•  Summary 
  •  Actions 
  •  Floor Votes 
  •  Memo 
  •  Text 

A03661 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                                                                Cal. No. 275
                               2009-2010 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    January 28, 2009
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  O'DONNELL,  GLICK,  NOLAN, LIFTON, BENJAMIN,

          Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. ALFANO, BARRA, BING, BRENNAN,  FARRELL,
          BERG,  WRIGHT  -- read once and referred to the Committee on Education
          -- reported and referred  to  the  Committee  on  Codes  --  committee
          discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted
          to  said  committee  --  committee  discharged,  bill amended, ordered
          reprinted as amended and recommitted to  said  committee  --  reported
          from  committee,  advanced  to  a  third  reading, amended and ordered
          reprinted, retaining its place on the order of third reading
        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:
     1    Section 1.  Short title. This act shall be known and may be  cited  as
     2  the "dignity for all students act".
     3    § 2. The education law is amended by adding a new article 2 to read as
     4  follows:
     5                                  ARTICLE 2
     6                          DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS
     7  Section 10. Legislative intent.
     8          11. Definitions.
     9          12. Discrimination and harassment prohibited.
    10          13. Policies and guidelines.
    11          14. Commissioner's responsibilities.
    12          15. Reporting by commissioner.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets

                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 3661--C                          2
     1          16. Protection  of  people  who report discrimination or harass-
     2                ment.
     3          17. Application.
     4          18. Severability and construction.
     5    § 10. Legislative intent. The legislature finds that students' ability
     6  to  learn and to meet high academic standards, and a school's ability to
     7  educate its students, are compromised by incidents of discrimination  or
     8  harassment  including  bullying,  taunting or intimidation. It is hereby
     9  declared to be the policy of the state to afford all students in  public

    10  schools  an  environment  free  of  discrimination and harassment.   The
    11  purpose of this article is to foster civility in public schools  and  to
    12  prevent  and  prohibit  conduct  which  is  inconsistent with a school's
    13  educational mission.
    14    § 11. Definitions. For the purposes of  this  article,  the  following
    15  terms shall have the following meanings:
    16    1.  "School property" shall mean in or within any building, structure,
    17  athletic playing field, playground, parking lot, or land contained with-
    18  in the real property boundary line of a public elementary  or  secondary
    19  school;  or  in  or  on  a school bus, as defined in section one hundred
    20  forty-two of the vehicle and traffic law.

    21    2. "School function" shall mean  a  school-sponsored  extra-curricular
    22  event or activity.
    23    3.  "Disability" shall mean disability as defined in subdivision twen-
    24  ty-one of section two hundred ninety-two of the executive law.
    25    4. "Employee" shall mean employee as defined in subdivision  three  of
    26  section eleven hundred twenty-five of this title.
    27    5.  "Sexual orientation" shall mean actual or perceived heterosexuali-
    28  ty, homosexuality or bisexuality.
    29    6. "Gender" shall mean actual or perceived sex  and  shall  include  a
    30  person's gender identity or expression.
    31    7.  "Harassment"  shall  mean the creation of a hostile environment by
    32  conduct or by verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that  has  or  would

    33  have  the  effect  of  unreasonably and substantially interfering with a
    34  student's educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental,
    35  emotional or physical well-being; or  conduct,  verbal  threats,  intim-
    36  idation  or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected
    37  to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety; such conduct,
    38  verbal threats, intimidation or abuse includes but  is  not  limited  to
    39  conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse based on a person's actu-
    40  al  or  perceived  race,  color,  weight, national origin, ethnic group,
    41  religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender  or
    42  sex.
    43    §  12.  Discrimination and harassment prohibited.  1. No student shall

