Every day kids across America are bullied because they are different. For some students a school day is filled with a constant barrage of "Fat-ass," "Bitch," "Faggot!" After years of waiting for the Senate, one new piece of legislation hopes to combat this bias-biased bullying.
Dignity for All Students Act, (DASA) "creates tools for school administrators, teachers, parents and students to address bullying and bias-related behavior of all kinds that interfere with student safety and learning," according to a press release from Empire State Pride Agenda.
"Key provisions include: developing rules to prevent and respond to discriminatory harassment and hate violence; establishing teacher, staff and administrative training guidelines; incorporating discrimination awareness into civility and character education curricula; and, required reporting of incidents of bias harassment to the State Education Department."
DASA was passed by the assembly for the ninth time in May, and the bill received a bipartisan vote in the Senate of 58-3 late Tuesday night, June 23. It is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Paterson later this week, making it the first piece of New York State legislation to include protections for real or perceived gender expression and identity.
The bill also includes protection for race, color, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, weight, disability, sexual orientation and gender.
According to a 2007 nationwide survey conducted by GLSEN 86.2% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 44.1% reported being physically harassed and 22.1% reported being physically assaulted at school because of their sexual orientation. Hopefully DASA will drastically decrease these numbers. No student should feel unsafe while they are trying to learn.