senate Bill S1987B

Signed By Governor
2009-2010 Legislative Session

Enacts the "dignity for all students act" to prevent harassment and discrimination

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Archive: Last Bill Status Via A3661 - Signed by Governor


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed by Governor

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Sep 13, 2010 approval memo.22
signed chap.482
Sep 07, 2010 delivered to governor
Jun 22, 2010 returned to assembly
passed senate
motion to amend lost
3rd reading cal.1070
substituted for s1987b
Jun 22, 2010 substituted by a3661c
ordered to third reading cal.1070
committee discharged and committed to rules
May 18, 2010 reported and committed to finance
Apr 30, 2010 notice of committee consideration - requested
Mar 11, 2010 print number 1987b
amend and recommit to education
Jan 06, 2010 referred to education
Mar 16, 2009 print number 1987a
amend and recommit to education
Feb 10, 2009 referred to education

Votes

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Jun 22, 2010 - Rules committee Vote

S1987B
14
4
committee
14
Aye
4
Nay
5
Aye with Reservations
0
Absent
0
Excused
0
Abstained
show Rules committee vote details

May 18, 2010 - Education committee Vote

S1987B
9
3
committee
9
Aye
3
Nay
4
Aye with Reservations
2
Absent
1
Excused
0
Abstained
show Education committee vote details

Education Committee Vote: May 18, 2010

absent (2)
excused (1)

Bill Amendments

Original
A
B (Active)
Original
A
B (Active)

S1987 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A3661C
Law Section:
Education Law
Laws Affected:
Add Art 2 §§10 - 18, amd §§801-a & 2801, Ed L

S1987 - Bill Texts

view summary

Enacts the "Dignity For All Students Act"; authorizes the commissioner of education to establish policies and procedures affording all students in public schools an environment free of harassment and discrimination; requires reporting harassment and discrimination to such commission; makes exemptions.

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER: S1987

TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the education law, in relation to enacting the dignity
for all students act


PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL :
The purpose of this bill is to afford all persons in public schools an
environment free of harassment and discrimination based on actual or
perceived race, weight, national origin,- ethnic group, religion,
disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS :

Section one of the bill establishes its short title, the dignity for
all students act.

Section 2 of the bill amends the Education Law by adding a new article
2 entitled "Dignity for all Students." New article 2 sets forth the
legislative intent in section 10, and sets forth definitions in
section 11, The definition of "harassment" in section 11(7) was
carefully drafted to ensure that this legislation protects children
against harassment in a manner that is consistent with the First
Amendment protections of speech and expression. Harassment is defined
as "creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by verbal threats,
intimidation or abuse". That content-neutral definition is followed by
a non-exclusive list of protected classes whose members are often the
targets of the type of harassment the bill seeks to prevent. The
purpose of listing these protected classes is to provide examples of
the types of status-based harassment frequently encountered by
students without in any way limiting the application of the definition
to individuals in those classes.

In order to constitute harassment, as defined in this bill, the
proscribed conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse must be such
that it "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;...". This additional requirement adds an objective
reasonableness standard and, consistent with First Amendment case law,
provides that the interference must be substantial; creation of
substantial interference with educational performance, etc. means that
the conduct or verbal behavior must be of a sufficient severity or
pervasiveness to rise to that level.

Section 12 prohibits discrimination and harassment against, students,
administrators and staff in public schools on the basis of actual or
perceived race, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion,
mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex in
any activity occurring on school grounds and any activity conducted by
the educational institution or its agents. The amendments to new
section 12 in the A~print are intended to clarify that the Dignity for
All Students Act is not intended to contravene or override existing
provisions of law, including but not limited to the Education
Commissioner's regulations, regarding single gender schools and
athletic teams.

Sections 13 and 14 of new article 2 respectively provide for the
policies and guidelines to be established by school districts, and the
State Education Commissioner's responsibilities. This part of the bill
requires school districts to develop procedures which create a school
environment free of discrimination and harassment and to establish
guidelines for training school personnel. School districts must also
establish guidelines for development of nondiscriminatory
instructional and counseling methods and require that at least one
member of each school's staff be trained to handle human relations in
the areas in which discrimination and harassment are prohibited. The
Commissioner of Education is to provide advice, which may include
model policies, and direct services, to the extent possible, to help
districts prevent discrimination and harassment. The commissioner will
also provide grants, from funds appropriated for such purpose, to
local school districts to assist them in implementing the guidelines
provided for by the bill.

Section 15 of new Education Law article 2 requires the commissioner to
create a procedure whereby material incidents of discrimination and
harassment on school grounds or at school functions are reported to
the State Education Department at least annually. The amendments in
the A-print clarify that the commissioner may use the existing UVIR
(uniform violent incident reporting) system for this purpose; however,
the UVIR system will have to be adapted so that it will include
information about the specific nature of the incident, i.e., the type
or types of bias involved in a reported incident of harassment or
discrimination, including the possibility that multiple types of bias
could be involved in a single incident and all of the types of bias
involved should be reported.

Sections 16, 17 and 18 of new Education Law article 2 respectively
provide for protection of people who report incidents of
discrimination or harassment, applicability with respect to certain
institutions and other laws, and severability and construction.

Section 3 of the bill amends section 801-a of the education law by
requiring sensitivity to the harassment or discrimination prohibited
by section 2 of this bill to be incorporated into the civility and
character training currently required by section 801-a of the
education law.

Section 4 of the bill amends section 2801 of the education law by
adding a new paragraph n. Section 5 of the bill provides that the bill
will take effect 120 days after enactment.

JUSTIFICATION :
All students need a safe, welcoming and affirming environment in
school in order to concentrate on their academic and personal growth.
They should never have to be preoccupied by the threat or actual
occurrence of harassment or discrimination, be it verbal or physical,
either from school employees or fellow students. The Dignity for All
Students Act promotes civility among students and between students and
teachers. It will also help create an atmosphere where learning is
paramount and distractions to learning are minimized.

Moreover, the Act provides a response to the large numbers of harassed
and stigmatized students skipping school and engaging in high risk
behaviors like drug use, alcohol abuse, and perhaps even suicide. No
child or teen should ever be pushed to such extremes because of an
intolerable environment in his or her school. By prohibiting
harassment in public schools and establishing the procedures called
for by the bill, the "Dignity for All students Act" takes a major step
in creating more nurturing environments in all our schools.

