Frequently Asked Questions for the Dignity for All Students Act

My child came home from school upset because they were teased at school today. Is this bullying?


You will need to have your child describe exactly what happened and how it affected them in order to know. The definition below can also help you decide.

A student should never feel that it is not safe for them to come to school and participate in all school activities. They should never be prevented from concentrating on their schoolwork because another student or a school staff member is teasing them, making fun of them, pushing them around, or threatening them in some way, because of their actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin (where your family comes from), ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity or expression), or sex, or for any other reason.

For more information on what is bullying and what is not bullying click the following link to go to the Stop Bullying.Gov Parent Page https://www.stopbullying.gov/what-you-can-do/parents/index.html




My child is being bullied at school. What should I do?


Your school district should have a procedure that you need to follow. It will tell you who to report the bullying to and how you can make a verbal and a written report. Call your child’s principal or the school district office and ask them to explain the procedure to you and send you a copy of it. Then follow the procedure. It is very important that you report the bullying to the designated school personnel.

For additional information on how to support your child go to https://www.stopbullying.gov/respond/support-kids-involved/index.html#support .

If you have been following the procedure and talking with the designated school personnel at your child’s school and not getting any help, then it is probably time to take your concerns to the next level. The levels of contact and appeal typically are:

  1. Dignity Act Coordinator (DAC)

  2. School Principal

  3. District Superintendent

  4. School Board of Education

  5. Appeals to the NYS Commissioner of Education http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/appeals Education Law §310 provides that persons considering themselves aggrieved by an action taken at a school district meeting or by school authorities may appeal to the Commissioner of Education for a review of such action. A §310 appeal must be initiated within 30 days of the decision or action complained of, unless the delay is excused by the Commissioner for good cause shown in the petition.

  6. New York State Attorney General’s Office, Civil Rights Bureau (212) 416-8250, civil.rights@ag.ny.gov , www.ag.ny.gov

It is very important that you don’t skip any steps and keep written documentation of any correspondence. Because the Appeal to the NYS Commissioner of Education can be a rather lengthy process, you may do steps 5 and 6 at the same time.

If you have questions about this process or forms, you can contact the NYSED Office of Student Support Services at DASA@nysed.gov or http://www.p12.nysed.gov/dignityact/.




My child is being bullied at school. I have spoken with the people at the school and they haven’t done anything. What can I do?


Your school district should have a procedure for reporting incidents. If you don’t know what the procedure is, check the school/district website or call your child’s school to get the contact information of the Dignity Act Coordinator. Depending on the school/district, information related to incident reporting can be posted on their website under Dignity Act or DASA, in the Code of Conduct, or Student/Parent Handbook. Usually school personnel are concerned and trying to do whatever they can to help children who are being bullied. By law school personnel are not allowed to discuss disciplinary actions of other students or teachers. It can be very helpful for parents to clearly state up front what outcome they want. For example, you could say I want my child to be able to come to school and not have to worry about being harassed or I want the bullying to stop from this point on. You can also ask what actions the school would be willing to take to help your child feel safe. (See the answer to Question #6 for ideas of things you could ask the school to do.) You can also ask for a written summary of what has been done in response to the complaint.

For additional information on how to address bullying go to: https://www.stopbullying.gov/respond/support-kids-involved/index.html#address

If you have been following the procedure and talking with the designated school personnel at your child’s school and not getting any help, then it is probably time to take your concerns to the next level. The levels of contact and appeal typically are:

  1. Dignity Act Coordinator (DAC)
  2. School Principal
  3. District Superintendent
  4. School Board of Education
  5. Appeals to the NYS Commissioner of Education
    http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/appeals Education Law §310 provides that persons considering themselves aggrieved by an action taken at a school district meeting or by school authorities may appeal to the Commissioner of Education for a review of such action. A §310 appeal must be initiated within 30 days of the decision or action complained of, unless the delay is excused by the Commissioner for good cause shown in the petition.
    For more information on the Appeal process, please follow the "Contact Us" link on the New York State Education Department website: http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/appeals
  6. New York State Attorney General’s Office, Civil Rights Bureau (212) 416-8250, civil.rights@ag.ny.gov , http://www.ag.ny.gov

It is very important that you don’t skip any steps and keep written documentation of any correspondence. Because the Appeal to the NYS Commissioner of Education can be a rather lengthy process, you may do steps 5 and 6 at the same time.

If you have questions about this process or forms, you can contact the NYSED Office of Student Support Services at DASA@nysed.gov or http://www.p12.nysed.gov/dignityact/.




How can I make sure that my child will be safe at school?


There are steps that you can ask the school to take in order to help your child feel and be safe at school. Below are some examples of items that could be in an Action Plan:

  • Schedule change
  • No contact directive
  • Staff identified that the targeted student can go to in order to feel safe; check in/check out assigned
  • Other staff notification plan
  • Unstructured areas safety plan
  • Monitoring situation
  • Transportation supervision
  • Additional buillying prevention education delivered
  • Follow-up meeting place
  • Teacher notification plan




There isn’t a DASA Complaint form on the School or District Website, how do I file a complaint?


Click on the link to the PDF document to view and/or download the Incident Reporting Form. The DASA Incident Reporting Form is submitted to the school where the incident occurred. Please see the additional FAQs for more information.




What are schools required to do to respond to harassment, bullying and discrimination?


If the bullying is occurring in the school, on school grounds, or during a school event/activity off of school grounds, NYS Law requires each district to have a policy and procedures in place for the concerned person(s) to make a report of the bullying, as follows:

  • Identify an administrative designee to receive reports of harassment, bullying, and discrimination (i.e., the DASA Coordinator);
  • Enable students, family members, and others to make an oral or written report to school personnel;
  • Require school employees to notify an administrator or designee (e.g., DASA Coordinator) within one school day of witnessing or receiving a report of harassment, bullying, or discrimination, and to file a written report no later than two school days after such oral report/notification;
  • Require administrators or a designee (e.g., DASA Coordinator) to lead a thorough investigation of all reports of harassment, bullying, and discrimination that is completed promptly after the receipt of any written report and is recorded [in Part II of the DASA Incident Reporting Form];
  • Upon verification of harassing, bullying, and/or discriminatory behavior, require the school to take prompt action(s) reasonably calculated to end harassment, bullying and discrimination, to eliminate any hostile environment, prevent recurrence of the behavior, and to ensure the safety of the student(s) against whom harassment, bullying or discrimination was directed;
  • Prohibit retaliation against any individual who reports or assists in the investigation of harassment, bullying, or discrimination;
  • Develop a school strategy to prevent harassment, bullying, and discrimination;
  • Require school leaders to make a regular report to the superintendent regarding data and trends related to harassment, bullying, and discrimination;
  • Require school administrators or designee(s) to promptly notify local law enforcement officials of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination when required to do so;
  • Require that all school employees, students, and parents receive a copy of the district’s policies, including the process for reporting harassment, bullying, and discrimination, at least annually;
  • Ensure that a current version of the district’s policies and procedures, including an incident report form, are maintained on the district’s website.

Please contact the school/district office and follow the procedures the district and school have in place for reporting incidents that occur on school/district grounds.





THE NEW YORK STATE CENTER FOR SCHOOL SAFETY
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