Harry Hoag DASA Coordinator
- Lauren Crisman, Principal 993-4000
Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School DASA Coordinator
- Deborah Larrabee, Principal
993-4000 ext. 2124
PREVENTION & THE DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS ACT
In July 2010, the Dignity for All
Students Act - or DASA - was established to promote a safe and
supportive learning environment in all public schools, free from
harassment and discrimination from other students and adults.
DASA establishes a number of standards for
schools, when it comes to instruction, certain district policies and
procedures and identifying and reporting incidents of bullying,
harassment and discrimination in school.
"No student shall be subjected to harassment
or bullying 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,
weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice,
disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex." (State Education
Laws of 2010, Effective: July 1, 2012)
How do I know if my child is being bullied?
What is harassment? Harassment is the creation
of a hostile environment that unreasonably and substantially
interferes with a student's educational performance, opportunities
or benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well-being.
What is bullying?
Bullying includes such actions as making
threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally
and excluding someone from a group on purpose. Bullying is an
unwanted, aggressive intentional form of harassment that involves a
real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has
the potential to be repeated, over time.
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place
using electronic technology. Examples of cyberbullying include
hostile or threatening text messages, e-mails, posts on social
networking sites and inappropriate pictures, videos, websites or
What is discrimination?
Discrimination, as defined by the New York
State Education Department (NYSED), is the "denial of equal
treatment, admission and/or access to programs, facilities and
services based on the person's actual or perceived race, color,
weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice,
disability, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity),
Examples of bullying include, but are not
Verbal: Name-calling, teasing, sexual
comments, taunting and threatening to cause harm.
Social: Spreading rumors about someone,
excluding others on purpose, telling other children not to be
friends with someone and embarrassing someone in public.
Physical: Hitting, punching, shoving, kicking,
pinching, spitting, tripping, pushing, taking or breaking someone's
property and making mean or rude hand gestures. (Source: U.S.
Department of Education)
Signs that a child is being bullied:
Be aware that not all children who are bullied
exhibit warning signs. Signs of bullying include:
Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics or jewelry;
Frequent headaches or stomachaches, feeling sick or faking illness
to avoid school or social situations;
Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge
eating (kids may come home from school hungry because they did not
Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares;
Avoidance of such areas as the playground, cafeteria or restrooms;
Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork or not wanting to
go to school;
Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations;
Loss of interest in activities formerly enjoyed;
Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem; and/or
Self-destructive behaviors, such as running away from home,
self-harm or talking about suicide.
Signs that a child is bullying others:
Children may be bullying others if they:
Get into physical or verbal fights;
Have friends who bully others;
Are increasingly aggressive;
Have no regard for other people's feelings;
Disrespect authority and/or rules;
Disrespect the opposite gender and people of different races,
ethnicities or religions;
Get sent to the principal's office or to detention frequently;
Have unexplained extra money or new belongings;
Blame others for their problems;
Lie to get out of trouble;
Deliberately hurt pets or animals;
Use anger to get what they want;
Refuse to accept responsibility for their actions; and/or
Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity.
REMEMBER: Bullying almost always requires
Roles kids play in a bullying situation
Kids who bully: These children engage in bullying behavior toward
their peers. There are many factors that may contribute to this
behavior. Often, these youth require support to change their
behavior and address any other challenges that may be influencing
them. Don't hesitate to speak to a counselor at your child's school
and ask for help.
Kids who are bullied: Some factors put
children at greater risk of being bullied,. If you are worried that
your child is being bullied seek help from school administration or
counselors right away.
Bystanders: Even kids who are not bullies and
who are not bullied are impacted by bullying behavior. They witness
it happening and they may either encourage it, avoid it or try to
discourage it. These children may need support and help to deal with
the bullying they observe; your school counselor can help!
Most kids play more than one role in bullying
It is important to note the multiple roles
kids play, because those who are both bullied and bully others may
be at more risk for negative outcomes, such as depression or
suicidal tendencies. It also highlights the need to engage all kids
in prevention efforts, not just those who are known to be directly
How do I talk to my child about bullying?
Talk to your child about what bullying is and
make sure he or she understands that it is unacceptable behavior. It
is never too early to bring it up; for younger children talk about
being mean rather than using the term bullying.
Keep the lines of communication open with your
child - know your child's friends, ask about the school day, listen
to any questions or concerns that arise.
Tell your child to talk to you or a trusted
adult at school if he or she is ever bullied or ever witness an
incident of bullying. Tell your child it's okay to stand up to a
bully by saying "STOP" or by simply walking away.
Model how to treat others with respect and
Encourage a child to be involved in activities
he/she enjoys. This will make him/her more confident and boost
What do I do if I think my child is being
Get as much information as you can from your
child: What happened? When? How many times did it happen? Who else
was there? How did your child respond? How does your child feel
about what happened? Is your child worried it will happen again?
Listen. Don't blame.
Try to identify if it was, in fact, bullying.
Don't call it bullying until you've gathered all of the facts.
If you believe your child is being bullied,
contact your child's teacher, school principal/Dignity for All
Students Act Coordinator. These individuals are trained in the DASA
requirements and can help you and your child.
DASA requires every school in New York State
to have a dignity act coordinator. This is someone who is trained to
handle incidents of bullying and harassment in schools and is
another important contact for parents. Contact information for this
person can be found at the top of this page.
What do I do if I think my child is a bully?
Talk to your child about the specific behavior
and why it is wrong. Does your child understand that the behavior is
Calmly tell your child that bullying will not
Ask your child WHY he or she bullied. Try to
understand the reasons and offer solutions.
Use consequences to teach - not humiliate.
Call your child's teacher, principal, social
worker, guidance counselor to talk about what happened and
strategies for moving forward.
Continue to talk to your child about positive
behavior and how his or her behavior impacts others.
For more information about DASA in your
child's school, contact the building's Dignity Act Coordinator.
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