New York State’s Dignity for All Students Act (The Dignity Act) took effect on July 1, 2012. Just as with the district’s Code of Conduct, the new law seeks to provide the State’s public school students and staff 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 includes, but is not limited to, acts of discrimination and harassment based on a student’s race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (defined to include gender identity or expression), or sex.
Pairing perfectly with initiatives Stillwater schools already take, the new law is aimed at promoting tolerance and bullying prevention district wide. Current school initiatives include the extensive character education monthly program at the elementary school; the Friends of Rachel Club and weekly classroom meetings focused on anti-bullying at the middle school; and, high school character education training at Code of Conduct meetings at the beginning of the school year and the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Club.
All students are expected to:
- Respect themselves, fellow students, faculty, staff and school property;
- Arrive at school and to all classes on time;
- Bring all necessary school work and materials to class; and
- Cooperate and be respectful throughout the day, doing what is asked by school leaders, teachers and staff members.
Reporting & Retaliation
All students, parents and school employees are expected to promptly report any violations of the Code of Conduct or the Dignity for All Students Act to the appropriate adult. This includes incidents of other students or staff being harassed or discriminated against by students, school staff or other individuals on school property.
In addition, any district staff member who observes or learns of an incident or possible incident of harassment or discrimination must take immediate and appropriate action to report the incident to the administration. Staff members must also take steps to both ends the harassment or discrimination and prevent it from reoccurring.
Any act of retaliation against a person who reports, investigates or participates in the review of a complaint of harassment or discrimination will not be tolerated.