Reporting and Parent Support

Dignity for All Students Act

The Dignity Act makes it public law that in New York State that all students in public schools have the right to an education free of discrimination and harassment. Pittsford Speaking Out Against Racism recognizes that the PCSD Board of Education has a commitment to providing a safe and productive learning environment within its schools that promotes respect, dignity and equality.

Pittsford Speaking Out Against Racism is here to provide community support and advocacy in dealing with cases of discrimination and bullying. As identified in https://www.nyscfss.org/parent-information-faqs. If the bullying is occurring in the school, on school grounds, or during a school event/activity off of school grounds, NYS Law requires each district to have a policy and procedures in place for the concerned person(s) to make a report of the bullying, as follows:

    • Identify an administrative designee to receive reports of harassment, bullying, and discrimination (i.e., the DASA Coordinator);
    • Enable students, family members, and others to make an oral or written report to school personnel;
    • Require school employees to notify an administrator or designee (e.g., DASA Coordinator) within one school day of witnessing or receiving a report of harassment, bullying, or discrimination, and to file a written report no later than two school days after such oral report/notification;
    • Require administrators or a designee (e.g., DASA Coordinator) to lead a thorough investigation of all reports of harassment, bullying, and discrimination that is completed promptly after the receipt of any written report and is recorded [in Part II of the DASA Incident Reporting Form];
    • Upon verification of harassing, bullying, and/or discriminatory behavior, require the school to take prompt action(s) reasonably calculated to end harassment, bullying and discrimination, to eliminate any hostile environment, prevent recurrence of the behavior, and to ensure the safety of the student(s) against whom harassment, bullying or discrimination was directed;
    • Prohibit retaliation against any individual who reports or assists in the investigation of harassment, bullying, or discrimination;
    • Develop a school strategy to prevent harassment, bullying, and discrimination;
    • Require school leaders to make a regular report to the superintendent regarding data and trends related to harassment, bullying, and discrimination;
    • Require school administrators or designee(s) to promptly notify local law enforcement officials of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination when required to do so;
    • Require that all school employees, students, and parents receive a copy of the district’s policies, including the process for reporting harassment, bullying, and discrimination, at least annually;
    • Ensure that a current version of the district’s policies and procedures, including an incident report form, are maintained on the district’s website.

Please contact the school/district office and follow the procedures the district and school have in place for reporting incidents that occur on school/district grounds.

District Action

PCSD DASA Web Forms are available for each building through the Dignity for All Students Act resources page in the district website to directly report cases of discrimination and harassment.

State Level Action

However, repeated audits by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli found that NYS Schools are underreporting and not doing enough to report incidents of bullying, harassment and discrimination as required by the state’s Dignity for All Students Act (DASA). Given these inconsistencies Pittsford Speaking Out Against Racism advocates that when reporting cases of bullying and/or harassment that victims also report cases to DASA at the State Level directly.

Additional Actions (from https://www.nyscfss.org)

If you have been following the procedure and talking with the designated school personnel at your child’s school and not getting any help, then it is probably time to take your concerns to the next level. The levels of contact and appeal typically are:

  1. Dignity Act Coordinator (DAC)
  2. School Principal
  3. District Superintendent
  4. School Board of Education
  5. Appeals to the NYS Commissioner of Education
  6. http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/appeals Education Law §310 provides that persons considering themselves aggrieved by an action taken at a school district meeting or by school authorities may appeal to the Commissioner of Education for a review of such action. A §310 appeal must be initiated within 30 days of the decision or action complained of, unless the delay is excused by the Commissioner for good cause shown in the petition.
  7. For more information on the Appeal process, please follow the "Contact Us" link on the New York State Education Department website: http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/appeals
  8. New York State Attorney General’s Office, Civil Rights Bureau (212) 416-8250, civil.rights@ag.ny.gov, http://www.ag.ny.gov

It is very important that you don’t skip any steps and keep written documentation of any correspondence. Because the Appeal to the NYS Commissioner of Education can be a rather lengthy process, you may do steps 5 and 6 at the same time.

If you have questions about this process or forms, you can contact the NYSED Office of Student Support Services at DASA@nysed.gov or http://www.p12.nysed.gov/dignityact/.

For families seeking legislative information, legal resources and confidential support the following NYS-AG contacts are also available:

Justin Deabler

Assistant Attorney General

Civil Rights Bureau

New York State Office of the Attorney General

28 Liberty St., 20th floor

New York, NY 10005

(212) 416-8097

Justin.Deabler [at] ag.ny.gov


Ajay Saini

Assistant Attorney General

Civil Rights Bureau

New York State Office of the Attorney General

28 Liberty Street, 20th Floor

New York, NY 10005

(212) 416-8714

Ajay.Saini [at] ag.ny.gov

Concerns with DASA Underreporting in NYS Schools

Report says, Schools under-reporting bullying and harassment : In an audit released March 13, 2019 by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli found the NYC Department of Education (DoE) was not doing enough to report incidents of bullying, harassment and discrimination as required by the state’s Dignity for All Students Act.

“It’s been six years since DASA took effect, but in some ways providing a safe, supportive learning environment is still a work in progress,” DiNapoli said. “Even before school officials report bullying and discrimination to the state, there seems to be confusion at the local level over what needs to be reported. Underreporting and late reporting of bullying puts students at risk of further harassment. The city’s Department of Education can and should do more to protect students.”

State audit show schools lacking when it comes to reporting bullying and harassment : A 2017 state audit shows schools are lacking when it comes to reporting bullying and harassment. Under the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), 30 percent schools in Monroe County reported no bullying or harassment incidents for the last three years.

“It's really an opportunity to give leadership at a local level and state level, as well a real picture of what's happening in our schools, what's going on in our schools, and that values one of looking at the trends over a period time,” said Thomas DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller. “So the accuracy of the reporting becomes very, very key in that regard.”

STATE DASA RESOURCES FOR ADDRESSING DISCRIMINATION

New York State Resources on the Dignity Act and Anti Bullying Legislation: