Yesterday, David Paterson signed a comprehensive anti-bullying bill called the Dignity for All Students Act.
This new bill, which goes into effect on July 1, 2012, prohibits harassment “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,”.
Schools will be required to “Revise their codes of conduct and adopt policies intended to create a school environment free from harassment and discrimination; Adopt guidelines to be used in school training programs to raise awareness and sensitivity of school employees to these issues and to enable them to respond appropriately; and Designate at least one staff member in each school to be trained in non-discriminatory instructional and counseling methods and handling human relations.
Paterson said “Every student has the right to a safe and civil educational environment, but far too often young people are ruthlessly targeted by bullies. Bullying and harassment have disrupted the education of too many young people, and we in government have a responsibility to do our part to create learning environments that help our children prosper. I am proud to sign this bill into law as it will help ensure that students are protected from harassment, discrimination and bullying at school grounds and at school functions.”