The continuing need for this legislation is apparent from recent data
demonstrating the prevalence of bias-based harassment in New York
schools. A survey commissioned by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight
Education Network (GLSEN) found that more than one-third (39%) of New
York students reported that bullying, name-calling, and harassment is
a serious problem in school. Students were asked about the frequency
of witnessing other students bullied, called names, or harassed in
school. From Teasing to Torment: A Report on School Climate in New
York (GLSEN 2005), at p. 8. The most commonly reported harassment was
based on physical appearance. Sixty-six percent (66%) of students
reported that people at school were harassed at least sometimes
because of their looks or body size, with 38% reporting that this
happened often or very often. Id. Bullying and harassment based on
how a person expressed their gender, or because of their actual or
perceived sexual orientation was also very common. Fifty seven percent
of respondents reported that students were bullied or harassed at
least sometimes because of the way they expressed their gender, and
about a quarter (23%) said these behaviors occurred often or very
often. Id. More than five out of ten (52%) reported that students were
harassed because they were or were perceived to be lesbian, gay, or
bisexual, id., even as only 5% identified as being so. Id. at 2. About
a quarter (24%) said these behaviors occurred often or very often. Id.
at 8.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
A3496-A/S.1571 (passed Assembly 2007 and 2008); A.9491/S.1454 (2006),
passed Assembly; A.4963/S.1454 (2005), passed Assembly; A.1118/S.1925
(2003-04) passed Assembly 2003 and 2004; A.2634-A/S.1628-A (2001-02)
passed Assembly 2002; A.9244-A/S.5775-A (2000)

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
Minimal.

EFFECTIVE DATE :
This act shall take effect 120 days after enactment.
view full text
The Bill text is not available.

S1987A - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A3661C
Law Section:
Education Law
Laws Affected:
Add Art 2 §§10 - 18, amd §§801-a & 2801, Ed L

S1987A - Bill Texts

view summary

Enacts the "Dignity For All Students Act"; authorizes the commissioner of education to establish policies and procedures affording all students in public schools an environment free of harassment and discrimination; requires reporting harassment and discrimination to such commission; makes exemptions.

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER: S1987A


PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL :
The purpose of this bill is to afford all students an environment free
of any harassment that substantially interferes with their education,
regardless of the basis of the harassment, and free of discrimination
based on actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin,
ethnic group, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or
sex.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS :
Section one of the bill establishes its short title, the Dignity for
all Students Act.

Section 2 of the bill amends the Education Law by adding a new article
2 entitled "Dignity for all Students." New article 2 sets forth the
legislative intent in section 10, and sets forth definitions in
section 11. The definition of "harassment" in section 11 (7) was
carefully drafted to ensure that this legislation protects children
against harassment in a manner that is consistent with the First
Amendment protections of speech and expression. See Tinker v. Des
Moines School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969) and its progeny. In
addition, by moving the list of protected classes to the end of the
definition, and by adding the phrase "not limited to" at the beginning
of the list, the amendment made in the B-print explicitly establishes,
in the bill text itself, that the list is non-exclusive and that the
definition is content neutral.

Harassment is defined as "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;...". Education Law §11(7), as
proposed in this bill. The definition includes an objective
reasonableness standard and, consistent with Tinker and the cases
decided after Tinker, it also provides that speech (e.g., the verbal
threats included in the definition) becomes harassment only when it
does, or foreseeably would, substantially interfere with a student's
education. It is also the legislative intent that, consistent with the
hostile environment case law developed in the employment context,
conduct or verbal behavior must be severe or pervasive in order to
substantially interfere with educational performance, opportunities,
etc. and to therefore be harassment under this definition, This
content-neutral definition is followed by a non-exclusive list of
protected classes whose members are often the targets of the type of
harassment the bill seeks to prevent. The purpose of listing these
protected classes is to provide examples of the types of status-based
harassment frequently encountered by students without in any way
limiting the application of the definition to individuals in those
classes.

Section 12 prohibits harassment, as defined in section 11(7) and
discussed above, and it also prohibits discrimination on the basis of
actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic
group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation,
gender, or sex in any activity occurring on school grounds or at a
school function. New section 12 includes language intended to make
clear that the Dignity for All Students Act does not contravene or
override existing provisions of law, including but not limited to the
Education Commissioner's regulations, regarding single gender schools
and athletic teams.

Sections 13 and 14 of new article 2 respectively provide for the
policies and guidelines to be established by school districts, and the
State Education Commissioner's responsibilities. This part of the bill
requires school districts to develop procedures which create a school
environment free of discrimination and harassment and to establish
guidelines for training school personnel. School districts must also
establish guidelines for development of nondiscriminatory
instructional and counseling methods and require that at least one
member of each school's staff be trained to handle human relations in
the areas in which discrimination and harassment are prohibited. The
Commissioner of Education is to provide advice, which may include
model policies, and direct services, to the extent possible, to help
districts prevent discrimination and harassment. The commissioner will
also provide grants, from funds appropriated for such purpose, to
local school districts to assist them in implementing the guidelines
provided for by the bill.

Section 15 of new Education Law article 2 requires the commissioner to
create a procedure whereby material incidents of discrimination and
harassment on school grounds or at school functions are reported to
the State Education Department at least annually. The commissioner may
use the existing UVIR (uniform violent incident reporting) system for
this purpose; however, it is the legislative intent that the UVIR
system will be adapted to include information about the specific
nature of the incident, i.e., the type or types of bias involved in a
reported incident of harassment or discrimination, including the
possibility that multiple types of bias could be involved in a single
incident, and all of the types of bias involved should be reported.

Section 16 of new Education Law article 2 provides protection for
people who report incidents of discrimination or harassment. Section
17 provides for applicability of the new article with respect to
certain institutions and other laws, and section 18 provides for
severability and construction.

Section 3 of the bill amends section 801-a of the education law by
requiring sensitivity to the harassment or discrimination prohibited
by section 2 of this bill to be incorporated into the civility and
character training currently required by section 801-a of the
education law.

Section 4 of the bill amends section 2801 of the education law by
adding a new paragraph n. Section 5 of the bill provides that the bill
will take effect 120 days after enactment.

The B-print revises the harassment definition by moving the
non-exclusive list of protected classes from the middle of the
definition to the end of the definition, and by adding the phrase "not
limited to" at the beginning of the list. This change clarifies the
consistently expressed legislative intent that the list is
non-exclusive and that the definition is content neutral. The B-print
also makes a conforming change in proposed new Education Law § 10, by
removing the list of protected classes and simply stating the broad
legislative intent to provide a school environment free of
discrimination and harassment. There are no other changes in the
B-print.

JUSTIFICATION :
In deciding First Amendment cases in school settings, courts have
recognized "the special need to maintain a safe, secure and effective
learning environment," Harper v. Poway Unified School, 445 F .3d 1166
at 1176 (9th Cir. 2006), citing Tinker v. Des Moines School District,
393 U.S. 503 (1969). Students need such a safe, welcoming and
supportive school environment so that they can concentrate on their
academic and personal growth, and they should never have to be
preoccupied by the threat or actual occurrence of harassment or
discrimination at school. The Dignity for All Students Act promotes
civility among students and between students and teachers. It will

also help create an atmosphere where learning is paramount and
distractions to learning are minimized.

Moreover, the Act provides a response to the large numbers of harassed
and stigmatized students skipping school and engaging in high risk
behaviors like drug use, alcohol abuse, and perhaps even suicide. No
child or teen should ever be pushed to such extremes because of an
intolerable environment in his or her school. Scholarly literature and
common sense establish that harassment and intimidation interfere with
students' ability to learn. By prohibiting harassment in public
schools and establishing the basis for proactive measures such as
training and model policies, the "Dignity for All Students Act" takes
a major step in creating more nurturing environments in all our
schools.

