The Dignity for All Students Act (hereinafter referred to as the Dignity Act) is a comprehensive bill that focuses on prevention of harassment and discriminatory behaviors through the promotion of education measures meant to positively impact school culture and climate. Among other provisions, the Dignity Act requires all public school districts to update their codes of conduct to fully address all forms of harassment and discrimination against students attending New York public schools. By building on the 2000 Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) Law which focuses primarily on guiding school districts on how to track and respond to school violence, the Dignity Act strengthens existing district policies protecting students and upholds New York’s commitment to safe and orderly schools.
The investigation of a reported act of bullying, harassment, or discrimination of a student, school employee, and all other individuals on BKWCSD property will be initiated upon report. The building administrator, designee, and/or investigative designee shall document all complaints in writing using the appropriate forms available in the Main Office, Guidance Office or school website. A copy of the Dignity for All Student frequently asked questions and student reporting form can be found on pages 30 and 32.
To the greatest extent possible, the administration will ensure that all complaints and the identities of all parties involved will be treated as confidential and in accordance with this policy.
Students, faculty, staff, and all visitors to the BKW CSD are expected to conduct themselves in keeping with their levels of development, maturity, and demonstrated capabilities with a proper regard for the rights and welfare of others. All are to:
- Maintain a climate of mutual respect and dignity for all students regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (identity or expression), or sex, which will strengthen students’ self-concept and promote confidence to learn.
- Confront issues of discrimination and harassment or any situation that threatens the emotional or physical health or safety of any student, school employee or any person who is lawfully on school property or at a school function.
- Address personal biases that may prevent equal treatment of all students in the school or classroom setting.
- Report incidents of harassment and discrimination that are witnessed or otherwise brought to a teacher’s attention in a timely way.
The Dignity Act calls for “remedial responses” to code of conduct violations. Remedial responses focus on correcting the reasons why harassment and discrimination occur; and are designed to correct the problem behavior, prevent another occurrence of the behavior, and protect the target of the act. Appropriate remedial measures may include, but are not limited to:
- restitution and restoration;
- peer support groups; corrective instruction or other relevant learning or service experience;
- supportive intervention behavioral assessment or evaluation;
- behavioral management plans, with benchmarks that are closely monitored;
- student counseling; parent conferences; or student treatment through therapy.
Beyond these individual-focused remedial responses, school-wide or environmental remediation can be an important tool to prevent harassment and discrimination. Environmental remediation strategies may include, but are not limited to:
- supervisory systems which empower school staff with prevention and intervention tools to address incidents of bullying and harassment;
- adoption of research-based, systemic harassment prevention programs;
- modification of schedules;
- adjustment in hallway traffic and other student routes of travel;
- targeted use of monitors;
- staff professional development;
- parent conferences;
- involvement of parent-teacher organizations;
- peer support groups.disciplinary consequences
The Dignity Act specifically prohibits any form of retaliation against the victim, complainant, witnesses or others named in a DASA investigation or report. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, any form of intimidation, reprisal or harassment in connection with filing a complaint or assisting with an investigation under this policy. Retaliatory or intimidating conduct against any individual who has made a bullying complaint or any individual who has testified, assisted, or participates, in any manner in an investigation is specifically prohibited and in accordance with this policy shall be treated as another act of bullying, harassment, or discrimination and subject to disciplinary consequences.