O’Donnell Statement Denouncing Exemption of Charter Schools from Anti-Bullying Regulations

Calls on State Education Department to correct dangerous exclusion

In a letter to Deputy Commissioner of P-12 Education Ken Slentz on Monday, Assembly Member O’Donnell denounced the proposed education regulations that explicitly exclude charter schools from new anti-bullying measures being implemented across New York State. As the Assembly sponsor of the Dignity for All Students Act, which mandates that all public schools implement anti-bullying policies, O’Donnell called on Deputy Commissioner Slentz to correct this senseless decision, noting in his letter:

[This] will create the anomalous result that students in public charter schools will have less protection from harassment and bullying than students in traditional public schools. Nothing could be further from the legislative intent.

The proposed regulations, published by the Department of State in the January 25, 2012 State Register, state that “all public school students, other than students in charter schools,” must receive “instruction in civility, citizenship and character education… including awareness and sensitivity to discrimination or harassment” (emphasis added). This explicit exclusion of charter school students from the regulations is unwarranted and leaves this population vulnerable to exactly the types of discrimination and harassment the Dignity for All Students Act specifically addresses.