A 2008 review of existing literature, that also analyzed 1993-94 data
from a large urban school district, noted that bullying victimization
is estimated to affect 15-20% of the U.S. student population. The
authors defined bullying to include threats, intimidation and other
conduct, and concluded it was the most common form of "low level"
school violence. Meyer-Adams, N. & Conner, B.T., "School violence:
Bullying behavior and the Psychosocial School Environment in Middle
Schools," Children & Schools, Vol. 30, No.4 (October 2008). The
negative effects of bullying include increased truancy and dropout
rates as well as negative psychosocial effects such as depression,
etc. Id. at p. 212. Verbal teasing and intimidation are the most
common form of bullying. Dupper, D.R. & Meyer-Adams, N., "Low-level
violence: A neglected aspect of school culture," Urban Education, Vol.
37, No.3 at p. 351 (2002). A 1992 study found that 88% of secondary
school students reported having observed bullying and 76.8% stated
they had been victims. Id. In addition to the negative effects
discussed above, bullying victims' grades may suffer and even "good
kids" may be pushed into starting fights. Id. at 352. There is also
harm to those who witness peer harassment. lQ.

The continuing need for this legislation is apparent from recent data
demonstrating the prevalence of bias-based harassment in New York
schools. A survey commissioned by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight
Education Network (GLSEN) found that more than one-third (39%) of New
York students reported that bullying, name·calling, and harassment is
a serious problem in school. Students were asked about the frequency
of witnessing other students bullied, called names, or harassed in
school. From Teasing to Torment: A Report on School Climate in New
York (GLSEN 2005), at p. 8. The most commonly reported harassment was
based on physical appearance. Sixty-six percent (66%) of students
reported that people at school were harassed at least sometimes
because of their looks or body size, with 38% reporting that this
happened often or very often. lQ. This bill therefore now includes
weight as one of the examples contained in the non-exclusive list at
the end of the harassment definition. Bullying and harassment based
on how people expressed their gender, or because of their actual or
perceived sexual orientation was also very common. Fifty seven percent
of respondents reported that students were bullied or harassed at
least sometimes because of the way they expressed their gender, and
about a quarter (23%) said these behaviors occurred often or very
often. Id. More than five out of ten (52%) reported that students were
harassed because they were or were perceived to be lesbian, gay, or
bisexual, id., even as only 5% identified as being so.Id. at 2. About
a quarter (24%) said these behaviors occurred often or very often. Id.
at 8.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
A.3496-A/S.1571 (passed Assembly 2007 and 2008); A.9491/S.1454 (passed
Assembly 2006); A.4963/S.1454 (passed Assembly 2005); A. 1118/S.1925
(2003-04) passed Assembly 2003 and 2004; A.2634-A /S.1628-A (2001-02)
passed Assembly 2002; A.9244A/S.5775-A (2000).
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
Minimal.

EFFECTIVE DATE :
This act shall take effect 120 days after enactment.
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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                 1987--A

                       2009-2010 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            February 10, 2009
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. DUANE, HASSELL-THOMPSON, C. JOHNSON, KRUEGER, MONT-
  GOMERY, OPPENHEIMER, PERKINS, SAVINO, SCHNEIDERMAN, SQUADRON  --  read
  twice  and  ordered  printed,  and when printed to be committed to the
  Committee on Education -- committee discharged, bill amended,  ordered
  reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee

AN  ACT  to amend the education law, in relation to enacting the dignity
  for all students act

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.   Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as
the "dignity for all students act".
  S 2. The education law is amended by adding a new article 2 to read as
follows:
                                ARTICLE 2
                        DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS
SECTION 10. LEGISLATIVE INTENT.
        11. DEFINITIONS.
        12. DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT PROHIBITED.
        13. POLICIES AND GUIDELINES.
        14. COMMISSIONER'S RESPONSIBILITIES.
        15. REPORTING BY COMMISSIONER.
        16. PROTECTION OF PEOPLE WHO REPORT  DISCRIMINATION  OR  HARASS-
              MENT.
        17. APPLICATION.
        18. SEVERABILITY AND CONSTRUCTION.
  S 10. LEGISLATIVE INTENT. THE LEGISLATURE FINDS THAT STUDENTS' ABILITY
TO  LEARN AND TO MEET HIGH ACADEMIC STANDARDS, AND A SCHOOL'S ABILITY TO
EDUCATE ITS STUDENTS, ARE COMPROMISED BY INCIDENTS OF DISCRIMINATION  OR
HARASSMENT  INCLUDING  BULLYING,  TAUNTING OR INTIMIDATION. IT IS HEREBY
DECLARED TO BE THE POLICY OF THE STATE TO AFFORD ALL STUDENTS IN  PUBLIC
SCHOOLS  AN  ENVIRONMENT  FREE  OF  DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT.   THE

