the new legislation, at least one employee in every school shall be designated as a Dignity Act Coordinator and thoroughly trained in methods to respond to human relations in the areas of race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practices, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex. If you are a victim of, or witness to, an act of bullying, harassment or discrimination, talk to your teacher, guidance counselor or a Dignity Act Coordinator.
- Altamont Elementary School: Principal Peter Brabant, 518-861-8528
- Guilderland Elementary School: Principal Allan Lockwood, 518-869-0293
- Lynnwood Elementary School: Principal Jacqulyn Vandenburgh, 518-355-7930
- Pine Bush Elementary School: Principal Christopher Sanita, 518-357-2770
- Westmere Elementary School: Principal Beth Bini, 518-456-3771
- Farnsworth Middle School: Principal Michael Laster, 518-456-6010
- Guilderland High School: Assistant Principal Stephen Wolf, 861-8591
- District-wide Coordinator: Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Rachel Anderson, 518-456-6200, ext. 0119
Frequently Asked Questions about DASA
Who is protected by the Dignity for All Students Act?
All public elementary and secondary school students are protected by the Dignity Act.
What does the Dignity Act prohibit?
The Dignity Act prohibits the harassment and discrimination of students by students and by school personnel.
How does the Dignity Act relate to bullying and hazing?
Bullying and hazing are forms of harassment and discrimination.
What physical spaces are covered by the Dignity Act?
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.
How does the Dignity Act affect the school’s Code of Conduct?
Under the Dignity Act, the school district’s code of conduct must include age appropriate, plain language that prohibits discrimination and harassment against any student by employees or other students that creates a hostile environment.
How is a hostile environment defined?
A hostile environment may occur with or without physical contact and/or by verbal threats, intimidation or abuse. Does the conduct unreasonably and substantially interfere with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional and/or physical well-being? Does the conduct reasonably cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety?
What is required of the school?
All students must be informed annually of the behavioral expectations in the code of conduct. Training for staff will be provided to raise their awareness and sensitivity to potential discrimination or harassment and how to prevent and respond to discrimination or harassment. Staff who know—or reasonably should know—of possible harassment must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred. When harassment has occurred, staff must take prompt and effective steps to end it, eliminate any hostile environment and prevent it from recurring.