North Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- It’s no longer a case of getting picked on, on the playground. The bullying landscape has changed and more children are becoming targets.
Recent studies show that one out of every four kids has dealt with bullying at some point. On Tuesday, the North Syracuse School District educated parents on a state law aimed at combating the problem – it’s called the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA).
The law really reinforces a lot of the policies many school districts already have in place, but it does set some extra regulations for school districts. For example, mandates that each school has an administrator on hand to specifically deal with bullying issues and requires that school districts document and report all bullying cases to the state.
For parents, their hoping this is a step in the right direction.
Marcia Tschopp says her daughter was beat up by another student in art class.
“We’ve been having a difficult time with the district, trying to get protection for her. I feel like the Dignity for All Students Act will help future students get more protection and be safer in the school district,” said Tschopp.
And that’s the goal of the Dignity for All Students Act, or DASA. With the new law, school districts had to review or update their codes of conduct to clearly state bullying is not tolerated and outline clear punishments for those who break the rules. There is also a big emphasis on character education.
For parents, the question is: How can schools use the law to stop bullying?
“What they intend to do if incidents like this happen again? How do they intend on preventing it? How are we going to get a culture of respect back in the schools, not just with the students, but the teachers and the administrators?” asked parent Stephanie Piston.
We don’t know whether DASA will bring a big change, since most school have anti-bullying policies in place, but it is bringing awareness to the growing problem.
“We have not before in New York State had a law quite like this, a law that imposes on school districts more of a pro-active obligation to address bullying,” said Attorney Laura Harshbarger who made a presentation about the law to the group of parents and teachers.
“This is just an added layer, we have systems in place that work," said Superintendent Kim Dyce Faucette.
The law went into effect in July of this year. School districts say it will take some time to see its impact.