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD01245-08-9

S. 1987--A                          2

PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE IS TO FOSTER CIVILITY IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS  AND  TO
PREVENT  AND  PROHIBIT  CONDUCT  WHICH  IS  INCONSISTENT WITH A SCHOOL'S
EDUCATIONAL MISSION.
  S  11.  DEFINITIONS.  FOR  THE PURPOSES OF THIS ARTICLE, THE FOLLOWING
TERMS SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING MEANINGS:
  1. "SCHOOL PROPERTY" SHALL MEAN IN OR WITHIN ANY BUILDING,  STRUCTURE,
ATHLETIC PLAYING FIELD, PLAYGROUND, PARKING LOT, OR LAND CONTAINED WITH-
IN  THE  REAL PROPERTY BOUNDARY LINE OF A PUBLIC ELEMENTARY OR SECONDARY
SCHOOL; OR IN OR ON A SCHOOL BUS, AS  DEFINED  IN  SECTION  ONE  HUNDRED
FORTY-TWO OF THE VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW.
  2.  "SCHOOL  FUNCTION"  SHALL MEAN A SCHOOL-SPONSORED EXTRA-CURRICULAR
EVENT OR ACTIVITY.
  3. "DISABILITY" SHALL MEAN DISABILITY AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION  TWEN-
TY-ONE OF SECTION TWO HUNDRED NINETY-TWO OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW.
  4.  "EMPLOYEE"  SHALL MEAN EMPLOYEE AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION THREE OF
SECTION ELEVEN HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE OF THIS TITLE.
  5. "SEXUAL ORIENTATION" SHALL MEAN ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED  HETEROSEXUALI-
TY, HOMOSEXUALITY OR BISEXUALITY.
  6.  "GENDER"  SHALL  MEAN  ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED SEX AND SHALL INCLUDE A
PERSON'S GENDER IDENTITY OR EXPRESSION.
  7. "HARASSMENT" SHALL MEAN 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, INTIM-
IDATION OR ABUSE THAT REASONABLY CAUSES OR WOULD REASONABLY BE  EXPECTED
TO CAUSE A STUDENT TO FEAR FOR HIS OR HER PHYSICAL SAFETY; SUCH CONDUCT,
VERBAL  THREATS,  INTIMIDATION  OR  ABUSE INCLUDES BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO
CONDUCT, VERBAL THREATS, INTIMIDATION OR ABUSE BASED ON A PERSON'S ACTU-
AL OR PERCEIVED RACE, COLOR,  WEIGHT,  NATIONAL  ORIGIN,  ETHNIC  GROUP,
RELIGION,  RELIGIOUS PRACTICE, DISABILITY, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER OR
SEX.
  S 12. DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT PROHIBITED.  1. NO  STUDENT  SHALL
BE  SUBJECTED  TO HARASSMENT BY EMPLOYEES OR STUDENTS ON SCHOOL PROPERTY
OR AT A SCHOOL FUNCTION; NOR SHALL ANY STUDENT BE SUBJECTED TO DISCRIMI-
NATION BASED ON A PERSON'S 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 OR AT A SCHOOL FUNCTION.   NOTHING IN  THIS  SUBDIVISION
SHALL  BE CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT A DENIAL OF ADMISSION INTO, OR EXCLUSION
FROM, A COURSE OF INSTRUCTION BASED ON A PERSON'S GENDER THAT  WOULD  BE
PERMISSIBLE  UNDER  SECTION THIRTY-TWO HUNDRED ONE-A OR PARAGRAPH (A) OF
SUBDIVISION TWO OF SECTION TWENTY-EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTY-FOUR OF THIS CHAP-
TER AND TITLE IX OF THE EDUCATION AMENDMENTS OF 1972 (20 U.S.C.  SECTION
1681,  ET. SEQ.), OR TO PROHIBIT, AS DISCRIMINATION BASED ON DISABILITY,
ACTIONS THAT WOULD BE PERMISSIBLE UNDER SECTION  504  OF  THE  REHABILI-
TATION ACT OF 1973.
  2.  AN  AGE-APPROPRIATE  VERSION OF THE POLICY OUTLINED IN SUBDIVISION
ONE OF THIS SECTION, WRITTEN IN PLAIN-LANGUAGE, SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE
CODE OF CONDUCT ADOPTED BY BOARDS OF EDUCATION AND THE TRUSTEES OR  SOLE
TRUSTEE PURSUANT TO SECTION TWENTY-EIGHT HUNDRED ONE OF THIS CHAPTER AND
A  SUMMARY OF SUCH POLICY SHALL BE INCLUDED IN ANY SUMMARIES REQUIRED BY
SUCH SECTION TWENTY-EIGHT HUNDRED ONE.
  S 13. POLICIES AND GUIDELINES.  THE BOARD OF EDUCATION AND  THE  TRUS-
TEES  OR SOLE TRUSTEE OF EVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT SHALL CREATE POLICIES AND
GUIDELINES THAT SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO:

S. 1987--A                          3

  1. POLICIES INTENDED TO CREATE A SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT THAT IS FREE  FROM
DISCRIMINATION OR HARASSMENT;
  2. GUIDELINES TO BE USED IN SCHOOL TRAINING PROGRAMS TO DISCOURAGE THE
DEVELOPMENT OF DISCRIMINATION OR HARASSMENT AND THAT ARE DESIGNED:
  A.    TO  RAISE  THE  AWARENESS AND SENSITIVITY OF SCHOOL EMPLOYEES TO
POTENTIAL DISCRIMINATION OR HARASSMENT, AND
  B. TO ENABLE EMPLOYEES TO PREVENT AND  RESPOND  TO  DISCRIMINATION  OR
HARASSMENT; AND
  3.   GUIDELINES  RELATING  TO  THE  DEVELOPMENT  OF  NONDISCRIMINATORY
INSTRUCTIONAL AND COUNSELING METHODS, AND REQUIRING THAT  AT  LEAST  ONE
STAFF  MEMBER  AT  EVERY  SCHOOL  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, AND SEX.
  S 14. COMMISSIONER'S RESPONSIBILITIES. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL:
  1. PROVIDE DIRECTION, WHICH MAY INCLUDE DEVELOPMENT OF MODEL  POLICIES
AND,  TO  THE  EXTENT  POSSIBLE,  DIRECT  SERVICES,  TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS
RELATED TO PREVENTING DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT AND TO FOSTERING  AN
ENVIRONMENT  IN  EVERY  SCHOOL  WHERE  ALL  CHILDREN  CAN  LEARN FREE OF
MANIFESTATIONS OF BIAS;
  2. PROVIDE GRANTS, FROM FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR SUCH PURPOSE, TO  LOCAL
SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO ASSIST THEM IN IMPLEMENTING THE GUIDELINES SET FORTH
IN THIS SECTION; AND
  3.  PROMULGATE  REGULATIONS TO ASSIST SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN IMPLEMENTING
THIS ARTICLE INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, REGULATIONS TO ASSIST SCHOOL
DISTRICTS  IN  DEVELOPING  MEASURED,   BALANCED,   AND   AGE-APPROPRIATE
RESPONSES  TO  VIOLATIONS  OF  THIS POLICY, WITH REMEDIES AND PROCEDURES
FOCUSING ON INTERVENTION AND EDUCATION.
  S 15. REPORTING BY  COMMISSIONER.  THE  COMMISSIONER  SHALL  CREATE  A
PROCEDURE  UNDER  WHICH MATERIAL INCIDENTS OF DISCRIMINATION AND HARASS-
MENT ON SCHOOL GROUNDS OR AT A  SCHOOL  FUNCTION  ARE  REPORTED  TO  THE
DEPARTMENT  AT  LEAST  ON AN ANNUAL BASIS.  SUCH PROCEDURE SHALL PROVIDE
THAT SUCH REPORTS SHALL, WHEREVER POSSIBLE, ALSO DELINEATE THE  SPECIFIC
NATURE  OF SUCH INCIDENTS OF DISCRIMINATION OR HARASSMENT, PROVIDED THAT
THE COMMISSIONER MAY  COMPLY  WITH  THE  REQUIREMENTS  OF  THIS  SECTION
THROUGH  USE  OF THE EXISTING UNIFORM VIOLENT INCIDENT REPORTING SYSTEM.
IN ADDITION THE DEPARTMENT MAY CONDUCT RESEARCH OR UNDERTAKE STUDIES  TO
DETERMINE  COMPLIANCE  THROUGHOUT  THE STATE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS
ARTICLE.
  S 16. PROTECTION OF PEOPLE WHO REPORT  DISCRIMINATION  OR  HARASSMENT.
ANY  PERSON  HAVING  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, ACTING REASONABLY AND IN
GOOD FAITH, EITHER REPORTS SUCH INFORMATION TO SCHOOL OFFICIALS, TO  THE
COMMISSIONER,  OR TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES OR OTHERWISE INITIATES,
TESTIFIES, PARTICIPATES OR ASSISTS IN ANY FORMAL OR INFORMAL PROCEEDINGS
UNDER THIS ARTICLE, SHALL HAVE IMMUNITY FROM ANY  CIVIL  LIABILITY  THAT
MAY ARISE FROM THE MAKING OF SUCH REPORT OR FROM INITIATING, TESTIFYING,
PARTICIPATING  OR  ASSISTING IN SUCH FORMAL OR INFORMAL PROCEEDINGS, AND
NO SCHOOL DISTRICT OR EMPLOYEE SHALL TAKE, REQUEST OR CAUSE A RETALIATO-
RY ACTION AGAINST ANY SUCH PERSON WHO, ACTING  REASONABLY  AND  IN  GOOD
FAITH,  EITHER MAKES SUCH A REPORT OR INITIATES, TESTIFIES, PARTICIPATES
OR ASSISTS IN SUCH FORMAL OR INFORMAL PROCEEDINGS.
  S 17.  APPLICATION. NOTHING IN THIS ARTICLE SHALL:
  1. APPLY TO PRIVATE, RELIGIOUS OR  DENOMINATIONAL  EDUCATIONAL  INSTI-
TUTIONS; OR

