BMC is committed to creating a safe and supportive learning environment for all staff and students every day. We have a number of policies and procedures in place to assist students who experience issues that impact their ability to learn and feel safe within the school building.
Students are encouraged to seek out an adult whenever they feel unsafe, may be a victim of bullying, or witnessed what they feel may be an instance of bullying. The office is a great place to obtain an incident form regarding bullying or you can fill it out with the link we provided below. Students are encouraged to fill out the form in a timely manner, once it is submitted, the DASA coordinators will be immediately notified so that the matter can be investigated.
For our online form, please visit: here
Who is Protected Under the Dignity Act?
DASA specifies that students should not be subject to discrimination, bullying, or harassment, either actual or perceived, based on, but not limited to, the following: race, color, ethnic group, national origin, disability, religious practice, religion, weight, sexual orientation (person’s emotional and sexual attraction to others), gender (socially constructed system of classification that ascribes qualities of masculinity and femininity to people), sex (physical/biological characteristics that define male versus female)
What is the Dignity Act?
Since July 2012, New York State has provided an official framework for how schools respond to negative behavior, such as bullying, harassment, intimidation, taunting, or discrimination. The Dignity for All Students Act, or DASA, outlines requirements for reporting and investigation, requires staff training on prevention and intervention, and identifies related communications for notifying parents and students about DASA-related topics.
DASA specifically calls for the protection of students from harassment, bullying (including cyberbullying), or discrimination by employees or other students. According to the New York State Education Department, the aim of DASA is not to increase punishment, but rather to foster social interaction among students as a way to maintain a safe learning environment that results in less bullying, an increased ability to identify individual students who are being bullied, and an instilled responsibility to inform the necessary authorities when a peer is a victim of bullying, harassment, or discrimination.
What Constitutes a DASA-Level Incident?
An incident can be either a single or series of related verifiable occurrences. Other forms of discrimination that are not specifically named may also be prohibited, but not all misbehavior that takes place in school settings falls under the umbrella of DASA. The behavior in question may be accidental, for example, involving no real intent to harm. Or the incident may be a reflection of the student’s immaturity, rather than of any malicious intent. These behaviors are no less serious than actual bullying, however, they do require different prevention and response strategies.
What is Harassment?
Harassment is the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or verbal threats, intimidation, or abuse that is continued and unwanted.
What is Discrimination?
Discrimination is the denial of equal treatment, admission, and/or access to programs, facilities, and services based on the person’s actual or perceived membership in a certain group or category.
What is Bullying?
Bullying is unwanted, intentional, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, and can occur before and after school hours in a school building, on a playground, on a school bus while a student is traveling to or from school, or on the Internet.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place through the use of electronic devices/technology.
Bullying and Harassment involve the creation of a hostile environment either through conduct or through threats, intimidation, or abuse, including cyberbullying, that:
interferes with a student’s educational performance, opportunities, or benefits, or their mental, emotional, or physical well-being;
causes, or could be expected to cause, a student to fear for his or her physical safety;
causes, or could be expected to cause, physical injury or emotional harm to the student; or
occurs off school property and creates, or could be expected to create, a risk of disruption within the school environment.
Examples of Bullying
Types of bullying include:
Verbal bullying: Name calling, teasing, sexual comments, taunting, and threatening to cause harm.
Social bullying: Spreading rumors about someone, excluding others on purpose, telling other children not to be friends with someone, and embarrassing someone in public.
Physical bullying: Hitting, punching, shoving, kicking, pinching, spitting, tripping, pushing, taking or breaking someone’s property, and making mean or rude hand gestures.
Emotional bullying: Cruelly and deliberately attempting to hurt or humiliate someone, including teasing, spreading rumors, and excluding from activities.
Cyberbullying: Using digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets to send, post, or share negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation.
Microaggressions: Subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expressing a prejudiced attitude (via a comment or action) toward a member of a marginalized group.
Characteristics of Bullying Behavior
Targets specific individual(s)
Intended to cause fear or harm (physically or emotionally)
Intended to hurt feelings
Reduces self-esteem or damages reputation
Resources for Parents and Students:
New York State Education Department DASA Website: www.p12.nysed.gov/dignityact
Guidance Related to Students of Immigrant Families: www.p12.nysed.gov/dignityact/documents/dasa-guidance.pdf
Stop Bullying.Gov Parent Page : www.stopbullying.gov/what-you-can-do/parents/index.html
BMC Bullying Investigation Process: BMC Bullying Process Chart
BMC Investigation Process: Investigation Process Chart
Possible Signs of Bullying
Lost or destroyed clothing or other possessions;
Feeling sick or faking illness;
Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares;
Avoidance of certain areas, such as the playground or restroom;
Declining grades or a loss of interest in school;
Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations;
Decreased self-esteem and/or self-destructive behaviors such as running away or talk of suicide.
How Do I Talk to My Child About Bullying?
Explain what bullying is and make sure they understand that it’s unacceptable behavior;
Keep the lines of communication open. Know your child’s friends, ask about their day, and listen to questions or concerns;
Encourage your child to talk to you or a trusted adult at school if they are bullied or witness an incident of bullying;
Serve as a role model by treating others with respect and understanding.
Signs That Your Child May Be Bullying Others
Getting into physical or verbal fights;
Disregarding/disrespecting other people’s feelings;
Unexplained extra money or new belongings;
Blaming others for problems;
Lying to get out of trouble;
Deliberately hurting pets or animals;
Using anger to get what they want;
Refusing to accept responsibility for actions.
What Should I Do if I Think My Child is Bullying Others?
Talk to your child about the specific behavior and why it’s wrong and won’t be tolerated;
Find out why your child bullied in order to understand the reasons and offer solutions;
Use any disciplinary consequences to teach, not humiliate;
Call your child’s teacher, principal, social worker, or school counselor to talk about what happened and strategies for moving forward;
Explain how their behavior impacts others.
Who Are the DASA Coordinators?
Donna Steenberg (Principal Pk-6); Kaela Hurteau (Assistant Principal Pk-12)
Todd LaPage (Superintendent)
You can contact the school Administrator, Dignity Act Coordinator, Counselor, or Other Staff Member (whoever you are most comfortable with) for information or assistance at any time.
For our online form, please visit: here