Bullying and Harassment in School
The Dignity for All Students Act
On July 1, 2012, the Dignity for All Students Act takes full effect. Bullying affects students at all grade levels, sometimes seriously affecting their ability to succeed in school and their emotional and psychological development. The Dignity Act aims to protect New York State's public school students from harassment and bullying by focusing on prevention, education and improving school climate. The NYCLU is working to ensure educators have the information they need to fulfill the mission of the Dignity Act.
Read more about the Dignity Act and learn how schools can prevent bullying:
- What is the Dignity for All Students Act? (PDF)
- Guidelines for Addressing Bullying & Bias-Based Harassment on Campus (PDF)
Dignity Act Resources
The NYCLU is participating on a statewide Task Force that the New York State Education Department (NYSED) established to help local school districts successfully implement the new law. In collaboration with NYSED, the Task Force has created guidance documents to assist schools in implementing the Dignity Act. Many of these materials, including a guidance document for amending your school's code of conduct and a webinar explaining the requirements of the Dignity Act can be found on NYSED's website. Keep checking the website for updates as new materials are added often. You can also find information on Facebook: www.facebook.com/dignityact.
NYSED has also developed a compliance checklist to assist school districts, boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES) and charter schools in evaluating their own Dignity Act compliance status.
In addition, the NYCLU will be holding regional forums around the state to engage communities in discussions about the Dignity Act. Keep checking our calendar for forums in your area.
The NYCLU generally cannot assist with individual complaints about bullying or districts' compliance with the Dignity Act. You can send your complaint in writing to the NYCLU's intake department or the NYCLU chapter in your area. We are not able to answer all inquiries but will do our best to assist if we can. In the meantime, the following materials and links might help:
- If you need help with a school suspension, click here
- If you are an LGBTQ student in a public school (or a parent or ally), click here for information on LGBTQ rights in schools
- If you (or your child) are experiencing harassment at school on the basis of your race, national origin, sex, or disability, and the school has not intervened, you may be able to file a complaint with the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights