DASA – The Dignity for All Students Act

Understanding the Dignity for All Students Act

The board of education and the staff of Central Valley Central School believe that every child deserves to learn in a safe environment. That means more than simply keeping our buildings in good repair and free of hazards—it also means protecting our students from any and all discrimination and bullying.

As part of that commitment, our teachers and administrators routinely receive training to help them recognize and prevent inappropriate behaviors. We teach anti-bullying and tolerance as a regular part of our ongoing PreK-12 character education program.

But the world is changing. Bullies are no longer limited to the playground or the cafeteria. Computers and smartphones enable students to harass others at any hour of the day and from anywhere.

A newly enacted law, the New York State Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), places even greater emphasis on our responsibility to protect students from any form of discrimination, harassment, or bullying. We must now work to prevent and prohibit any discrimination or harassment that interferes with our schools’ educational mission.

What is different under DASA?

Under federal law Americans are protected from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, and disability.

Beginning July 1, 2012, New York expanded that law to read, “No student shall be subjected to harassment by employees or students on school property or at a school function; nor shall any student be subjected to discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex by school employees or students on school property or at a school function.”

The law, also requires, that beginning July 1, 2013, districts prohibit cyberbullying, even off school property.

The Central Valley Board of Education voted to not wait until 2013 and added the cyberbullying requirement to school policy this year.

What is harassment?

Harassment is any physical behavior or verbal threat, intimidation, or abuse that interferes with the victim’s educational performance or mental, emotional, or physical well-being. This also includes anything that might cause a student to fear for his or her safety.

What is the district doing differently?

The district:

  • Has amended its policies to include the changes in the District Code of Conduct.

  • Is establishing guidelines for employee training programs to raise awareness and to enable employees to prevent and respond to discrimination or harassment.

  • Is training at least one person in each school to help counsel and address any problems that might arise in the school.

  • Is assigning one person in each building to receive and investigate claims of harassment or bullying, ensure school employees report any harassment or bullying, take needed steps to end the harassment, and regularly report data and trends to the superintendent.

  • Will annually provide parents, students, and staff with a plain language summary of the district’s anti-bullying policies and procedures.

  • Will maintain current versions on the policies on the district website.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is the use of texting, computer messaging, or any form of electronic communication to harass or bully someone.

How will the district handle cyberbullying?

Under the law, the school district must address:

  • Any bullying that takes place on school grounds or at any school-sponsored event (sporting event, field trip, etc.)

  • Any bullying or cyberbullying—regardless of where it occurs—if there is reason to believe it will disrupt the school environment or might reach school property.

Example: A student discovers her boyfriend has been secretly dating another student. In anger she confronts the girl in the parking lot of a local restaurant and threatens to “get her.” That night, the student sends several Facebook messages with a similar warning.

Although these events took place off school grounds, the school must investigate and take appropriate action because there is a good chance this conflict will spill over into school.

How do I report an incident?

All incidents of bullying or harassment should be reported to the Dignity for All Students Act coordinator in the building your child attends. You may begin by completing a confidential DASA Reporting Form (PDF) or complete the online form. Each incident will be appropriately investigated. The coordinator for each building is listed below.

Barringer Road Elementary

Stephanie Fransman, Social Worker
Caitlin Keeler, School Nurse
326 Barringer Road
Ilion, NY 13357

Central Valley Academy

Michelle DelConte, Guidance Counselor
Shannon Darrow, Guidance Counselor
111 Frederick St.
Ilion, NY 13357

Fisher Elementary

Heather Bove, School Psychologist
10 Fisher Ave.
Mohawk, NY 13407

Jarvis Middle School

Shannon Buttacaroli, Guidance Counselor
Alina Horner, Guidance Counselor
28 Grove St.
Mohawk, NY 13407

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