In July of 2012, NYS leaders implemented the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) which reads:
It is hereby declared to be a policy of the State to afford all students in public schools an environment free of discrimination and harassment. The purpose of this article is to foster civility in public schools and to prevent and prohibit conduct which is inconsistent with the school’s educational mission.
No student shall be subjected to harassment by school 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 or sex.
The Ithaca City School District is committed to creating a safe and caring learning environment where all students can succeed.
ICSD DASA Actions
Revised and adopted Policies intended to create a school environment free from harassment and discrimination; Created plain language versions for both elementary and secondary Codes of Conduct; Coordinated with TST BOCES Youth Development to train all staff to raise awareness and sensitivity to these issues and provided tools for appropriate responses to harmful incidents; Developed a system for reporting incidents of discrimination and harassment; Designated a Dignity Act Coordinator who is responsible for receiving and investigating reports of discrimination and harassment in each school; Designated an administrator to coordinate all district-wide DASA efforts and initiatives; Created a DASA website; Established a communication committee which will work to educate the entire ICSD community.
ICSD DASA Protocol
1. Student, staff member or parent/caregiver experiences, witnesses or hears about bullying harassment, discrimination or hazing.
2. Witness or target finds a staff person if immediate help is needed AND if a safety issue, alleged aggressor(s) are separated and intervention occurs to ensure safety.
3. Bullying Reporting Form is completed by student, staff or parent/caregiver and given to appropriate Dignity Act Coordinator (see below).
4. Investigation occurs. Target is interviewed separately from aggressor and necessary supports are put into place to ensure safety. Witnesses and aggressor(s) are interviewed.
5. Parent/caregiver is notified. Notification may occur earlier dependent upon severity and situation. If investigation deems that the event occurred, then every attempt is made to permanently stop the bullying, harassment, discrimination or hazing by means of consequences, education, restorative practices and/or remediation. By law, the consequences to the aggressor cannot be shared with the target without expressed written consent of aggressor and parent/caregiver.