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Taking a Stand Against Bullying: Michele Grider

IMG_2819There are some staggering NYS bullying statistics I’d like to share with you today. During the 2009-2010 school year, 23% of U.S. schools reported that bullying occurred among students on a daily or weekly basis. In 2011, 28% of students aged 12 to 18 years reported being bullied at school. The most common form of bullying was based on physical appearance. 66% reported that students were harassed at least sometimes because of their looks or body size.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is New York State’s Response – The Dignity for All Students Act (DASA)

DASA was born out of legislative concern to prevent bullying in our schools. Media coverage of egregious cases brought more attention to the severity of the situation and something needed to be done. The Act was signed into law by Gov. Patterson on September 8, 2010 and became effective July 1, 2012.

The Purpose of this Act is to foster civility in public schools by way of prevention and prohibition of bullying, discrimination, and harassment on school property and at school functions. It also adds additional “protected classes” to the federal protected classes.

DASA states: At its core…No student shall be subjected to bullying, discrimination and/or harassment by employees or students on school property or at a school function.

Schools are taking this very seriously now. It is no longer, “someone else’s problem”. Every school in New York State must have a Dignity Act Coordinator (DAC) and bullying protocols in place.

As proactive steps are taken in our schools check with your children. Do they know who the DAC is in their school? Do they feel that their school offers a safe environment to learn? If not, do they know where to turn, who to talk to? NYS will not tolerate harassment in our schools. Our kids need to know it’s okay to speak up.

-Michele Grider, NYS Dignity Act/Bullying Prevention Coordinator
Oneida Herkimer Madison BOCES

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