The Dignity for All Students Act
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.
The Dignity Act was signed into law on September 13, 2010 and took effect on July 1, 2012. Amendments to the act are effective as of July 1, 2013 and are noted below under ***DIGNITY ACT NEWS***.
The original legislation 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.
Additionally, under the Dignity Act, schools will be responsible for collecting and reporting data regarding material incidents of discrimination and harassment.
- On August 31, 2016, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia released guidance and model materials to aid school districts in complying with the Dignity For All Students Act. See the press release.
- August 31, 2016 memo from NYS Education Department Assistant Commissioner, Renee Rider and NYS Office of the Attorney General Civil Rights Bureau Chief, Lourdes Rosado
- Model training materials to assist districts in training school employees on a variety of topics, including the nature of harassment, bullying, and discrimination; how to identify such behavior; and school employees’ duties concerning the reporting, investigation, and documenting of alleged incidents of harassment, bullying, and discrimination.
- Sample Dignity for All Students Act (DASA)
Incident Reduction Plan (IRP)
- Dear Colleagues Letter From Commissioner Elia Regarding U.S. Departments of Education and Justice Joint Guidance to School Districts Regarding Transgender Students (275 KB) - (5/25/16)
- Guidance to School Districts for Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment For Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students (132 KB) (7/20/15)
- The Updated Resource and Promising Practices Guide for School Administrators & Faculty is Available!: download the PDF (1.4 MB) (Updated 5/10/16)