    44  be subjected to harassment by employees or students on  school  property
    45  or at a school function; nor shall any student be subjected to discrimi-
    46  nation  based  on  a  person's  actual or perceived race, color, weight,
    47  national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability,
    48  sexual orientation, gender, or sex by school employees  or  students  on
    49  school  property  or  at a school function.  Nothing in this subdivision
    50  shall be construed to prohibit a denial of admission into, or  exclusion
    51  from,  a  course of instruction based on a person's gender that would be
    52  permissible under section thirty-two hundred one-a or paragraph  (a)  of
    53  subdivision two of section twenty-eight hundred fifty-four of this chap-

    54  ter  and title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. section
    55  1681, et. seq.), or to prohibit, as discrimination based on  disability,

        A. 3661--C                          3
     1  actions  that  would  be  permissible under section 504 of the Rehabili-
     2  tation Act of 1973.
     3    2.  An  age-appropriate  version of the policy outlined in subdivision
     4  one of this section, written in plain-language, shall be included in the
     5  code of conduct adopted by boards of education and the trustees or  sole
     6  trustee pursuant to section twenty-eight hundred one of this chapter and
     7  a  summary of such policy shall be included in any summaries required by
     8  such section twenty-eight hundred one.

     9    § 13. Policies and guidelines.  The board of education and  the  trus-
    10  tees  or sole trustee of every school district shall create policies and
    11  guidelines that shall include, but not be limited to:
    12    1. Policies intended to create a school environment that is free  from
    13  discrimination or harassment;
    14    2. Guidelines to be used in school training programs to discourage the
    15  development of discrimination or harassment and that are designed:
    16    a.    to  raise  the  awareness and sensitivity of school employees to
    17  potential discrimination or harassment, and
    18    b. to enable employees to prevent and  respond  to  discrimination  or
    19  harassment; and
    20    3.   Guidelines  relating  to  the  development  of  nondiscriminatory

    21  instructional and counseling methods, and requiring that  at  least  one
    22  staff  member  at  every  school  be  thoroughly trained to handle human
    23  relations in the areas of race, color, weight, national  origin,  ethnic
    24  group,  religion,  religious  practice,  disability, sexual orientation,
    25  gender, and sex.
    26    § 14. Commissioner's responsibilities. The commissioner shall:
    27    1. Provide direction, which may include development of model  policies
    28  and,  to  the  extent  possible,  direct  services,  to school districts
    29  related to preventing discrimination and harassment and to fostering  an
    30  environment  in  every  school  where  all  children  can  learn free of
    31  manifestations of bias;

    32    2. Provide grants, from funds appropriated for such purpose, to  local
    33  school districts to assist them in implementing the guidelines set forth
    34  in this section; and
    35    3.  Promulgate  regulations to assist school districts in implementing
    36  this article including, but not limited to, regulations to assist school
    37  districts  in  developing  measured,   balanced,   and   age-appropriate
    38  responses  to  violations  of  this policy, with remedies and procedures
    39  focusing on intervention and education.
    40    § 15. Reporting by  commissioner.  The  commissioner  shall  create  a
    41  procedure  under  which material incidents of discrimination and harass-
    42  ment on school grounds or at a  school  function  are  reported  to  the

    43  department  at  least  on an annual basis.  Such procedure shall provide
    44  that such reports shall, wherever possible, also delineate the  specific
    45  nature  of such incidents of discrimination or harassment, provided that
    46  the commissioner may  comply  with  the  requirements  of  this  section
    47  through  use  of the existing uniform violent incident reporting system.
    48  In addition the department may conduct research or undertake studies  to
    49  determine  compliance  throughout  the state with the provisions of this
    50  article.
    51    § 16. Protection of people who report  discrimination  or  harassment.
    52  Any  person  having  reasonable cause to suspect that a student has been
    53  subjected to discrimination or harassment by an employee or student,  on

    54  school  grounds  or  at a school function, who, acting reasonably and in
    55  good faith, either reports such information to school officials, to  the
    56  commissioner,  or to law enforcement authorities or otherwise initiates,