S. 1987--A                          4

  2.  PRECLUDE  OR LIMIT ANY RIGHT OR CAUSE OF ACTION PROVIDED UNDER ANY
LOCAL, STATE OR FEDERAL ORDINANCE, LAW OR REGULATION INCLUDING  BUT  NOT
LIMITED  TO  ANY REMEDIES OR RIGHTS AVAILABLE UNDER THE INDIVIDUALS WITH
DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT, TITLE VII OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS LAW  OF  1964,
SECTION  504  OF  THE  REHABILITATION  ACT OF 1973 OR THE AMERICANS WITH
DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990.
  S 18.  SEVERABILITY AND CONSTRUCTION. THE PROVISIONS OF  THIS  ARTICLE
SHALL  BE SEVERABLE, AND IF ANY COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION DECLARES
ANY PHRASE, CLAUSE, SENTENCE OR PROVISION OF THIS ARTICLE TO BE INVALID,
OR ITS APPLICABILITY TO ANY GOVERNMENT AGENCY, PERSON OR CIRCUMSTANCE IS
DECLARED INVALID, THE REMAINDER OF THIS ARTICLE AND ITS RELEVANT  APPLI-
CABILITY  SHALL NOT BE AFFECTED. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE SHALL BE
LIBERALLY CONSTRUED TO GIVE EFFECT TO THE PURPOSES THEREOF.
  S 3.  Section 801-a of the education law, as added by chapter  181  of
the laws of 2000, is amended to read as follows:
  S 801-a. Instruction in civility, citizenship and character education.
The  regents  shall  ensure  that  the  course  of instruction in grades
kindergarten through twelve includes a component on  civility,  citizen-
ship  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.  The  regents shall determine how to
incorporate such component in existing curricula  and  the  commissioner
shall  promulgate any regulations needed to carry out such determination
of the regents.  FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "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.
  S 4. Paragraphs l and m of subdivision 2 of section 2801 of the educa-
tion law, as added by chapter 181 of the laws of 2000, are amended and a
new paragraph n is added to read as follows:
  l. a minimum  suspension  period,  for  students  who  repeatedly  are
substantially  disruptive  of  the  educational process or substantially
interfere with the teacher's authority over the classroom, provided that
the suspending authority may reduce such period on a case by case  basis
to  be  consistent with any other state and federal law. For purposes of
this section, the definition of "repeatedly  are  substantially  disrup-
tive"  shall  be  determined  in  accordance with the regulations of the
commissioner; [and]
  m. a minimum suspension period for acts that would qualify  the  pupil
to  be defined as a violent pupil pursuant to paragraph a of subdivision
two-a of section thirty-two hundred fourteen of this  chapter,  provided
that  the  suspending authority may reduce such period on a case by case
basis to be consistent with any other state and federal law[.]; AND
  N. PROVISIONS TO COMPLY WITH ARTICLE TWO OF THIS CHAPTER.
  S 5. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after
it shall have become a law, except that any rules or regulations  neces-
sary  for  the  timely  implementation of this act on its effective date
shall be promulgated on or before such date.

Co-Sponsors

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S1987B (ACTIVE) - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A3661C
Law Section:
Education Law
Laws Affected:
Add Art 2 §§10 - 18, amd §§801-a & 2801, Ed L

S1987B (ACTIVE) - Bill Texts

view summary

Enacts the "Dignity For All Students Act"; authorizes the commissioner of education to establish policies and procedures affording all students in public schools an environment free of harassment and discrimination; requires reporting harassment and discrimination to such commission; makes exemptions.

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER: S1987B

TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the education law, in relation to enacting the dignity
for all students act


PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL :
The purpose of this bill is to afford all students an environment free
of any harassment that substantially interferes with their education,
regardless of the basis of the harassment, and free of discrimination
based on actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin,
ethnic group, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or
sex.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS :
Section one of the bill establishes its short title, the Dignity for
all Students Act.

Section 2 of the bill amends the Education Law by adding a new article
2 entitled "Dignity for all Students." New article 2 sets forth the
legislative intent in section 10, and sets forth definitions in
section 11. The definition of "harassment" in section 11 (7) was
carefully drafted to ensure that this legislation protects children
against harassment in a manner that is consistent with the First
Amendment protections of speech and expression. See Tinker v. Des
Moines School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969) and its progeny. In
addition, by moving the list of protected classes to the end of the
definition, and by adding the phrase "not limited to" at the beginning
of the list, the amendment made in the. B-print explicitly
establishes, in the bill text itself, that the list is non-exclusive
and that the definition is content neutral.

Harassment is defined as "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;...". Education Law §11(7), as
proposed in this bill. The definition includes an objective
reasonableness standard and, consistent with Tinker and the cases
decided after Tinker, it also provides that speech (e.g., the verbal
threats included in the definition) becomes harassment only when it
does, or foreseeably would, substantially interfere with a student's
education. It is also the legislative intent that, consistent with the
hostile environment case law developed in the employment context,
conduct or verbal behavior must be severe or pervasive in order to
substantially interfere with educational performance, opportunities,
etc. and to therefore be harassment under this definition, This
content-neutral definition is followed by a non-exclusive list of
protected classes whose members are often the targets of the type of
harassment the bill seeks to prevent. The purpose of listing these
protected classes is to provide examples of the types of status-based
harassment frequently encountered by students without in any way
limiting the application of the definition to individuals in those
classes.

Section 12 prohibits harassment, as defined in section 11(7) and
discussed above, and it also prohibits discrimination on the basis of
actual Dr perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic
group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation,
gender, Dr sex in any activity occurring on school grounds Dr at a
school function. New section 12 includes language intended to make
clear that the Dignity for All Students Act does not contravene Dr
override existing provisions of law, including but not limited to the
Education Commissioner's regulations, regarding single gender schools
and athletic teams. Sections 13 and " of new article 2 respectively
provide for the policies and guidelines to be established by school
districts, and the State Education Commissioner's responsibilities.
This part of the bill requires school districts to develop procedures
which create a school environment free of discrimination and
harassment and to establish guidelines for training school personnel.
School districts must also establish guidelines for development of
nondiscriminatory instructional and counseling methods and require
that at least one member of each school's staff be trained to handle
human relations in the areas in which discrimination and harassment
are prohibited. The Commissioner of Education .is to provide advice,
which may include model policies; and direct services, to the extent
Possible, to help districts prevent discrimination and harassment. The
commissioner will also provide grants, from funds appropriated for
such purpose, to local school districts to assist them in implementing
the guidelines provided for by the bill.

