DASA went into effect in New York State July, 1. 2012. It was passed in the New York State Senate in June, 2010. The bill was first introduced in the Legislature in 2000 and was passed nine times by the Assembly with bipartisan support, but was blocked in the Senate for nine years. The June 2010 vote marked the first time the Senate allowed the bill to come to the floor. The bill was signed by the governor September, 2010. It is largely unfunded. Twelve other states and the District of Columbia have passed measures that explicitly prohibit harassment and bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, including: California, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, Vermont and Maine. Three additional states have safe schools laws designed to protect students based upon sexual orientation, but do not include gender identity and expression: Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Dr. Payne, Director of QuERI, serves on the New York State Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) Task Force and the DASA State Policy Group and is the only education researcher on the DASA implementation committees.
“To help provide a safe and civil educational environment, the Dignity for All Students Act requires school districts to:
The bill explicitly defines “harassment” in terms of creating a hostile environment that unreasonably and substantially interferes with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well-being, or conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety. The bill explicitly prohibits harassment and discrimination of students with respect to certain non-exclusive protected classes, including, but not limited to, the student’s actual or perceived “race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex.”
10. Legislative intent. The legislature finds that students’ ability to learn and to meet high academic standards, and a school’s ability to educate its students, are compromised by incidents of discrimination or harassment including bullying, taunting or intimidation. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the state to afford all students in public schools an environment free of discrimination and harassment based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex. The purpose of this article is to foster civility in public schools and to prevent and prohibit conduct which is inconsistent with a school’s educational mission.
12. Discrimination and harassment prohibited. 1. No student shall be subjected to harassment by employees or students on school property or at a school function; nor shall any student be subjected to discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex by school employees or students on school property or at a school function. 2. An age-appropriate version of the policy outlined in subdivision one of this section, written in plain-language, shall be included in the of conduct adopted by boards of education and the trustees or sole pursuant to section twenty-eight hundred one of this chapter and summary of such policy shall be included in any summaries required by such section twenty-eight hundred one.
3. Section 801-a of the education law, as added by chapter 181 of laws of 2000, is amended to read as follows:
Section 100.2(jj). School Employee Training and the Dignity Act