Psychologist » Dignity for All Students Act (DASA)

Dignity for All Students Act (DASA)


New York State’s Dignity for All Students Act (The Dignity Act) seeks to provide the State’s public elementary and secondary school students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying on school property, a school bus and/or at a school function.

This legislation, signed into law on September 13, 2010 and effective July 1, 2012, amended State Education Law by creating a new Article 2 – Dignity for All Students.  The Dignity Act also amended Section 801-a of New York State Education Law regarding instruction in civility, citizenship, and character education by expanding the concepts of tolerance, respect for others and dignity to include: an awareness and sensitivity in the relations of people, including but not limited to, different races, weights, national origins, ethnic groups, religions, religious practices, mental or physical abilities, sexual orientations, gender identity, and sexes. The Dignity Act further amended Section 2801 of the Education Law by requiring Boards of Education to include language addressing the Dignity Act in their codes of conduct.


On June 18, 2012, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed Governor’s Program Bill #43 to amend the education law in relation to prohibiting bullying and cyberbullying in public school.  The legislation is designed to assist in efforts to protect children from cyberbullying as well as other forms of harassment, bullying and discrimination. This amendment became effective on July 1, 2013.

With the new law, when cyberbullying impedes a student’s ability to learn, victims and their parents now have the ability to report the incidents to school districts to investigate.  The law requires that school districts act in cases of cyberbullying, which may occur on or off campus, when it creates or would create a substantial risk to the school environment, substantially interferes with a student’s educational performance or mental, emotional or physical well-being, or causes a student to fear for his or her physical safety.

Cyberbullying has been described by the U.S. Department of Education as bullying that occurs through the use of electronic technology, such as cell phones, computers, and tablets. It can also involve the use of communication tools, such social media sites, text messages, chat and websites. 

Examples of cyberbullying include, but are not limited to:

  • Sending hurtful, rude, or mean text messages or e-mails to others.
  • Spreading rumors or lies about others by text message or e-mail or posting on social networking sites.
  • Creating or sharing pictures, websites, videos or social media profiles, including fake profiles that embarrass, humiliate, or make fun of others.
  • Cyberbullying is different from face-to-face bullying because messages, videos, pictures and/or images can, among other things, be:
  • Sent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • Distributed quickly to a very wide audience.
  • Sent anonymously.


For further information regarding the Dignity for All Students Act contact Mr. Nathan Schneckenburger, Secondary School Dignity for All Students Act Coordinator or Mrs. Natalie Pfluke, Elementary School Dignity Act Coordinator; at 229-5171 ext. 3016 or ext. 3018.  Procedures and complaint forms are available in all offices. The complaint form is also available in an electric format (see link to form above).  You may place forms in Mr. Schneckenburger or Mrs. Pfluke's mailboxes or e-mail forms to [email protected] 

What is bullying?

Bullying is a conscious and deliberate hostile activity intended to harm, induce fear through the threat of further aggression, and create terror. Bullying includes three elements:

  • Imbalance of power – Children who bully use their power, such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information or popularity, to control or harm others.  Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Intent to harm – The person bullying has a goal of causing harm.
  • Repetition – Bullying behaviors generally happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.


What is harassment?
The Dignity for All Students 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, benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well-being; or conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety.  The harassing behavior may be based on any characteristic, including but not limited to a person’s actual or perceived:

  • Race Religious Practice
  • Color Disability
  • Weight Sex
  • National Origin Sexual Orientation
  • Ethnic Group Gender (including gender identity and expression)

What is hazing?

Hazing is an induction, initiation or membership process involving harassment which produces public humiliation, physical or emotional discomfort, bodily injury or public ridicule or creates a situation where public humiliation, physical or emotional discomfort, bodily injury or public ridicule is likely to occur.

What is discrimination?

Discrimination is the act of denying rights, benefits, justice, equitable treatment or access to facilities available to all others, to an individual or group of people because of the group, class or category to which that person belongs including, but not limited to, a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sex, sexual orientation, and gender (including gender identity and expression).