With the advancements in digital technologies, particularly social media, students can now interact with each other 24 hours a day. Because of this, students now have more avenues in which to bully or harass their schoolmates. Bullying is an issue that has always required attention. Now, with facebook and other online social networks, schools and state legislatures have been giving more attention to addressing bullying.
The state of New York now has a new anti-bullying act which took effect in July. It is called the Dignity for All Students Act. The New York State Department of Education website defines the act as follows:
“New York State’s Dignity for All Students Act (The Dignity Act) seeks to provide the State’s public elementary and secondary school students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying on school property, a school bus and/or at a school function.”
As the school year began, schools across the state had meetings and presentations aimed at introducing the act and going over how it will change the environment. A focus is to create sensitivity toward differences such as race, weight, nationality, religion, religious practices, sexual orientation, gender identity, and physical or mental disabilities. What I think one of the biggest changes this act calls for is the appointing of at least one school staff member to be responsible for handling all bullying. This includes any incidents that may occur either in school, on the bus, or at any school event. A guidance counselor may have already been in place to do this, but this act makes things official. There must be a “go to person” when bullying develops.
Have you heard of this act? What do you think? Do you find that increased attention and legislation related to bullying needed?
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