• If you have questions or concerns about bullying behavior at Roberto Clemente School # 8 please contact Michele McCortney (Social Emotional Learning Coach / DASA Coordinator) at 262-8888 ext. 1180
    The Dignity for All Students Act [DASA]

    Smiling teens in outline of New York StateNew 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.

     What is it?
    The intent of the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) is to provide public school students an educational environment free from discrimination and harassment based on their actual or perceived:  race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex.  The act promotes a more positive school culture through the use of sensitivity training and additional classroom curricula that focuses on the concepts of tolerance, respect for others, and dignity.  The goal is to reinforce current practices and to support the maintenance of a positive school climate.
    How does DASA define harassment?
    Harassment is defined as the "creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that has or would have the effect of unreasonably or substantially interfering with a student's education performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional, or physical well-being."
    This act took effect beginning July 1, 2012.  It applies to behavior in school buildings, on all school property, and at all school-sponsored events and activities.
    Where can I get more information?
    Additional information regarding DASA is available on the New York State Education Department website at:   http://www.p12.nysed.gov/dignityact/ 
    Click on the following link for a helpful brochure about the Dignity for All Students Act:


    What to Do if You Think Your Child is Being Bullied?

    Bullying is an intentional, aggressive and repeated behavior that involves an imbalance of power or strength.

    It can take several forms:

    • Physical (hitting, punching, beating)
    • Verbal (teasing, name calling, threats)
    • Emotional (intimidation using gestures, social exclusion, threats)
    • Sexual
    • Racist Bullying
    • Cyberbullying (Online harassment, hate messages, threats, impersonation, andother digital abuse)
    • Hazing                                                                                                                                                                           

     Warning Signs:

    • Your child comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings
    • Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches
    • Has few, if any friends, with whom he or she spends time
    • Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus, or taking part in organized activities with peers 
    • Finds or makes up excuses as to why they can’t go to school
    • Takes a long out of the way route when walking to or from school
    • Has lost interest in school work or suddenly begins to do poorly in school
    • Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he or she comes home
    • Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches or other physical ailments
    • Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
    • Experiences a loss of appetite
    • Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem

    Note: Children with disabilities may be at a higher risk of being bullied than other children.

    The above signs can be signs of bullying but can also be signs of other abuse as well. If your child displays any of these signs talk with them and talk with the school staff to learn more about what’s going on.  You can contact Michele McCortney at 262-8888 ext. 1180.

    When talking with your child, don’t just ask if they’re being bullied.

    A better way to approach it is to say:

    • “I’ve heard a lot about bullying in the news. Is that going on at your school?”
    • “I’m worried about you. Are there any kids at school who may be picking on you or bullying you?”
    • “Are there any kids at school who tease you in a mean way?”
    •  “Are there any kids at school who leave you out or exclude you on purpose?”

    Some subtle questions:

    • “Do you have any special friends at school this year? Who are they? Who do you hang out with?”
    • “Who do you sit with at lunch and on the bus?”
    • “Are there any kids at school who you really don’t like? Why don’t you like them? Do they ever pick on you or leave you out of things?”

    If your kids or teens are being bullied do not over-react. Assure them that you love them that this is not their fault and that you will help them. Let them know they can talk to you about anything.

    Talk with your kid’s/teen’s school. Call or set up an appointment to talk with their teacher. Teachers are likely in the best position to understand the relationships between your child and other peers in their school. 

    Share your concerns about your child and ask the teacher such questions as:

    • “How does my child get along with other students in his or her class?”
    • “With whom does he or she spend free time?”
    • “Have you noticed or have you ever suspected that my child is being bullied by other students?” Offer some examples of some ways that kids and teens are bullied so the teacher fully understands  that you’re not focused on one form of bullying
    • Ask the teacher to talk with other faculty and staff who interact with your child at school to see whether they have observed your child being bullied by his or her peers
    • If you are not comfortable talking with your child’s teacher, or not satisfied with the conversation, make an appointment to meet with your child’s administrator or with Mrs. McCortney.


    Roberto Clemente School # 8 will be supporting the World Day of Bullying Prevention on October 2, 2017 - Stay tuned for more information!