Wednesday, June 23, 2010

NYS Legislature passes Dignity for All Students Act

Great news! Last night, the State Senate passed the Dignity for All Students Act in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 58-3. The only "no" votes Republican Senators John DeFrancisco (SD 50), George Maziarz (SD 62) and Dale Volker (SD 59). Click here to read our statement on the bill passing.

This historic vote follows the passage of Dignity earlier this year by the Assembly. It now moves to Governor Paterson, who we urge to sign this bill into law.

Yesterday's vote in the State Senate marks a significant victory after years of fighting to protect students from bullying and harassment in schools. The Dignity bill creates tools for school administrators, teachers, parents and students to address bullying and bias-related behavior of all kinds that interfere with student safety and learning. Key provisions include: developing rules to prevent and respond to discriminatory harassment and hate violence; establishing teacher, staff and administrative training guidelines; incorporating discrimination awareness into civility and character education curricula; and required reporting of incidents of bias harassment to the State Education Department.

In addition to sexual orientation and other categories such as race, color, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, weight, and disability, Dignity offers protections based on gender identity and expression. This marks the first time that protections based on gender identity and expression would be included in state law.

This victory could never have happened without the countless meetings so many of our supporters held with their legislators or the thousands of phone calls, emails and letters so many of you placed and sent over the past several years.

The State Senate acted today on behalf of the LGBT community and all New Yorkers who believe in equality for everyone. Perseverance won out. You raised your voices, you never gave up, and Albany listened.

So stay with us, because today’s victory on Dignity is just the beginning. If we all stick together and keep working, our community will be celebrating more legislative victories in the very near future and the greater achievement of equality and justice in New York State.

TAKE PRIDE in today’s victory!

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