O’Donnell Statement on His Anti-Bullying Legislation Becoming Law

September 8, 2010 – Assembly Member O’Donnell is proud to announce that today Governor Paterson signed the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) into law.

The bill’s enactment is a major victory for the LGBT community and is one of the first New York State laws that directly addresses gender identity and expression.When fully implemented, DASA will afford all public school students an environment free of harassment and discrimination. The law covers, but is not limited to, the broadest categories of students who are the victims of bullying based on actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex.

Even with large margins of support and passage in the Assembly nine times since 2002, O’Donnell continued to amend and improve DASA. His efforts—working closely with the New York State Department of Education, a coalition of DASA advocacy organizations, as well as his colleagues—culminated in legislation with minimal fiscal impact that will be easily implemented, more likely to accomplish its intended effect, and more inclusive.

Assembly Member O’Donnell remarked, “Too many students are bullied based on real or perceived differences with their classmates. Every student deserves an environment free of harassment and discrimination, an environment that allows every child to reach his or her full potential. For too long, our educational system has been blind to the plight of these students. I am proud that the Assembly led the way on this important issue, and that today, the Dignity for All Students Act is finally signed into law.”

On May 17th of this year, the Assembly passed DASA with a bipartisan vote of 138–4, and it was subsequently passed by the Senate by a vote of 58-3.

O’Donnell strongly thanks his Assembly colleagues for their longtime leadership on this and other LGBT issues, the countless advocates who lobbied the Legislature on behalf of DASA, the Senate leadership for delivering a successful vote, and Governor Paterson for his steadfast support of this important piece of legislation.