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Amie Petri
07/24/2012 09:11 AM



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Policy 7553: Dignity for All Students

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7000
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SUBJECT: DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS ACT

The Board of Education recognizes that learning environments that are safe and supportive can increase student attendance and improve academic achievement. A student's ability to learn and achieve high academic standards, and a school's ability to educate students, is compromised by incidents of discrimination or harassment, including but not limited to bullying, taunting and intimidation. Therefore, in accordance with the Dignity for All Students Act, Education Law, Article 2, the District will strive to create an environment free of bullying, discrimination and/or harassment and will foster civility in the schools to prevent and prohibit conduct which is inconsistent with the District's educational mission. Since cyberbullying is a form of bullying, the term “bullying” as used in this policy will implicitly include cyberbullying even if it is not explicitly stated.

The District condemns and prohibits all forms of discrimination and harassment of students based on actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex by school employees or students on school property and at school-sponsored activities and events that take place at locations off school property. In addition, any act of discrimination or harassment, outside of school sponsored events, which can reasonably be expected to materially and substantially disrupt the education process may be subject to discipline.

Dignity Act Coordinator

At least one (1) employee at every school shall be designated as the Dignity Act Coordinator(s). The Dignity Act Coordinator(s) will be thoroughly trained to handle human relations in the areas of race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (identity or expression) and sex. The Board of Education shall appoint Dignity Act Coordinators who are employed by such District or BOCES and are licensed and/or certified as a classroom teacher, school counselor, psychologist, nurse, social worker, administrator/supervisor or Superintendent of Schools. Districts must share the names and contact information of the Dignity Act Coordinators with all school personnel, students, and parents/persons in parental relation, which shall include but is not limited to, providing the name, designated school and contact information by:
SUBJECT: DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS ACT
If a Dignity Act Coordinator vacates his/her position, another school employee shall immediately be designated for an interim appointment as Coordinator, pending approval from the Board of Education, within thirty (30) days of the date the position was vacated. In the event a Coordinator is unable to perform the duties of the position for an extended period of time, another school employee shall immediately be designated for an interim appointment as Coordinator, pending return of the previous Coordinator to the position. The District must provide the change in information to parents or persons in parental relation as soon as practicable. The change in name and/or contact information of the Dignity Act Coordinator will not constitute a revision to the Code of Conduct so as to require a public hearing.

Training and Awareness

Each District and Charter School shall establish guidelines for training which shall be approved by the Board of Education. Training will be provided each school year for all District employees in conjunction with existing professional development training to raise staff awareness and sensitivity of bullying, discrimination and/or harassment directed at students that are committed by students or school employees on school property, at a school function, or off school property when the actions create or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment or where it is foreseeable that the conduct might reach school property.

Training will include ways to promote a supportive school environment that is free from bullying, discrimination and/or harassment Training shall:

SUBJECT: DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS ACT

Instruction in grades Kindergarten through 12 shall include a component on civility, citizenship and character education. Such component shall instruct students on the principles of honesty, tolerance, personal responsibility, respect for others, observance of laws and rules, courtesy, dignity and other traits which will enhance the quality of their experiences in, and contributions to, the community. For the purposes of this policy, "tolerance," "respect for others" and "dignity" shall include awareness and sensitivity to discrimination or harassment and civility in the relations of people of different races, weights, national origins, ethnic groups, religions, religious practices, mental or physical abilities, sexual orientations, genders and sexes. Such component must also include instruction on the safe and responsible use of the internet and electronic communications.

Rules against bullying, discrimination and/or harassment will be included in the Code of Conduct, publicized District-wide and disseminated to all staff and parents. Any amendments to the Code will be disseminated as soon as practicable following their adoption. New teachers shall be provided a complete copy of the current Code upon their employment. An age-appropriate summary shall be distributed to all students at a school assembly at the beginning of each school year.

Reports and Investigations of Discrimination and Harassment

The District will investigate all complaints of bullying, discrimination and/or harassment, either formal or informal, and take prompt corrective measures, as necessary. School employees who witness or receive a report (oral or written) of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination must orally notify the Superintendent, Principal, or their designee no later than (1) school day after witnessing or receiving a report of such incident. The employee must then file a written report within two (2) school days after making the oral report. If, after an appropriate investigation, the District finds that this policy has been violated, corrective action will be taken in accordance with District policies and regulations, the Code of Conduct, and all appropriate federal or state laws. The Superintendent, Principal or their designee shall notify the appropriate local law enforcement agency when it is believed that any harassment, bullying and/or discrimination constitute criminal conduct.

The District will annually report material incidents of bullying, discrimination and/or harassment which occurred during the school year to the State Education Department. Such report shall be submitted in a manner prescribed by the Commissioner, on or before the basic educational data system (BEDS) reporting deadline or such other date as determined by the Commissioner. SED has developed a form for gathering data titled, “Reports of Incidents Concerning School Safety and the Education Climate” which can be found on the NYSED website.

The Principal of each primary and secondary school shall provide a regular report (at least once during each school year) on data and trends related to harassment, bullying and/or discrimination to the Superintendent and in a manner prescribed by, as applicable, the district, BOCES or charter school. There is no need for schools or districts to submit this report to the State Education Department



SUBJECT: DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS ACT

Prohibition of Retaliatory Behavior (Commonly Known as "Whistle-Blower" Protection)

Any person who has reasonable cause to suspect that a student has been subjected to bullying, discrimination and/or harassment by an employee or student, on school grounds or at a school function, who acts reasonably and in good faith and reports such information to school officials or law enforcement authorities, shall have immunity from any civil liability that may arise from making such report. The Board prohibits any retaliatory behavior directed at complainants, victims, witnesses and/or any other individuals who participated in the investigation of a complaint of bullying, discrimination and/or harassment.



Education Law Sections 10-18 and 801-a, 2801 and 3214
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Section 100.2


NOTE: Refer also to Policies #1330 -- Appointments and Designations by the Board of Education
#3410 -- Code of Conduct on School Property






Adoption Date: 09/03/2013



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