Baldwinsville In July 2012, a new law, Dignity for All Students’ Act, was implemented in New York State for all public schools. DASA is intended to combat harassment in our schools while nurturing a school culture and environment that is optimal for student learning. Unfortunately, the Baldwinsville Central School District has haphazardly implemented DASA in a way that is harmful to children attending Durgee Junior High School.
Since the start of this school year, families of Durgee students have noticed the rainbow flag, representative of and synonymous with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning population, posted in various locations within the building. Consequently, several of us met, at various times, with the building principal, superintendent and the district’s lawyer, all of whom maintained that the rainbow flag represented all victims of harassment and bullying. We disagreed with their interpretation and asked instead that students collaborate with one another and come up with their own anti-harassment symbol that would pertain to all students. Over the last several months, we have seen various gay pride stickers posted in the school, some having contact information for the Q Center, a known LGBTQ organization. Our idea of having a universal, anti-harassment symbol created by Durgee students was subsequently disregarded.
In discussions with various BOE members, we were surprised to discover that none of them (seven of the nine who returned our calls) knew about the flags or stickers until it was brought to their attention by concerned parents. Invariably, we began to question the rationale behind and process by which the rainbow flags and then stickers were posted in Durgee. Furthermore, given the delicate nature of this topic and its exposure to the young (13- and 14-year-old) population of Durgee, we wondered why the BOE and the community as a whole had no input in this specific action taken by the district or, better yet, it seems, several teachers. So, several of us have attended and spoke at two recent BOE meetings the later of which had 35 concerned citizens present.