        A. 3661--C                          4
     1  testifies, participates or assists in any formal or informal proceedings
     2  under this article, shall have immunity from any  civil  liability  that
     3  may arise from the making of such report or from initiating, testifying,
     4  participating  or  assisting in such formal or informal proceedings, and
     5  no school district or employee shall take, request or cause a retaliato-
     6  ry action against any such person who, acting  reasonably  and  in  good

     7  faith,  either makes such a report or initiates, testifies, participates
     8  or assists in such formal or informal proceedings.
     9    § 17.  Application. Nothing in this article shall:
    10    1. Apply to private, religious or  denominational  educational  insti-
    11  tutions; or
    12    2.  Preclude  or limit any right or cause of action provided under any
    13  local, state or federal ordinance, law or regulation including  but  not
    14  limited  to  any remedies or rights available under the Individuals With
    15  Disabilities Education Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Law  of  1964,
    16  section  504  of  the  Rehabilitation  Act of 1973 or the Americans with
    17  Disabilities Act of 1990.
    18    § 18.  Severability and construction. The provisions of  this  article

    19  shall  be severable, and if any court of competent jurisdiction declares
    20  any phrase, clause, sentence or provision of this article to be invalid,
    21  or its applicability to any government agency, person or circumstance is
    22  declared invalid, the remainder of this article and its relevant  appli-
    23  cability  shall not be affected. The provisions of this article shall be
    24  liberally construed to give effect to the purposes thereof.
    25    § 3.  Section 801-a of the education law, as added by chapter  181  of
    26  the laws of 2000, is amended to read as follows:
    27    § 801-a. Instruction in civility, citizenship and character education.
    28  The  regents  shall  ensure  that  the  course  of instruction in grades
    29  kindergarten through twelve includes a component on  civility,  citizen-

    30  ship  and character education. Such component shall instruct students on
    31  the principles of honesty, tolerance, personal  responsibility,  respect
    32  for  others,  observance  of laws and rules, courtesy, dignity and other
    33  traits which will enhance the  quality  of  their  experiences  in,  and
    34  contributions  to,  the  community.  The  regents shall determine how to
    35  incorporate such component in existing curricula  and  the  commissioner
    36  shall  promulgate any regulations needed to carry out such determination
    37  of the regents.  For the purposes of this section, "tolerance," "respect
    38  for others" and "dignity" shall include  awareness  and  sensitivity  to
    39  discrimination  or harassment and civility in the relations of people of
    40  different races, weights, national origins,  ethnic  groups,  religions,

    41  religious  practices, mental or physical abilities, sexual orientations,
    42  genders, and sexes.
    43    § 4. Paragraphs l and m of subdivision 2 of section 2801 of the educa-
    44  tion law, as added by chapter 181 of the laws of 2000, are amended and a
    45  new paragraph n is added to read as follows:
    46    l. a minimum  suspension  period,  for  students  who  repeatedly  are
    47  substantially  disruptive  of  the  educational process or substantially
    48  interfere with the teacher's authority over the classroom, provided that
    49  the suspending authority may reduce such period on a case by case  basis
    50  to  be  consistent with any other state and federal law. For purposes of
    51  this section, the definition of "repeatedly  are  substantially  disrup-
    52  tive"  shall  be  determined  in  accordance with the regulations of the
    53  commissioner; [and]

    54    m. a minimum suspension period for acts that would qualify  the  pupil
    55  to  be defined as a violent pupil pursuant to paragraph a of subdivision
    56  two-a of section thirty-two hundred fourteen of this  chapter,  provided

        A. 3661--C                          5
     1  that  the  suspending authority may reduce such period on a case by case
     2  basis to be consistent with any other state and federal law[.]; and
     3    n. provisions to comply with article two of this chapter.
     4    § 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2012, except that any rules or
     5  regulations  necessary  for the timely implementation of this act on its
     6  effective date shall be promulgated on or before such date.
Go to top