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The Dansville Online
  • State’s DASA law means more resources to combat bullying

  • It’s OK to be nice here, that is the message Mike Falzoi, 10-12 principal of Dansville Central School, wants his students to know. Falzoi along with Amy Schiavi, 7-9 principal, and Tom Frazier, 7-12 dean of students, are taking a stand against bullying and promoting a positive change in their school.

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  • It’s OK to be nice here, that is the message Mike Falzoi, 10-12 principal of Dansville Central School, wants his students to know. Falzoi along with Amy Schiavi, 7-9 principal, and Tom Frazier, 7-12 dean of students, are taking a stand against bullying and promoting a positive change in their school.
    DCS has implemented a program in line with the state’s new Dignity for All Students Act which educates students and staff on bullying as well as ways to handle bullying situations. DASA took effect in the 2011-12 school year and has been in full swing since. Each school is required to have a dignity act coordinator, someone who attends training and helps educate the other staff members on DASA.
    While Schiavi serves as the coordinator, Falzoi and Frazier have also attended training sessions to better understand the act. Educating the students on how to handle bullying is their focus now.
    “Bystanders have to be educated on what qualifies as bullying and what they should do if they see it,” said Falzoi. The school is working to better educate students on this issue by setting up assemblies. An anonymous online forum has been set up for students to report bullying. A school counselor reads the forum and reports incidents to the dean of students. From there, an investigation is held in order to determine if the incident was isolated or an ongoing occurrence and the dean handles it as seen fit.
    Reports of bullying have increased thanks to the forum, which Schiavi sees as a good thing. “Empowering students is the only thing that stops bullying,” she said. Most students who see a bullying incident want to do something about it but they don’t know what they can do. The online forum along with strategies to intervene gives them the tools they need to help stop bullying.
    DCS has other anti-bullying programs, such as Rachel’s Challenge which helps create a caring and compassionate environment for students. The hallways of DCS are decorated with posters and pictures to remind students they’re not alone. Including the “I am” board where students can write down a characteristic of themselves they might not share otherwise.A paper chain is also on the wall where students can add to the chain after completing a good deed in the school. The hope is to set off a chain reaction of good deeds by a few students adding their link.
    For more information on the Dignity for All Students Act visit www.p12.nysed.gov/dignityact or contact your school principal. Visit www.rachelschallenge.org to learn more about Rachel’s Challenge.
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