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RCS District Office
P.O. Box 100
15 Mountain Road
Ravena, NY 12143
(518) 756-5200
Robert K. Libby,
Superintendent

orange bar bullet The NYS dignity Act protects students from harassment and discrimination

 

RCS strives for a safe learning environment for all of its students

DASA parent brochure











Read or download the parent brochure about DASA (PDF)

 

 

The Dignity for All Students Act, or DASA, was signed into law on Sept. 13, 2010 and took effect on July 1, 2012. This legislation amended State Education Law by creating a new Article 2 – Dignity for All Students. DASA 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 are responsible for collecting and reporting data regarding material incidents of discrimination and harassment.

Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School
2025 Route 9W  Ravena, New York 12143
DACT coordinator/Assistant Principal Cynthia Herron
(518) 756-5200 ext. 2001
cherron@rcscsd.org
Link to NYS Education Department website about The Dignity Act
Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Middle School
2025 Route 9W  Ravena, New York 12143
DACT coordinator/Guidance Counselor Laurie Abelson
(518) 756-5200 ext. 3017
labelson@rcscsd.org
Here is a fact sheet about the Dignity Act from the state (PDF).
A.W. Becker Elementary School
1146 Route 9W  Selkirk, New York 12158
DACT coordinator/Guidance Counselor Thomas Trainor
(518) 756-5200 ext. 5231
ttrainor@rcscsd.org
Here is a brochure describing The Dignity Act (PDF)
Pieter B. Coeymans Elementary School
66 Church Street  Ravena, New York 12143
DACT coordinator/Guidance Counselor MaryFran Krebs
(518) 756-5200 ext. 4011
mkrebs@rcscsd.org
Common terminology used in The Dignity Act

Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk DACT complaint form - Fillable PDF
Complete the fillable PDF form above and return it to one of the DACT coordinators listed above

Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk DACT complaint form - Printable PDF

The school district has been active with its RCS No Bullying Zone initiative.

2015 Opening Day DASA presentation to teachers and staff  (PDF)


New York State’s Dignity for All Students Act (formerly known as DASA but now known as The Dignity ACT or DACT) seeks to provide students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying on school property, the Internet, a school bus and/or at a school function.

The Dignity Act states that NO student shall be subjected to harassment or discrimination by employees or students on school property or at a school function based on their actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex.

This law originally earned the nickname of “DASA” but the state Education Department changed the nickname to DACT (The Dignity ACT) - because it now includes the topic of cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is defined as using the Internet, cell phones or other electronic devices to send or post text or images intended to intimidate, hurt or embarrass another person. Much of cyberbullying is initiated outside of school by using programs such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or texting.

The Dignity Act arises out of legislative concern about bullying and safety in schools. While the act does not use the word “bullying,” that is its primary focus. This act is designed to prevent and prohibit discriminating and harassing conduct on school property and at school functions.

Any person having reasonable cause to believe that a student has been subjected to discrimination or harassment must act reasonably and in good faith by reporting the incident. Incident reporting forms are available on the district website and on each building’s page.

Today’s students are referred to as “Digital Natives” because technology is a very large part of their daily lives. A recent survey showed this about today’s students:
    • 94% have a cell phone;
    • 70% own a laptop;
    • 69% own an Ipod or mp3 player;
    • 23% own a tablet;
    • 28% have shared information they would not normally share in public;
    • 12% have shared a cell phone number with a stranger;
    • 13% have posted risqué photos of themselves online; and
    • 7% have their primary social media profile set to public.

These statistics are cause for concern regarding today’s youth. The Dignity Act is an attempt to create a safe and supportive school climate where students can learn and focus as they navigate the digital culture.

This legislation was signed into law on September 13, 2010 and became effective on July 1, 2012.


Some common terminology used in The Dignity Act

WHAT IS BULLYING?
Bullying is a conscious and deliberate hostile activity intended to harm, induce fear through the threat of further aggression and create terror. Bullying includes three elements:

    • Imbalance of power – Children who bully use their power, such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information or popularity, to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
    • Intent to harm – The person bullying has a goal of causing harm.
    • Repetition – Bullying behaviors generally happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

WHAT IS HARASSMENT?
The Dignity for All Students Act defines harassment as the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities, benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well-being; or conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety.

The harassing behavior may be based on any characteristic, including but not limited to a person’s actual or perceived:

    • Race
    • Color
    • National Origin
    • Religious Practice
    • Disability
    • Sex
    • Sexual Orientation
    • Weight
    • Ethnic Group
    • Gender (including gender identity and expression)

WHAT IS HAZING?
Hazing is an induction, initiation or membership process involving harassment which produces public humiliation, physical or emotional discomfort, bodily injury or public ridicule or creates a situation where public humiliation, physical or emotional discomfort, bodily injury or public ridicule is likely to occur.

WHAT IS DISCRIMINATION?
Discrimination is the act of denying rights, benefits, justice, equitable treatment or access to facilities available to all others, to an individual or group of people because of the group, class or category to which that person belongs.
That includes, but is not limited to, a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sex, sexual orientation, and gender (including gender identity and expression).