Adoption Date: 7/24/2012, Revised: 8/15/2012; 10/01/2013


The Board of Education is committed to providing an educational and working environment that promotes respect, dignity, and equality. The Board of Education recognizes that learning environments that are safe and supportive can increase student attendance and improve academic achievement. A student's ability to learn and achieve high academic standards, and a school's ability to educate students, is compromised by incidents of discrimination or harassment, including but not limited to bullying, taunting and intimidation. These behaviors interfere with the mission of the District to educate its students and disrupt the operation of the schools. Such behavior affects not only the students who are its targets, but also those individuals who participate in and witness such acts. Therefore, in accordance with the Dignity for All Students Act, Education Law, Article 2, the District will strive to create an environment free of discrimination and harassment and will foster civility in the schools to prevent and prohibit conduct which is inconsistent with the District's educational mission.

The District condemns and prohibits all forms of discrimination and harassment of students based on actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex by school employees or students on school property and at school-sponsored activities and events that take place at locations off school property. All administrators, faculty, staff, parents/caregivers, families, volunteers, and students are expected to refuse to tolerate harassment, hazing, and bullying and to model behavior that is respectful and civil.

In addition, any act of discrimination or harassment, outside of school sponsored events, which can reasonably be expected to materially and substantially disrupt the educational process may be subject to discipline. Off campus misconduct that endangers the health and safety of students or staff within the school, or can reasonably be expected to impact the educational process is also prohibited and will be addressed by the District. Examples of such misconduct include, but are not limited cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined as the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by threats, intimidation or abuse through any form of electronic communication, that:

(A) has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well-being;

(B) reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety;

(C) reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause physical injury or emotional harm to a students; or

(D)occurs off school property and creates or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment, where it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation, or abuse might reach school property.

Therefore, discrimination, harassment, hazing or bullying that takes place at locations outside of school grounds which can reasonably be expected to materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate conduct and order in the operation of the school or impinge on the rights of other students may be subject to disciplinary consequences.


Discrimination: Discrimination is the act of denying rights, benefits, justice, equitable treatment or access to facilities available to others, to an individual or group of people because of the group, class or category to which that person belongs (as enumerated in the Definitions section under harassment, below).

Bullying: Bullying is any gesture or written, verbal, electronic, social, graphic, or physical act that is perceived as being dehumanizing, intimidating, hostile, humiliating, threatening, or otherwise likely to evoke fear of physical harm or emotional distress and may be motivated by either bias or prejudice based upon any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, religious practice, ancestry, national origin, weight, ethnic group, socio-economic status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression; or a mental, physical, or sensory disability or impairment; or by any other distinguishing characteristic, or is based upon association with another person who has or is perceived to have any distinguishing characteristic. Bullying and harassment also include forms of retaliation against individuals who report or cooperate in an investigation under this policy. Additionally, there are four types of bullying: physical, verbal, psychological, and cyberbullying (refer to the regulations for specific definitions of each type of bullying).

Harassment: Harassment has been defined in various ways in federal and state law (including the penal law) and regulation. The Board recognize that these definitions are important standards, but the Board’s goal is to prevent behaviors from escalating to violations of law and, instead, to promote a positive school environment and limit liability. The Dignity for All Students Act, found at Education Law §§ 10 through 18, defines harassment as the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering 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 harassing behavior may be based on any characteristic, including but not limited to a person’s actual or perceived:

  • race,
  • color,
  • weight,
  • national origin,
  • ethnic group,
  • socio-economic status,
  • religion,
  • religious practice,
  • disability,
  • sex,
  • sexual orientation, or
  • gender (including gender identity and expression).*

* Gender identity is one’s self-conception as being male or female, as distinguished from actual biological sex or sex assigned at birth. Gender expression is the manner in which a person represents or expresses gender to others, often through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, activities, voice or mannerisms.

