The goal of the Dignity Act is to create a safe and supportive school climate where students can learn and focus, rather than fear being discriminated against and/or verbally and/or physically harassed. All public elementary and secondary school students have the
right to attend school in a safe, welcoming, considerate, and caring environment.
The Dignity Act took effect on July 1, 2012.
The New York State Dignity For All Students Act (Dignity Act) was signed into law on September 13, 2010. This legislation amended State Education Law by creating a new Article 2 – Dignity for All Students.
- 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.
- The Dignity Act 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.
- The Dignity Act also amended Section 2801 of the Education Law, instructing Boards of Education to include language in the codes of conduct to comply with the Dignity Act.
Q: Who is protected by the Dignity Act?
A: All public elementary and secondary school students are protected by the Dignity Act.
Q: What does the Dignity Act prohibit?
A: The Dignity Act prohibits the harassment and discrimination of students by students and by school personnel.
Q: How does the Dignity Act relate to bullying and hazing?
A: Bullying and hazing are forms of harassment and discrimination.
Q: What physical spaces are covered by the Dignity Act?
A: The Dignity Act applies to behavior on school property (including athletic fields, playgrounds, and parking lots), in school buildings, on a school bus/vehicle, as well as at school-sponsored events or activities.
Q: How does the Dignity Act relate to the school’s Code of Conduct?
A: The Code of Conduct must be amended to reflect the prohibition of discrimination and harassment of students by students or staff — in age appropriate plain language.
Q: How does the Dignity Act define harassment?
A: The Dignity Act defines harassment as: “Creation of a hostile environment by conduct or verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that has or would have the effect of interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities, or emotional, mental, or physical well being”
Dignity Act Coordinators
District Level: Joseph D'Amato
Building Level: Michelle Kudla, Cayuga Heights
Building Level: Jay Lupini, Middle School
Building Level: Carol Townsend, High School
To learn more about the Dignity for All Students Act, visit: www.p12.nysed.gov/dignityact
Questions on the Dignity Act may be directed to the State Education Dept. at DASA@MAIL.NYSED.GOV or 518-486-6090.