Mineola, NY - July 6, 2015 - Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas conducted a study recently that found that schools across New York are likely underreporting acts of bullying and cyberbullying, and called upon state legislators to enhance regulations and enforcement of the Dignity for All Students Act, which was designed to address these problems.
“When a review by my office found that more than 58% of schools in New York report not even one incident under the Dignity for All Students Act (Dignity Act), and 82% of New York schools report no incidents of cyberbullying, I concluded that there are serious problems with the implementation and compliance with this important law, which exists to make our schools safer,” Acting DA Singas wrote in the letter.
The analysis, the first assessing compliance with the Dignity Act, found that reports of discrimination, bullying, and harassment vary wildly between schools, sometimes in the same district, and that school leaders have reported frustration and confusion over what some perceive as duplicative reporting obligations under the Dignity Act and the state’s Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting System.
Acting DA Singas called upon chairs of the Senate and Assembly Education Committees, Senator Carl Marcellino and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, to review and reform the state’s implementation of the Dignity Act, as well as provide funding for school programs that address bullying, among other recommendations.
“The Legislature passed the Dignity Act in the wake of tragic teen suicides and horrific school shootings; some perpetrated by young people who were victims of bullying,” Acting DA Singas wrote. “The law’s objectives are noble, but its implementation has been inexcusably botched.”