Hazing: Hazing is an induction, initiation, or membership process involving harassment which produces public humiliation, physical or emotional discomfort, bodily injury or public ridicule or creates a situation where public humiliation, physical or emotional discomfort, bodily injury or public ridicule is likely to occur.

In some instances, bullying, hazing, and harassment may constitute a violation of an individual’s civil rights. The District is mindful of its responsibilities under the law and in accordance with District policy regarding civil rights protections.

Prevention: The school setting provides an opportunity to teach children, and emphasize among staff, that cooperation with and respect for others is a key value. A District-wide effort geared toward prevention is designed to not only avoid incidents of bullying, but to help students build more supportive relationships with one another by integrating the bullying prevention program into classroom instruction. Prevention includes the following:

  • Training of staff
  • A comprehensive school-wide educational component, including character education
  • Appropriate supervision of students
  • Clear and consistent expectations of behavior
  • The use of appropriate interventions when inappropriate or prohibited conduct occurs

Intervention: Intervention by adults and bystanders is an important step in preventing escalation and resolving issues at the earliest stages. Intervention will emphasize education and skill-building.

Successful intervention may involve remediation. Remedial responses to bullying, hazing, and harassment include measures designed to correct the problem behavior, prevent future occurrences of such behavior, and to protect the target of such behavior. Remediation may be targeted to the individual(s) involved in the bullying behavior or may include environmental approaches which are targeted to the building or District as a whole.

In addition, interventions will focus upon the safety of the target. Staff is expected, when aware of bullying, hazing and harassment, to either refer the student to designated resources for assistance or to intervene in accordance with this policy and regulation.

Dignity Act Coordinator

At least one (1) employee at every school shall be designated as the Dignity Act Coordinator(s). The Dignity Act Coordinator(s) will be thoroughly trained to handle human relations in the areas of race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (identity or expression) and sex. The Board of Education shall appoint the Dignity Act Coordinator(s) and share the name(s) and contact information with all school personnel, students, and parents/persons in parental relation.

If a Dignity Act Coordinator vacates his/her position, another school employee shall immediately be designated for an interim appointment as Coordinator, pending approval from the Board of Education, within thirty (30) days of the date the position was vacated. In the event a Coordinator is unable to perform the duties of the position for an extended period of time, another school employee shall immediately be designated for an interim appointment as Coordinator, pending return of the previous Coordinator to the position.


Training will be provided each school year for all District employees in conjunction with existing professional development training to raise staff awareness and sensitivity of harassment and discrimination directed at students that are committed by students or school employees on school property or at a school function. Training will include ways to promote a supportive school environment that is free from discrimination and harassment, emphasize positive relationships, and demonstrate prevention and intervention techniques to assist employees in recognizing and responding to harassment and discrimination, as well as ensuring the safety of the victims.

Instruction in Kindergarten through grade 12 shall include a component on civility, citizenship and character education. Such component shall instruct students on the principles of honesty, tolerance, personal responsibility, respect for others, observance of laws and rules, courtesy, dignity and other traits which will enhance the quality of their experiences in, and contributions to, the community. For the purposes of this policy, "tolerance," "respect for others" and "dignity" shall include awareness and sensitivity to discrimination or harassment and civility in the relations of people of different races, weights, national origins, ethnic groups, religions, religious practices, mental or physical abilities, sexual orientations, genders and sexes.

Rules against discrimination and harassment will be included in the Code of Conduct, publicized District-wide and disseminated to all staff and parents. An age-appropriate summary shall be distributed to all students at a school assembly at the beginning of each school year.

Reports and Investigations of Discrimination and Harassment

Although it can be difficult to come forward when faced with bullying, hazing, or harassment, the District cannot effectively address inappropriate behaviors if incidents are not reported. Students who have been bullied, parents/caregivers whose children have been bullied or other students or staff members who observe bullying behavior are encouraged and expected to make a verbal and/or written complaint to any school personnel in accordance with the guidelines and training provided.