Section 15 of new Education Law article 2 requires the commissioner to
create a procedure whereby material incidents of discrimination and
harassment on school grounds or at school functions are reported to
the State Education Department at least annually. The commissioner may
Use the existing UVIR (uniform violent incident reporting) system for
this purpose; however, it is the legislative intent that the UVIR
system will be adapted to include information about the Specific
nature of the incident, i.e., the type Dr types of bias involved in a
reported incident of harassment or discrimination, including the
possibility that multiple types of bias could be involved in a single
incident, and all of the types of bias involved should be reported.

Section 16 of new Education Law article 2 provides protection for
people who report incidents of discrimination or harassment. Section
17 provides for applicability of the new article with respect to
certain institutions and other laws, and section 18 provides for
severability and construction.

Section 3 of the bill amends Section 801-a of the education law by
requiring sensitivity to the harassment or discrimination prohibited
by section 2 of this bill to be incorporated into the civility and
character training currently required by section 801-a of the
education law.

Section 4 of the bill amends section 2801 of the education law by
adding a new paragraph n. Section 5 of the bill provides that the bill
will take effect July 1, 2012.

The B-print revises the harassment definition by moving the non-exclu-
sive list of protected classes from the middle of the definition to
the end of the definition, and by adding the phrase "not limited to"
at the beginning of the list. This change clarifies the consistently
expressed legislative intent that the list is non-exclusive and that
the definition is content neutral. The B-print also makes a conforming
change in proposed new Education Law § 10, by removing the list of
protected classes and simply stating the broad legislative intent to
provide a school environment free of discrimination and harassment.
There are no other changes in the B-print.

JUSTIFICATION :
In deciding First Amendment cases in school settings, courts have
recognized "the special need to maintain a safe, secure and effective
learning environment," Harper v. Poway Unified School, 445 F .3d 1166
at 1176 (9th Cir. 2006), citing Tinker v. Des Moines School District,
393 U.S. 503 (1969). Students need such a safe, welcoming and
supportive school environment so that they can concentrate on their
academic and personal growth, and they should never have to be
preoccupied by the threat or actual occurrence of harassment or
discrimination at school. The Dignity for All Students Act promotes
civility among students and between students and teachers. It will
also help create an atmosphere where learning is paramount and
distractions to learning are minimized.

Moreover, the Act provides a response to the large numbers of harassed
and stigmatized students skipping school and engaging in high risk
behaviors like drug use, alcohol abuse, and perhaps even suicide. No
child or teen should ever be pushed to such extremes because of an
intolerable environment in his or her school. Scholarly literature and
common sense establish that harassment and intimidation interfere with
students' ability to learn. By prohibiting harassment in public
schools and establishing the basis for proactive measures such as
training and model policies, the "Dignity for All Students Act" takes
a major step in creating more nurturing environments in all our
schools.

A 2008 review of existing literature, that also analyzed 1993-94 data
from a large urban school district, noted that bullying victimization
is estimated to affect 15-20% of the U.S. student population. The
authors defined bullying to include threats, intimidation and other
conduct, and concluded it was the most common form of "low level"
school violence. Meyer-Adams, N. & Conner, B.T., "School violence:
Bullying behavior and the Psychosocial School Environment in Middle
Schools," Children & Schools, Vol. 30, No.4 (October 2008). The
negative effects of bullying include increased truancy and dropout
rates as well as negative psychosocial effects such as depression,
etc. Id. at p. 212. Verbal teasing and intimidation are the most
common form of bullying. Dupper, D.R. & Meyer-Adams, N., "Low-level
violence: A neglected aspect of school culture," Urban Education, Vol.
37, No.3 at p. 351 (2002). A 1992 study found that 88% of secondary
school students reported having observed bullying and 76.8% stated
they had been victims. Id. In addition to the negative effects
discussed above, bullying victims' grades may suffer and even "good
kids" may be pushed into starting fights. Id. at 352. There is also
harm to those who witness peer harassment. IQ.

The continuing need for this legislation is apparent from recent data
demonstrating the prevalence of bias-based harassment in New York
schools. A survey commissioned by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight
Education Network (GLSEN) found that more than one-third (39%) of New
York students reported that bullying, name calling, and harassment is
a serious problem in school. Students were asked about the frequency
of witnessing other students bullied, called names, or harassed in
school. From Teasing to Torment: A Report on School Climate in New
York (GLSEN 2005), at p. 8. The most commonly reported harassment was
based on physical appearance. Sixty-six percent (66%) of students
reported that people at school were harassed at least sometimes
because of their looks or body size, with 38% reporting that this
happened often or very often. IQ. This bill therefore now includes
weight as one of the examples contained in the non-exclusive list at
the end of the harassment definition. Bullying and harassment based on
how people expressed their gender, or because of their actual or
perceived sexual orientation was also very common. Fifty seven percent
of respondents reported that students were bullied or harassed at
least sometimes because of the way they expressed their gender, and
about a quarter (23%) said these behaviors occurred often or very
often. Id. More than five out of ten (52%) reported that students were
harassed because they were or were perceived to be lesbian, gay, or
bisexual, id., even as only 5% identified as being so.Id. at 2. About
a quarter (24%) said these behaviors Occurred often or very often. Id.
at 8.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
A.3496-A/S.1571 (passed Assembly 2007 and 2008); A.9491/S.1454 (passed
Assembly 2006); A.4963/S.1454 (passed Assembly 2005); A.1118/S.1925
(2003-04) passed Assembly 2003 and 2004; A.2634-A/S.1628-A (2001-02)
passed Assembly 2002; A.9244-A/S.5775-A (2000).
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
Minimal.

EFFECTIVE DATE :
This act shall take effect July 1, 2012.
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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                 1987--B

                       2009-2010 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            February 10, 2009
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. DUANE, ADAMS, BRESLIN, DILAN, FOLEY, HASSELL-THOMP-
  SON, C. JOHNSON, KRUEGER, LITTLE,  MONTGOMERY,  OPPENHEIMER,  PERKINS,
  SAVINO,  SCHNEIDERMAN,  SERRANO,  SQUADRON,  THOMPSON, VALESKY -- read
  twice and ordered printed, and when printed to  be  committed  to  the
  Committee  on Education -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered
  reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee --  recommitted
  to the Committee on Education in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8
  --  committee  discharged,  bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended
  and recommitted to said committee

AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to enacting  the  dignity
  for all students act

