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Safety and wellness 

The New York State Dignity for All Students Act (DASA)

The goal of the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), which took effect July 1, 2013, is to provide students with a safe, supportive educational environment that is free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying. DASA states that no student shall be subjected to harassment or discrimination by employees or students on school property or at a school function based on their actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex.

Some of the law requirements include establishing anti-harassment and discrimination policies, creating school training programs and including a course in civility, citizenship and character education in the curriculum for every grade level.


Guilderland Central School District DASA coordinators

Under the new legislation, at least one employee in every school shall be designated as a Dignity Act Coordinator and thoroughly trained in methods to respond to human relations in the areas of race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practices, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex. If you are a victim of, or witness to, an act of bullying, harassment or discrimination, talk to your teacher, guidance counselor or a Dignity Act Coordinator.

Altamont Elementary School: Principal Peter Brabant, 861-8528

Guilderland Elementary School: Principal Allan Lockwood, 869-0293

Lynnwood Elementary School: Principal Alicia Rizzo, 355-7930

Pine Bush Elementary School: Principal Christopher Sanita, 357-2770

Westmere Elementary School: Principal Beth Bini, 456-3771

Farnsworth Middle School: Principal Michael Laster, 456-6010

Guilderland High School: Assistant Principal Amy Hawrylchak, 861-8591

District-wide Coordinator: Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Demian Singleton, 456-6200, ext. 3119


DASA in action

Guilderland Schools already meet the DASA standards in many respects. From in-school sessions led by counselors to afterschool clubs, students at all grade levels are exposed to the ideas of tolerance, compassion and respect.

Learn more about how schools – and you – can help stop and prevent bullying

Learn more about cyberbullying and view resources for students, teachers and parents


Frequently Asked Questions about DASA

Who is protected by the Dignity for All Students Act?
All public elementary and secondary school students are protected by the Dignity Act.

What does the Dignity Act prohibit?
The Dignity Act prohibits the harassment and discrimination of students by students and by school personnel.

How does the Dignity Act relate to bullying and hazing?
Bullying and hazing are forms of harassment and discrimination.

What physical spaces are covered by the Dignity Act?
The Dignity Act applies to behavior on school property (including athletic fields, playgrounds, and parking lots), in school buildings, on a school bus/vehicle, as well as at school-sponsored events or activities.

How does the Dignity Act affect the school’s Code of Conduct?
Under the Dignity Act, the school district’s code of conduct must include age appropriate, plain language that prohibits discrimination and harassment against any student by employees or other students that creates a hostile environment.

Where can I find the district’s Code of Conduct?
A full text of the Guilderland Central School District Code of Conduct is posted on the district website. View it here (PDF)

How is a hostile environment defined?
A hostile environment may occur with or without physical contact and/or by verbal threats, intimidation or abuse. Does the conduct unreasonably and substantially interfere with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional and/or physical well-being? Does the conduct reasonably cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety?

What is required of the school?
All students must be informed annually of the behavioral expectations in the code of conduct. Training for staff will be provided to raise their awareness and sensitivity to potential discrimination or harassment and how to prevent and respond to discrimination or harassment. Staff who know—or reasonably should know—of possible harassment must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred. When harassment has occurred, staff must take prompt and effective steps to end it, eliminate any hostile environment and prevent it from reoccurring.