The District will investigate all complaints of harassment and discrimination, either formal or informal, and take prompt corrective measures, as necessary. Complaints will be investigated in accordance with applicable policies and regulations. If, after an appropriate investigation, the District finds that this policy has been violated, corrective action will be taken in accordance with District policies and regulations, the Code of Conduct, and all appropriate federal or state laws.

The District will annually report all verified material incidents of discrimination and harassment to the State Education Department as part of the Uniform Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting System (VADIR).

Disciplinary Consequences and Remediation

While the primary focus of this policy is prevention, acts of bullying, harassment or hazing may still occur and must be addressed. These acts may be student to student, staff to student, or staff to staff interactions. After completing an investigation into acts of bullying, harassment or hazing, appropriate disciplinary action may be taken by the administration in accordance with the District’s Code of Conduct. If the behavior rises to the level of criminal activity, law enforcement will be contacted.

Consequences for a student who commits an act of bullying, harassment, and/or hazing shall be unique to the individual incident and will vary in method and severity according to the nature of the behavior, the developmental age of the student, and the student’s disciplinary history. All discipline meted out will be consistent with the District’s Code of Conduct.

Prohibition of Retaliatory Behavior

All complainants and those who participate in the investigation of a complaint in conformity with state law and district policies, who have acted reasonably and good faith, have the right to be free from retaliation of any kind.

Any person who has reasonable cause to suspect that a student has been subjected to discrimination or harassment by an employee or student, on school grounds or at a school function, who acts reasonably and in good faith and reports such information to school officials or law enforcement authorities, shall have immunity from any civil liability that may arise from making such report. The Board prohibits any retaliatory behavior directed at complainants, victims, witnesses and/or any other individuals who participated in the investigation of a complaint of discrimination or harassment.

Dissemination, Monitoring, Review, and Reporting

The purpose and provisions of this policy will be reflected in the District’s Code of Conduct. The policy itself will be posted on the District’s website. The District has adopted a reporting form that may be used to report any complaints regarding bullying, harassment or hazing under this policy. This form is accessible on the District’s website and will be incorporated in the District’s administrative regulations.

Each year, as part of the annual review of the Code of Conduct, this policy will be reviewed to assess its effectiveness and compliance with state and federal law. If changes are needed, revisions will be recommended to the Board for its consideration and approval.

Each year, the Board will be provided a detailed report of the number of bullying incidents that occur in the District and may consider further action, including but not limited to modification of this policy and additional training for staff regarding the enforcement of this policy. Further, the District will ensure that the reporting of information to the public will be in a manner that complies with student privacy rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).


Dignity for All Students Act, Education Law, §10 – 18

Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101 et seq.

Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000d et seq.

Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000e et seq.; 34 CFR §100 et seq.

Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq.

  • 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794

Individuals with Disabilities Education Law, 20 U.S.C. §§1400 et seq.

Executive Law §290 et seq. (New York State Human Rights Law)

Education Law §§313(3), 3201, 3201-a

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dist., 393 US 503, (1969) Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, 526 U.S. 629 (1999)

Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School District, 524 U.S., 274 (1998)

Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775 (1998)

Burlington Industries v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 742 (1998)

Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc., 523 U.S. 75 (1998)

Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools, 503 U.S. 60 (1992)

Meritor Savings Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57 (1986)

NOTE: Refer also to Policies #1330 -- Appointments and Designations by the Board of Education

#3410 -- Code of Conduct on School Property

#3420 -- Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment in the School District

#3430 -- Uniform Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting System (VADIR)

#7551 -- Sexual Harassment of Students

#7552 -- Bullying in the Schools

#7553 -- Hazing of Students

#8130 -- Equal Educational Opportunities

#8242 -- Civility, Citizenship and Character Education/Interpersonal

Violence Prevention Education

Policy Cross References:
» 3420 - ID BADGES


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