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1.  Short title. This act shall be known and may be  cited  as
the "dignity for all students act".
  S 2. The education law is amended by adding a new article 2 to read as
follows:
                                ARTICLE 2
                        DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS
SECTION 10. LEGISLATIVE INTENT.
        11. DEFINITIONS.
        12. DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT PROHIBITED.
        13. POLICIES AND GUIDELINES.
        14. COMMISSIONER'S RESPONSIBILITIES.
        15. REPORTING BY COMMISSIONER.
        16. PROTECTION  OF  PEOPLE  WHO REPORT DISCRIMINATION OR HARASS-
              MENT.
        17. APPLICATION.
        18. SEVERABILITY AND CONSTRUCTION.
  S 10. LEGISLATIVE INTENT. THE LEGISLATURE FINDS THAT STUDENTS' ABILITY
TO LEARN AND TO MEET HIGH ACADEMIC STANDARDS, AND A SCHOOL'S ABILITY  TO

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD01245-12-0

S. 1987--B                          2

EDUCATE  ITS STUDENTS, ARE COMPROMISED BY INCIDENTS OF DISCRIMINATION OR
HARASSMENT INCLUDING BULLYING, TAUNTING OR INTIMIDATION.  IT  IS  HEREBY
DECLARED  TO BE THE POLICY OF THE STATE TO AFFORD ALL STUDENTS IN PUBLIC
SCHOOLS  AN  ENVIRONMENT  FREE  OF  DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT.   THE
PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE IS TO FOSTER CIVILITY IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS  AND  TO
PREVENT  AND  PROHIBIT  CONDUCT  WHICH  IS  INCONSISTENT WITH A SCHOOL'S
EDUCATIONAL MISSION.
  S 11. DEFINITIONS. FOR THE PURPOSES OF  THIS  ARTICLE,  THE  FOLLOWING
TERMS SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING MEANINGS:
  1.  "SCHOOL PROPERTY" SHALL MEAN IN OR WITHIN ANY BUILDING, STRUCTURE,
ATHLETIC PLAYING FIELD, PLAYGROUND, PARKING LOT, OR LAND CONTAINED WITH-
IN THE REAL PROPERTY BOUNDARY LINE OF A PUBLIC ELEMENTARY  OR  SECONDARY
SCHOOL;  OR  IN  OR  ON  A SCHOOL BUS, AS DEFINED IN SECTION ONE HUNDRED
FORTY-TWO OF THE VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW.
  2. "SCHOOL FUNCTION" SHALL MEAN  A  SCHOOL-SPONSORED  EXTRA-CURRICULAR
EVENT OR ACTIVITY.
  3.  "DISABILITY" SHALL MEAN DISABILITY AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION TWEN-
TY-ONE OF SECTION TWO HUNDRED NINETY-TWO OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW.
  4. "EMPLOYEE" SHALL MEAN EMPLOYEE AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION  THREE  OF
SECTION ELEVEN HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE OF THIS TITLE.
  5.  "SEXUAL ORIENTATION" SHALL MEAN ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED HETEROSEXUALI-
TY, HOMOSEXUALITY OR BISEXUALITY.
  6. "GENDER" SHALL MEAN ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED SEX  AND  SHALL  INCLUDE  A
PERSON'S GENDER IDENTITY OR EXPRESSION.
  7.  "HARASSMENT"  SHALL  MEAN 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,  INTIM-
IDATION  OR ABUSE THAT REASONABLY CAUSES OR WOULD REASONABLY BE EXPECTED
TO CAUSE A STUDENT TO FEAR FOR HIS OR HER PHYSICAL SAFETY; SUCH CONDUCT,
VERBAL THREATS, INTIMIDATION OR ABUSE INCLUDES BUT  IS  NOT  LIMITED  TO
CONDUCT, VERBAL THREATS, INTIMIDATION OR ABUSE BASED ON A PERSON'S ACTU-
AL  OR  PERCEIVED  RACE,  COLOR,  WEIGHT, NATIONAL ORIGIN, ETHNIC GROUP,
RELIGION, RELIGIOUS PRACTICE, DISABILITY, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER  OR
SEX.
  S  12.  DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT PROHIBITED.  1. NO STUDENT SHALL
BE SUBJECTED TO HARASSMENT BY EMPLOYEES OR STUDENTS ON  SCHOOL  PROPERTY
OR AT A SCHOOL FUNCTION; NOR SHALL ANY STUDENT BE SUBJECTED TO DISCRIMI-
NATION  BASED  ON  A  PERSON'S  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  OR  AT A SCHOOL FUNCTION.  NOTHING IN THIS SUBDIVISION
SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT A DENIAL OF ADMISSION INTO, OR  EXCLUSION
FROM,  A  COURSE OF INSTRUCTION BASED ON A PERSON'S GENDER THAT WOULD BE
PERMISSIBLE UNDER SECTION THIRTY-TWO HUNDRED ONE-A OR PARAGRAPH  (A)  OF
SUBDIVISION TWO OF SECTION TWENTY-EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTY-FOUR OF THIS CHAP-
TER  AND TITLE IX OF THE EDUCATION AMENDMENTS OF 1972 (20 U.S.C. SECTION
1681, ET. SEQ.), OR TO PROHIBIT, AS DISCRIMINATION BASED ON  DISABILITY,
ACTIONS  THAT  WOULD  BE  PERMISSIBLE UNDER SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILI-
TATION ACT OF 1973.
  2. AN AGE-APPROPRIATE VERSION OF THE POLICY  OUTLINED  IN  SUBDIVISION
ONE OF THIS SECTION, WRITTEN IN PLAIN-LANGUAGE, SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE
CODE  OF CONDUCT ADOPTED BY BOARDS OF EDUCATION AND THE TRUSTEES OR SOLE
TRUSTEE PURSUANT TO SECTION TWENTY-EIGHT HUNDRED ONE OF THIS CHAPTER AND

