Middle school reviews ‘Dignity for all Students Act’ (DASA) policy as part of ongoing conversations about student behavioral expectations

students at DASA presentationMinisink Valley’s academic instruction regularly includes refresher conversations with students about behavioral expectations and conduct, such as with the Middle School’s recent presentations about the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA).

DASA was enacted in July 2010 to promote a safe and supportive learning environment in all public and charter schools, free from harassment and discrimination for students and adults.

Under DASA, no student shall be subjected to harassment or discrimination by employees or students on school property, or at a school function, based on their actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex.

DASA definitionMiddle School Assistant Principal Steven Caldwell, who is also the school’s DASA coordinator,  led groups of students through reminder conversations about DASA, which included discussions about prejudices, biases, bullying and the importance of being an ally to someone in need.

As part of his presentations, he made multiple analogies to icebergs, reminding students what one sees above the waterline is only a fraction of what’s there.

Steve Caldwell leading a conversation“If you spend time just looking at the surface, you’ll never get to know someone,” he advised students. “Like the tip of an iceberg, you’ll will only see a fraction of who a person is. Looking below the waterline will reveal a lot. Look below, and get to know someone for who they really are. This will tell you a lot. And you will find for certain that we are all much more alike than we are different.”