Praising NYSUT and its social justice partners for leading the fight to curb bullying in schools, Gov. Paterson signed the Dignity For All Students Act into law on Wednesday.
The act, which requires training for educators on ways to address harassment and discrimination, calls for school districts to revise their codes of conduct, expand prevention efforts and report incidents of bias harassment and hate violence. The law amends state education law to protect students from verbal threats, intimidation or abuse based on categories including race, color, national origin, ethnicity, religion, religious practice, weight, disability, sexual orientation and gender.
At the bill-signing ceremony, Paterson said NYSUT and the United Federation of Teachers "didn't just buy into the legislation, they led the fight." He said it will ultimately be teachers who will be instrumental in seeing the law succeed.
The law takes effect July 1, 2012, although rules and regulations necessary to implement it may be advanced before that date.