S. 1987--B                          3

A SUMMARY OF SUCH POLICY SHALL BE INCLUDED IN ANY SUMMARIES REQUIRED  BY
SUCH SECTION TWENTY-EIGHT HUNDRED ONE.
  S  13.  POLICIES AND GUIDELINES.  THE BOARD OF EDUCATION AND THE TRUS-
TEES OR SOLE TRUSTEE OF EVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT SHALL CREATE POLICIES  AND
GUIDELINES THAT SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO:
  1.  POLICIES INTENDED TO CREATE A SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT THAT IS FREE FROM
DISCRIMINATION OR HARASSMENT;
  2. GUIDELINES TO BE USED IN SCHOOL TRAINING PROGRAMS TO DISCOURAGE THE
DEVELOPMENT OF DISCRIMINATION OR HARASSMENT AND THAT ARE DESIGNED:
  A.  TO RAISE THE AWARENESS AND  SENSITIVITY  OF  SCHOOL  EMPLOYEES  TO
POTENTIAL DISCRIMINATION OR HARASSMENT, AND
  B.  TO  ENABLE  EMPLOYEES  TO PREVENT AND RESPOND TO DISCRIMINATION OR
HARASSMENT; AND
  3.  GUIDELINES  RELATING  TO  THE  DEVELOPMENT  OF   NONDISCRIMINATORY
INSTRUCTIONAL  AND  COUNSELING  METHODS, AND REQUIRING THAT AT LEAST ONE
STAFF MEMBER AT EVERY SCHOOL  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, AND SEX.
  S 14. COMMISSIONER'S RESPONSIBILITIES. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL:
  1.  PROVIDE DIRECTION, WHICH MAY INCLUDE DEVELOPMENT OF MODEL POLICIES
AND, TO THE  EXTENT  POSSIBLE,  DIRECT  SERVICES,  TO  SCHOOL  DISTRICTS
RELATED  TO PREVENTING DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT AND TO FOSTERING AN
ENVIRONMENT IN EVERY  SCHOOL  WHERE  ALL  CHILDREN  CAN  LEARN  FREE  OF
MANIFESTATIONS OF BIAS;
  2.  PROVIDE GRANTS, FROM FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR SUCH PURPOSE, TO LOCAL
SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO ASSIST THEM IN IMPLEMENTING THE GUIDELINES SET FORTH
IN THIS SECTION; AND
  3. PROMULGATE REGULATIONS TO ASSIST SCHOOL DISTRICTS  IN  IMPLEMENTING
THIS ARTICLE INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, REGULATIONS TO ASSIST SCHOOL
DISTRICTS   IN   DEVELOPING   MEASURED,  BALANCED,  AND  AGE-APPROPRIATE
RESPONSES TO VIOLATIONS OF THIS POLICY,  WITH  REMEDIES  AND  PROCEDURES
FOCUSING ON INTERVENTION AND EDUCATION.
  S  15.  REPORTING  BY  COMMISSIONER.  THE  COMMISSIONER SHALL CREATE A
PROCEDURE UNDER WHICH MATERIAL INCIDENTS OF DISCRIMINATION  AND  HARASS-
MENT  ON  SCHOOL  GROUNDS  OR  AT  A SCHOOL FUNCTION ARE REPORTED TO THE
DEPARTMENT AT LEAST ON AN ANNUAL BASIS.   SUCH PROCEDURE  SHALL  PROVIDE
THAT  SUCH REPORTS SHALL, WHEREVER POSSIBLE, ALSO DELINEATE THE SPECIFIC
NATURE OF SUCH INCIDENTS OF DISCRIMINATION OR HARASSMENT, PROVIDED  THAT
THE  COMMISSIONER  MAY  COMPLY  WITH  THE  REQUIREMENTS  OF THIS SECTION
THROUGH USE OF THE EXISTING UNIFORM VIOLENT INCIDENT  REPORTING  SYSTEM.
IN  ADDITION THE DEPARTMENT MAY CONDUCT RESEARCH OR UNDERTAKE STUDIES TO
DETERMINE COMPLIANCE THROUGHOUT THE STATE WITH THE  PROVISIONS  OF  THIS
ARTICLE.
  S  16.  PROTECTION  OF PEOPLE WHO REPORT DISCRIMINATION OR HARASSMENT.
ANY PERSON HAVING 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, ACTING  REASONABLY  AND  IN
GOOD  FAITH, EITHER REPORTS SUCH INFORMATION TO SCHOOL OFFICIALS, TO THE
COMMISSIONER, OR TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES OR OTHERWISE  INITIATES,
TESTIFIES, PARTICIPATES OR ASSISTS IN ANY FORMAL OR INFORMAL PROCEEDINGS
UNDER  THIS  ARTICLE,  SHALL HAVE IMMUNITY FROM ANY CIVIL LIABILITY THAT
MAY ARISE FROM THE MAKING OF SUCH REPORT OR FROM INITIATING, TESTIFYING,
PARTICIPATING OR ASSISTING IN SUCH FORMAL OR INFORMAL  PROCEEDINGS,  AND
NO SCHOOL DISTRICT OR EMPLOYEE SHALL TAKE, REQUEST OR CAUSE A RETALIATO-
RY  ACTION  AGAINST  ANY  SUCH PERSON WHO, ACTING REASONABLY AND IN GOOD

S. 1987--B                          4

FAITH, EITHER MAKES SUCH A REPORT OR INITIATES, TESTIFIES,  PARTICIPATES
OR ASSISTS IN SUCH FORMAL OR INFORMAL PROCEEDINGS.
  S 17.  APPLICATION. NOTHING IN THIS ARTICLE SHALL:
  1.  APPLY  TO  PRIVATE, RELIGIOUS OR DENOMINATIONAL EDUCATIONAL INSTI-
TUTIONS; OR
  2. PRECLUDE OR LIMIT ANY RIGHT OR CAUSE OF ACTION PROVIDED  UNDER  ANY
LOCAL,  STATE  OR FEDERAL ORDINANCE, LAW OR REGULATION INCLUDING BUT NOT
LIMITED TO ANY REMEDIES OR RIGHTS AVAILABLE UNDER THE  INDIVIDUALS  WITH
DISABILITIES  EDUCATION  ACT, TITLE VII OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS LAW OF 1964,
SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF  1973  OR  THE  AMERICANS  WITH
DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990.
  S  18.   SEVERABILITY AND CONSTRUCTION. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE
SHALL BE SEVERABLE, AND IF ANY COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION  DECLARES
ANY PHRASE, CLAUSE, SENTENCE OR PROVISION OF THIS ARTICLE TO BE INVALID,
OR ITS APPLICABILITY TO ANY GOVERNMENT AGENCY, PERSON OR CIRCUMSTANCE IS
DECLARED  INVALID, THE REMAINDER OF THIS ARTICLE AND ITS RELEVANT APPLI-
CABILITY SHALL NOT BE AFFECTED. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE SHALL  BE
LIBERALLY CONSTRUED TO GIVE EFFECT TO THE PURPOSES THEREOF.
  S  3.   Section 801-a of the education law, as added by chapter 181 of
the laws of 2000, is amended to read as follows:
  S 801-a. Instruction in civility, citizenship and character education.
The regents shall ensure  that  the  course  of  instruction  in  grades
kindergarten  through  twelve includes a component on civility, citizen-
ship 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. The  regents  shall  determine  how  to
incorporate  such  component  in existing curricula and the commissioner
shall promulgate any regulations needed to carry out such  determination
of the regents.  FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "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.
  S 4. Paragraphs l and m of subdivision 2 of section 2801 of the educa-
tion law, as added by chapter 181 of the laws of 2000, are amended and a
new paragraph n is added to read as follows:
  l.  a  minimum  suspension  period,  for  students  who repeatedly are
substantially disruptive of the  educational  process  or  substantially
interfere with the teacher's authority over the classroom, provided that
the  suspending authority may reduce such period on a case by case basis
to be consistent with any other state and federal law. For  purposes  of
this  section,  the  definition of "repeatedly are substantially disrup-
tive" shall be determined in accordance  with  the  regulations  of  the
commissioner; [and]
  m.  a  minimum suspension period for acts that would qualify the pupil
to be defined as a violent pupil pursuant to paragraph a of  subdivision
two-a  of  section thirty-two hundred fourteen of this chapter, provided
that the suspending authority may reduce such period on a case  by  case
basis to be consistent with any other state and federal law[.]; AND
  N. PROVISIONS TO COMPLY WITH ARTICLE TWO OF THIS CHAPTER.
  S 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2012, except that any rules or
regulations  necessary  for the timely implementation of this act on its
effective date shall be promulgated on or before such date.

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