New anti-bullying legislation needs swift implementation
OULIMATA BA Special to the AmNews | 6/27/2012, 1:03 p.m.
New York State public school students may find a haven against bullying come next school year, thanks to a new act to go into effect July 1st.
The New York State Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), passed in 2010, requires educators to be trained in teaching their students about tolerance, as well as how to monitor and report instances of bullying.
"No child should be terrified to go to school due to bullying," said State Senator Thomas K. Duane in a press release. "Unlike other anti-bullying legislation, DASA focuses on the education and prevention of harassment and discrimination before it begins rather than punishment after the fact."
The new act will help prevent the bullying of kids like the 14-year-old junior high school student who was attacked and left blind in his right eye earlier this month.
As a result, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio will hold an event on July 24th with Senator Duane, the United Federation of Teachers, Advocates for Children, and other anti-bullying advocates to discuss ways to effectively implement the DASA.
"We're at that moment when we need to match words with actual changes in our classrooms and hallways," de Blasio said in a press release, "and there isn't much time left to get this right."
One concern is that teachers will not have enough training and time to prepare new lessons by the next school year.
De Blasio's event will address that concern by studying anti-bullying practices of other schools to see which ones are the best at "training and teaching students about the importance of tolerance and respect in classrooms," a press release said.
De Blasio will then present a report to the Department of Education full of recommendations on how to ensure DASA makes a difference.
"Our city is just now waking up to the scope of the bullying problem in our schools," said Erin Drinkwater, executive director of Brooklyn Community Pride Center, in a press release. The Brooklyn Community Pride Center will also be at the July 24th event. "New anti-bullying guidelines and training can't start soon enough."