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    DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS

    All students have the right to go a school that is safe, welcoming, considering and caring

     

    Dignity for All Act – states all students deserve a safe and supportive environment to learn.  Students are not allowed to tease, put down, push, shove, kick, call names or be mean to others:

     

    If they are big or small

    If they are short or tall

    If they go to a different church

    If they celebrate different holidays

    If they are a boy or a girl

    If they have a different skin color

    If they talk different

    If they are quite or talk a lot

    If they wear different clothing

    If they come from a different place

    If they have trouble learning or really smart

    If they have trouble hearing, seeing, or moving around

    Or for any other reason

     

    To have a safe school environment we all need to work together and we all have important responsibilities to make our school a great place to learn.

     

    The biggest characteristic that needs to be lived by those of us at Newfane Elementary School is that of dignity…for ourselves and towards others.  On July 1st, 2012 the Dignity for All Students Act went into effect across our state.  The Act is designed to make sure that all students feel safe with school and at school functions. 

     

    Here are the basics on what the act means:

     

    Goal of the Act—create a safe and supportive school climate where students can learn and focus, rather than being discriminated against or harassed (bothered) with words or actions by other students or school personnel. 

    Who is protected—All students in public schools in NYS are protected.

    What does it prohibit—The Dignity Act prohibits harassment and discrimination of students by other students and school personnel.

    Where does it apply—To any behavior on school property, in school buildings, on school transportation and any school sponsored activity.

     

    So what does this mean to us? 

    We need to be much more careful about how we talk, text, post and behave around each other.  We need to realize that treating others poorly has a huge impact on the lives of those targeted, and we have no right to take away any student’s right to be free from discrimination or harassment.  Some key thoughts follow:

     

    Tolerance—we must accept differences among other people

    Sensitivity—we must understand that our words and actions can offend and hurt others

    Respect for others—we must always show that all students have the right to learn and feel welcome at school

     

    What follows is a list that might help us understand that showing dignity means treating people with all sorts of different characteristics with respect.  We’ve known this before, but now it is a New York State law that we must never treat students badly because of any of the following:

           

    Race

    Color

    Weight

    National Origin

    Ethnic Group

    Disability

    Gender

    Sex

    Sexual Orientation

    Religion

    Religious

    Practice

     

     

    The Challenge

    Basically, this act is long way of getting to the idea expressed most simply in The Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated.  Don’t make fun of someone for how they look.  Ever.   Don’t treat another student badly because of the color of their skin.  Or where they came from.  Or their religion.  Don’t pick on anyone for the score they got on a test, or how good or bad they are in gym.  Don’t use words that define someone based on who you think they like.  Ever.  Never use physical actions or words to make others feel badly about themselves or takes away their freedom to learn in our school.  Ever. 

     

    What to do

    If you or someone you know is being discriminated against or harassed, take action.  Talk to someone.  At school, you can talk to any of our staff members, including:

     

    Mrs. Jenna Arroyo, Dignity Act Coordinator – 778-6376

    Mrs. Kimberly Sorrentino, School Counselor& Psychology – 778-6392

    Mrs. Christine Kelahan, Head Teacher – 778-6888 ext. 2131